“Engrossing”–BOOK NEWS

A wonderful review from Book News magazine:

“Engrossing….Packed with good stories and anectdotes, as well as good science and history.”

The full review:

“An expert on Victorian science and culture, Snyder (Philosophy, St. John’s University) presents the surprisingly engrossing story of four men–Charles Babbage, John Herschel, William Whewell, and Richard Jones–who met as students at Cambridge University, and then went on to have a tremendous effect of the development of science in the 19th century. Meeting for decades in a kind of Sunday brunch, the four talked about the then-current state of science and about the best ways to conduct scientific research. Drawing on five decades of letters between the men, Snyder shows how they helped to change the “natural philosopher” into the modern scientist, and (not so incidentally) helped found the disciplines of crystallography, mathematical economics, and modern computing, and make major contributions to astronomy and photography. Packed with good stories and anecdotes, as well with as good science and history, this is a book that can reach out to readers who would not ordinarily be interested in reading about the lives of four British scientists who, other than Babbage, are largely forgotten.”

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