The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science: a book review


The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science by John Henry

I recently read the 3rd (2008) edition of John Henry’s The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science – an excellent, though very brief, survey (it is 114 pages, not including the glossary and index).

Henry tends to see considerable continuity between the “natural magic” of medieval thought and the emerging scientific viewpoint, which was based on experiment and mathematical analysis. Personally, I think that he overstates the case a little. It is interesting that he never mentions Giordano Bruno, who was one of those who held on to the older magical view (then again, Bruno was not a scientist).


Replica of a van Leeuwenhoek microscope (photo: Jeroen Rouwkema)

Henry also puts emphasis on the emerging use of scientific instruments, such as the microscope and the telescope.


Galileo’s sketches of the moon, published in his Sidereus Nuncius of 1610

I was a little disappointed in the discussion of Galileo, which did not seem quite correct, but the main flaw in this book is its brevity. I’m giving it three stars.

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The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science by John Henry: 3 stars


New Carbon Minerals

The Carbon Mineral Challenge is a worldwide hunt to find new carbon-bearing minerals by 2019. An estimated 145 such minerals remain undiscovered. Both professional and amateur geologists can get involved. This poster shows some recent discoveries:


Poster for the Carbon Mineral Challenge (click for full-res pdf)

Listed in the poster are:


Abellaite, NaPb2(CO3)2(OH) – photo: Matteo Chinellato


Very brief solar car update

During my travels, I temporarily have Internet access for a day or two, and I see that the official World Solar Challenge team list is up. Some teams in my list seem to have dropped out (most notably Megalux, sadly), while other teams which I have never heard of have appeared.

I will update my list after my travels are over. Meanwhile check out what Mostdece has to say. As I continue to travel, this blog will run on queued-up posts for a few more weeks.


The wash bottle


Washbottles, old (left, photo: Hannes Grobe) and new (right).

Wash bottles, in one form or another, have been a long-term feature of the chemistry lab. Once they were made of glass, and were operated by blowing. In more recent times, plastic squeeze bottles have been used.

See here for more posts on scientific equipment.


June 21 in Solar Cars

June 21 was an eventful day in solar-car racing. The Belgian team revealed their zippy new car:

Nuon Solar Team set a world record, clocking up 882 km in a 12-hour track session.

Eindhoven have also unveiled their new car, and it’s gorgeous! It lacks the “tunnel” of their previous vehicle, and this allows them to seat a family of five: