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Musings on tools for thought

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Posted by MadaboutDana
May 12, 2022 at 08:34 AM

 

Heh, I mention Neal Stephenson’s “Baroque Cycle” once again simply because Newton is one of the major characters in it – as are a number of leading 17th century geniuses, including the astonishing (but much underrated) Robert Hooke, as well as Gottfried (von) Leibniz.

Stephenson does an amazing job of conveying their brilliance – and specifically mentions the fact that Newton mixes and uses his own inks (just like Leonardo da Vinci, who had, however, rather less success, judging by the fading of his most famous paintings). He also does a great job of showing the overlaps between alchemy, natural science and philosophy (or rather, how in those days they were all much the same thing, but gradually drifted apart).

He also does a great job of reminding us how multilingual these people all were (Latin, English, French, German, Italian, all more or less as a matter of course, certainly among the aristocracy, but even amongst the middle-class).

Cheers!
Bill