The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution (Hardcover)

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A companion to such acclaimed works as The Age of Wonder, A Clockwork Universe, and Darwin’s Ghosts—a groundbreaking examination of the greatest event in history, the Scientific Revolution, and how it came to change the way we understand ourselves and our world.

We live in a world transformed by scientific discovery. Yet today, science and its practitioners have come under political attack. In this fascinating history spanning continents and centuries, historian David Wootton offers a lively defense of science, revealing why the Scientific Revolution was truly the greatest event in our history.

The Invention of Science goes back five hundred years in time to chronicle this crucial transformation, exploring the factors that led to its birth and the people who made it happen. Wootton argues that the Scientific Revolution was actually five separate yet concurrent events that developed independently, but came to intersect and create a new worldview. Here are the brilliant iconoclasts—Galileo, Copernicus, Brahe, Newton, and many more curious minds from across Europe—whose studies of the natural world challenged centuries of religious orthodoxy and ingrained superstition.

From gunpowder technology, the discovery of the new world, movable type printing, perspective painting, and the telescope to the practice of conducting experiments, the laws of nature, and the concept of the fact, Wotton shows how these discoveries codified into a social construct and a system of knowledge. Ultimately, he makes clear the link between scientific discovery and the rise of industrialization—and the birth of the modern world we know.

Praise For…


“Wootton is a dazzling explicator of difficult ideas whose relish for his material is evident.”

“Wootton tells his tales well and portrays characters vividly. He writes with wit, and his book is full of surprises.”

“A masterly account of the ‘scientific revolution.’”

“New, encyclopedic history.”

“Full of insights…even jaded scholars will find it fresh and compelling.”

“…perceptive, thought-provoking, deeply erudite and beautifully written.”

“Vibrant and impressive…The Invention of Science is a marvel of expositional clarity”

“Not only a history of science but a revisionist historiography of science”

“A big bang moment”

“Extremely well researched and documented…This is bound to become a basic reference in the future.”

“A bracing rediscovery of the marvel that is science”

“David Wootton’s The Invention of Science is outstanding. It details how, when and why the philosophical, intellectual and practical frameworks of modern science arose, and it sees off relativism in the process. While dealing wonderfully in broad sweeps, it offers a wealth of entertaining details.”

“Fascinating and original … Wootton is a marvellous writer with an enviously encyclopaedic knowledge, and he has exciting things to say … a stimulating, well-informed and imaginative account.”

“A superbly lucid examination of a dramatic revolution in human thought that deserves a place on the shelf with Thomas Kuhn and David Deutsch.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780061759529
ISBN-10: 006175952X
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: December 8th, 2015
Pages: 784
Language: English