Sunday, April 29, 2007

"The Fellowship"

John Gribbin is a Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex, and is best known for his book In Search of Schrodinger's Cat.

He applied the "page 69 test" to his book The Fellowship: Gilbert, Bacon, Harvey, Wren, Newton, and the Story of the Scientific Revolution, and reported the following:
I would not recommend page 69 as a good place to dip in to The Fellowship. The book deals with the scientific revolution in England in the seventeenth century, and the men behind that revolution. My story had to include Francis Bacon, because he is widely regarded as a founder of the scientific method -- but he was actually the least scientific and least revolutionary of those scientific revolutionaries, and page 69 happens to deal with part of his life that had nothing to do with science -- his part as prosecutor in the trial of Robert, Earl of Essex, for treason against the queen, Elizabeth I. But the page does also cover the death of Elizabeth in 1603, and she was succeeded by the first of the Stuarts, James VI of Scotland and I of England; since it was under the Stuarts that the scientific revolution occurred and under the patronage of Charles II, grandson of James I, that the Royal Society was founded, the page is not entirely atypical. Nevertheless, it does nothing to lure the reader in to the excitement of the lives pf people like William Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the blood, Robert Hooke, who laid the foundation for Isaac Newton to build on, or Edmond Halley, the inventor, sailor, spy and scientist whose life reads like a combination of Jack Aubrey and James Bond, with a dash of Richard Feynman. Try page 269 instead!
Visit John Gribbin's website, and learn more about The Fellowship.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue