Edward Dolnick’s Clockwork Universe focuses on the scientific revolution of the 17th century. Dolnick takes the stance that the pivotal figures of the time believed that God had created a perfectly running universe that they could decipher. He also mentions the timely restrictions that scientists had to deal with and explains how their findings changed the way people looked at the world. Throughout his book, Dolnick provides several different scientists that held this belief and shows how they prove his thesis. While Dolnick presents a solid argument, he drags on a bit in the discussion of calculus, and at times exaggerates the societies he is portraying. Dolnick starts his book with descriptions of both the world that scientists saw and
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Newton’s career as a scientist is very well known around the world, but Dolnick chooses to place a focal point on Newton’s ideology and character as well as his contribution to science. This was a smart move on Dolnick’s part as it allowed him to contrast Newton’s views with his predecessors and students in later generations. The comparison shows how Newton’s joint invention of calculus led to the advancement of science. By showing the nature of Newton’s character, Dolnick gives the audience a better picture of what Newton was like and why he acted the way he did. This clarified how he accomplished his goals, and how the interpretation of his work led to the advancement of the scientific world. While this section of the book drags on for a bit, it is clear that Dolnick is well versed in the topic, which makes it bearable. The topic of Zeno’s paradox is also discussed in Dolnick’s book. It played a large role in the advancement of science through its description of infinity. This was important in the development of calculus and ties into Dolnick’s thesis through that connection. While it is only briefly discussed, it was a good move on Dolnick’s part to include it because it helps explain the mindset of the world prior to calculus and shows that a topic such as infinity could be broken down and
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It also does a good job setting up Dolnick’s thesis and showing how views from that time connected with his ideas. Dolnick’s discussion on Galileo was the most polished section of the book and acted as a great bridge into the discussion of calculus. Dolnick connected Galileo with his clockwork universe thesis through his goal of proving the universe was created through a mathematical plan. Dolnick used stories and examples throughout the book to show that Galileo’s observations clearly contributed to the advancement of science, and his legacy is tied to explaining the heavens. While the topic of calculus drags on by the end of the book, it is clear how it ties in with Dolnick’s thesis and impacted the scientific community through Newton and Leibniz’s view on God. Dolnick does a good job throughout his book backing up his thesis with examples and proof. Through the examples of Leibniz and Newton, Dolnick effectively proves that scientists believed in a mathematical universe that was decipherable. Dolnick also describes the impact of calculus, which further pushes his thesis forward because it changed the way people looked at the world. Overall, Dolnick does a good job tying all the different influential scientists to his thesis. While the book has its faults, it is an interesting look at the