Ingenious Pursuits by Lisa Jardine

Lisa Jardine has died on 25 October 2015. (, Daughter of Jacob Bronowski, she became a brilliant historian, Renaissance scholar, humanist and polymath. Everything I have read of hers has been a pleasure and an education. Hers was the voice of sanity, erudition and wisdom. Selecting only one of her works is difficult, but please read Ingenious Pursuits (1999). In this fascinating look at the European scientific advances of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, she shows how the pursuit of knowledge occurs not in isolation, but rather in the lively interplay and frequently cutthroat competition between creative minds. Out of these interplays the truth gets disclosed.

The great thinkers of the age, including Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Christopher Wren, are shown in the context in which they lived and worked. We learn of the correspondences they kept with their equally passionate colleagues and come to understand the unique collaborative climate that fostered virtuoso discoveries in the areas of medicine, astronomy, mathematics, biology, chemistry, botany, geography, and engineering.  Ingenious Pursuits brilliantly chronicles the true intellectual revolution that continues to shape our very understanding of ourselves, and of the world around us.

Move swiftly on to Jardine’s history of the Renaissance with Wordly Goods (1996), reviewed by me here From these two I hope you will delve further into Jardine’s work.

Listen to Lisa Jardine speak in any of her radio broadcasts, for example in Radio 4’s ‘A Point of View’ series. She is always worth a listen. Try

Enquire at your local library or consult  for full bibliographic detail

464 pages in Little Brown

First published 1999

ISBN  978-0316647526

Lisa Jardine

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