Isaac Newton

  • by James Gleick
  • Narrated by Allan Corduner
  • 5 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

James Gleick has long been fascinated by the making of science: how ideas order visible appearances, how equations can give meaning to molecular and stellar phenomena, how theories can transform what we see. In Chaos, he chronicled the emergence of a new way of looking at dynamic systems; in Genius, he portrayed the wondrous dimensions of Richard Feymnan's mind. Now, in Isaac Newton, he gives us the story of the scientist who, above all others, embodied humanity's quest to unveil the hidden forces that constitute the physical world.In this original, sweeping, and intimate biography, Gleick moves between a comprehensive historical portrait and a dramatic focus on Newton's significant letters and unpublished notebooks to illuminate the real importance of his work in physics, in optics, and in calculus. He makes us see the old intuitive, alchemical universe out of which Newton's mathematics first arose and shows us how Newton's ideas have altered all forms of understanding from history to philosophy. And he gives us a moving account of the conflicting impulses that pulled at this man's heart: his quiet longings, his rage, his secrecy, the extraordinary subtleties of a personality that were mirrored in the invisible forces he first identified as the building blocks of science. More than biography, more than history, more than science, Isaac Newton tells us how, through the mind of one man, we have come to know our place in the cosmos.

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What the Critics Say

"Gleick renders a wonderful impression of the icon's mind." (Booklist)
"Allan Corduner's narration is a pleasure to listen to." (AudioFile)
"The extraordinary breadth of Newton's interests is brilliantly delineated by Gleick. Newton the man emerges from the shadows." (The New York Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

BRUTAL

I am a fan of Gleick's work and of science writing in general, but this book is, unfortunately, a fumble. Newton the man is quite fascinating but rather than explicating on his personality Gleick elects to focus on a few interminable intellectual grudges that the godfather of physics held against his contemporaries. It becomes a real yawn after an hour, and then by hour three I was heavily regretting having downloaded this horrible, horrible book. How can someone make such an interesting topic so dull? If you are a fan of Chaos or Genius, Gleick's two best titles, know that you will get none of the rich weave of characters, history, and incisive explanations of scientific discoveries and their significance that you may have come to expect. Pass on this and download Bill Bryson's a Short History of Nearly Everything instead. You'll learn more about Newton that way, and get more bang for your buck.
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- Andrew

I thought it was good

I do not agree with the previous reviewers. The author brought the personality and presence of Newton out in the only way one could--through meticulous research. The confllicts between Newton and Hook, and the descriptions of a man viewing the world in ways none before him could were very facinating and I listened to the book twice to hear the story again. If you are interested in genius and particularly mathematics and physics and how a great man of learning dealt with his genius in his own time, you will enjoy this book.

I will say that I have not read the author's other works, so I can't compare to them. But if they are better as the previous reviewers have indicated then I'm going to give them a listen also.
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- Steven

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-21-2005
  • Publisher: HarperAudio