The Clockwork Universe did a great job of putting you in shoes of the men that ushered in our modern world. I had to use Audible's 1.5x speed feature to get through it as the author read too slow for my liking.
Because this is a book set in Britain, the narrator should have been British, or at least an American with a somewhat lighter, less ponderous voice. The narrator's voice had such a slow, gritty quality, scraping over vowels like gravel rolling in a barrel and ending on strange high notes in odd places. I own more than 250 books, and this is the first one that I've ever had to actually stop listening to because the narrator's voice drove me crazy.
This is the more-nonfiction version of the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, which I thoroughly enjoyed. That book is more historical fiction, and includes characters who live and work alongside Newton and Hook. (And it's narrated by a Brit)
Another narrator with a higher-pitched voice.
I only made it through the first hour. The content seemed pretty good, but the voice was definitely not matched to the content.
the content of this book was really inspiring. I found the reading performance smooth. I was able to concentrate on the content and never noticed any irritations with the reading. It made me want to study calculus. The content was pretty heady, but offered in an interesting story telling manner. I found it interesting to notice that the greatest minds of history had a deep belief in a judeo christian god. The author seems to discount this as an hinderance, however the greatest geniuses in science, music and politics seem to have emerged from these cultures. Was it simply the God they worshiped or the lifestyle of this society that gave us so many great thinkers.
Who knew Math had personality?
Ok,I admit I am a history junkie, especially when the story is told in an interesting, factual way. If my math teachers in High School and College has shared some the history in this book as background material for algebra and calculus, I would have certainly paid more attention and would have found the subject much more interesting.
This story makes the numbers on the page come alive, and they tell a fascinating story- rivals, feuds, discoveries, court intrigue, intelligence, jealousy- its all there.
The story is factual and informative, the pace is good, the length is just about right, and the reader is solid. The narrator has a nice voice, a 'math' voice and tells the story with a tone that keeps you interested in learning what is behind the next corner, or the next decimal.
If you like factual history, this is a story for you. If you like to know things like how ideas evolved, the struggles early inventors and mathematicians faced in revealing details like the earth revolving around the sun, which went against current beliefs (ever feel like taking on a Pope?) then this is an audio you will enjoy.
Is the book worth a credit? Yes and I would listen to this story again at the right time. This is also an audio I would use with my family on a short road trip, to spark their interest in math, physics and astronomy.
One deal breaker for me in audios is language and sex. Authors who use excessive profanity, in my mind lack imagination and loose something in their story telling. Same with sex scenes that are overly descriptive and drawn out.
Nothing like that in this story, it will stimulate your mind and your imagination.
I learned a lot of useful things from this book and was able to understand the scientists and the scientific method much better as a result. Great to understand the basis for the way research is conducted and I am grateful for the explanation throughout of what thinking and knowledge was like before the invention of science through observation and empirical evidence. I never realised and feel so silly for having never thought about why it is that we think the way we do today.
I liked learning about the personalities behind the history of science, great stories and an enhanced ability to contextualise their ideas and add interest to their contributions. I am also better able to remember their laws and contributions as a result of having known their stories.
A terrific and fun history. I wish I had listened to it years ago before tutoring 'world history' and teaching students about enlightenment.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Clockwork Universe. It was full of humor, fascinating history, and interesting information about the scientific revolution. I liked the narrator's style and it felt like he was having a conversation with the listener. Excellent book and great stories to share with students, friends, or family.
It is difficult to imagine a target readership for this book. If you are not academically inclined, the subject matter will not be interesting. If you are, then the material is too basic to hold your attention. Maybe it is for teenage children; maybe it is for people who learn their history from cable TV.
The narrator over-acts and has a voice that is mismatched to the material: the performance sounds like a trailer for a movie about someone who has stolen money from the Mafia. Quotes from other writers are delivered in an ironic tone of voice, as though the words are somehow funny or quaint, even when the subject matter suggests otherwise.
There is an additional problem for British readers: while some American accents are pleasant and transparent, this one isn't. It set my teeth on edge.
Readers on both sides of the Atlantic should avoid this audio book; British readers should run away screaming.
Having read biographies of Newton, I had hoped that this would focus more on the Royal Society, but the author took a broader approach by reviewing the development of science leading up to the Royal Society and then spent most of the time reviewing Newton's life. I would have preferred more on the the History of Fishes and other more obscure stories from the period. The narrator has been criticized in some reviews, but I though he was fine for what he had to work with.
I am a Physics and Engineering student.
Isaac Newton lived in a time when the average lifespan was around 30 and people believed the Plague was a punishment from God. Well, the men of "The Royal Society" believed in God also; they believed him to be a Mathematician and that he commands the Universe following a set of Mathematical rules. Newton spent his whole life trying to figure these rules out and was pretty successful at it.
Dolnick gives a pretty well rounded history of Isaac Newton's work. Not too much to where it would have become boring, but enough to leave you satisfied or maybe even wanting some more. I fall into the wanting some more category and was sad when the book was done. I found this book to be intellectually stimulating and also found myself laughing at times.
The Narrator was a little above average, and definitely sufficient. The best quality he had was his ability to express the humorous parts. I guess I could even go as far as saying he made those parts more humorous and earned an extra star for that.
I definitely recommend this book. I am very happy that I bought it and would do it again if I could go back.