The human body is the most fraught and fascinating, talked-about and taboo, unique yet universal fact of our lives. It is the inspiration for art, the subject of science, and the source of some of the greatest stories ever told. In Anatomies, acclaimed author of Periodic Tales Hugh Aldersey-Williams brings his entertaining blend of science, history, and culture to bear on this richest of subjects.
Like the alphabet, the calendar, or the zodiac, the periodic table of the chemical elements has a permanent place in our imagination. But aside from the handful of common ones (iron, carbon, copper, gold), the elements themselves remain wrapped in mystery. We do not know what most of them look like, how they exist in nature, how they got their names, or of what use they are to us.
"Interesting but Rambling"
Here is the epic story of the centuries-long search to understand the tide: from Aristotle, said to have drowned himself when he failed to figure out the Greek tides, to the pioneering investigations into the role of the moon by Galileo and Newton to supercomputing in our own time.
Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682) was an English writer, physician, and philosopher whose work has inspired everyone form Ralph Waldo Emerson to Jorge Luis Borges, Virginia Woolf to Stephen Jay Gould. In an intellectual adventure akin to Sarah Bakewell's book on Montaigne, How to Live, Hugh Aldersey-Williams sets off not just to tell the story of Browne's life but also to champion his skeptical nature and inquiring mind for our own age.