To start with, a book that focusses on Isaac Newton and the Royal Society doesn't seem right with an American accent, but I suppose since the author is an American its acceptable.The first few chapters seemed to me to be a sort of "Walt Disney" version of British history and of the Christian faith of Isaac Newton and his contemporaries. Mr Dolnick would have done well to consult some intelligent modern day Christians before setting down such a cartoon like image.Likewise the broad brush he uses for setting the scene of British history in the early chapters made me feel that the narrator from Winnie-the-Pooh was trying to tell me about the history of my own country.
Having said that, the book improves once he moves on to the main subject and I really enjoyed the last 70% of the book. It was informative and interesting. It helped me to understand the origins of ideas that I learned at school and university, and still use today.
Audible fan!...Why didn't I discover audiobooks sooner? I would rather listen than watch.
Got this when it was on sale because it looked interesting. Interesting and informative it was. It is a well written story about Sir Isaac Newton and his contemporary, Leibniz, in Germany. A story about two mathematicians? Interesting? Yes. Surprisingly, it held my interest. In fact, I had to buy the hard copy after listening (something I rarely do).
Just got done listening to "A Clockwork Universe", read by Alan Sklar, for the second time. This book is a masterpiece, one I will always treasure and reread. I just bought two more copies from Amazon, one for me, and one for my scientist son. I love Alan Sklar's reading of such a staggeringly well told story. I completely love this work. I have "read" at least 300 audio books and this is solidly in the Top 5.
The portrait of Isaac Newton is the most astonishing thing I think I have ever read. He was very dysfunctionally male in that he was completely remote and detached from all human emotions. He had no interest in sex, romance, the arts, food, sleep, conversation, friendship, desire to be a father, human contact of any kind, or even recognition. He spent months, years alone with his thoughts, seeking neither praise nor wealth. It could easily have happened that none of his work was ever published without intense pressure by those who recognized his genius. In a sense, he was the only person fit to judge what he had done. Others could only see small pieces of it. In his "Principia Mathematica," he unleashed the vision of a dozen Einsteins, maybe a hundred.
No, but he is brilliant. He adds so much to what is already a great work.
As one review said, you hated to come to the last line. That's exactly how I felt.
Writer of Songs, Musician, Photographer & Artist. Reader of History, Non-Fiction, Music, Science & Cosmology.
This is one book that I could not put down. I love science and history, and Clockwork Universe has both. The book is well written and Alan Sklar is the best narrator I've heard, I will be looking for more books read by Mr. Sklar. He has the perfect voice, combined with a relaxed style that I loved. Getting back to the book itself, I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. Science is one of my favorite subjects and I have read other sources about these great men of 17th century science - Newton, Boyle, Galileo etc. - and about their discoveries. Clockwork Universe added to my knowledge. The biographical aspects brought these great scientists to life. The scientific aspect was spot on, but may be a bit over the head of listeners unfamiliar with the experiments and math involved. I flew through this book in record time because I found the stories, and narration, fascinating and well read.
The most salient part of this book is the exploration of the switch from a mathematics dealing with discrete numbers, to a mathematics that could deal with continuous and infinite numbers. In other terms this book explores the rise of calculus and its repercussions on the world. My expectations of the book were different than what it delivered. The publisher's summary stated very succinctly, "The Clockwork Universe is the fascinating and compelling story of the bewildered geniuses of the Royal Society, the men who made the modern world." This is maybe less than half of the book. In fact the depth of biography and place setting was very superficial at best, a mere tangent on the surface as one might say having read this book.
I must admit that I came into this book having read Neal Stephenson's enormous "Baroque Cycle". What amazed me was that "The Clockwork Universe" confirmed plot point after plot point of fictionalized events in Stephenson's series. However, "The Baroque Cycle" painted a beautiful and elaborate portrait while "The Clockwork Universe" merely pointed out those plot points. On top of these points, nearly a third of the book dealt with Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler's work. Again, I enjoyed the detour, but it felt a little off from the way the book was sold.
Those quibbles aside, Edward Dolnick delivered a very easy to read look into the rise of calculus and classical physics. I took high school and college level calculus, but I never got a good sense of what it was good for. Dolnick describes in very easy terms why these tools were (and are) extremely important to modern society. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the subjects I had studied back in school, and I am appreciative of my newfound understanding. It was very nice seeing the cultural setting that these ideas sprung from, and how it led to an age that Isaac Newton probably would have abhorred.
In conclusion this novel was a good read on science and math, but too superficial on painting an in-depth portrait of the times. It hit a lot of interesting points, but I'll probably be re-reading "The Baroque Cycle" soon.
Gives really good details of the Science covered by the "greats" and also a lot of interesting snippets about the personalities. Really explains the background and terms of reference that the 17th century Scientists (and others) were working in.
I love to read. On average I read and/or listen to more than 100 books a year. Audible has been a fantastic addition to my life. Love it!
I think I expected this to be more dynamic. It was alright, but not one that I would listen to on repeat. A bit flat.
Yes. The author gives great value to the text and makes me feel like someone is having a conversation with me.
Listen to it. You will not regret it.
This book is one of my favorite audiobooks so far.
It really transports the reader to the period between the reinassance and the enlightenment. I loved it beginning to end.
An epic story of e power of human reason
Recommended for anyone interested in science, math, and the stories of brilliant scientists