Penn State

Vernon E. Schlotzhauer - associate librarian, University Libraries

Book Title: The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

Author: Richard Holmes

Book Description:

A marvelous book that presents a comprehensive, colorful, detailed account of the astronomers, chemists, physicists, poets, and other great thinkers who influenced the transition to scientific thought during the 19th century. Together, these men and women show how art, science, and life itself can be beautiful adventures, and how the thrill of intellectual freedom knows no bounds.


Here's a quote from John Herschel that captures the sense of why The Age of Wonder is such an inspiring, enjoyable read:


"To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling...A mind that has once imbibed a taste for scientific enquiry has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations. One would think that Shakespeare had such a mind in view when he describes a contemplative man finding:
Tongues in trees - books in the running brooks
Sermons in stones - and good in everything
Where the uniformed and unenquiring eye perceives neither novelty or beauty, he walks in the midst of wonders."



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