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The Science of James Smithson by Steven Turner

The Science of James Smithson

Best Seller
The Science of James Smithson by Steven Turner
Hardcover $29.95
Nov 03, 2020 | ISBN 9781588346902

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  • Nov 03, 2020 | ISBN 9781588346902

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Praise

WALL STREET JOURNAL
“Although he published close to 30 articles in leading journals, Smithson’s scientific efforts have often been viewed as mere dabbling, busywork with little impact. Not so, exclaims Mr. Turner, a retired curator of physical sciences at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. To rectify the record, the author re-creates, down to the smallest detail, the experiments Smithson had conducted and written about, using the tools he would have used. The result is a quirky, oddly touching book that allows us to step, for a few moments, inside the world of a practicing Enlightenment scientist, to sit beside him as he fans the flames of a candle with his little blowpipe, waiting for that small mineral in front of him to melt and yield its secrets.”

KIRKUS REVIEWS
“After rerunning Smithson’s experiments, a substantial feat in its own right, Turner, a historian of science and emeritus curator of physical sciences at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, convincingly refutes the charge that his subject was an ‘aristocratic science dabbler,’ a charge largely based on his interest in practical applications, such as improving the process of coffee-making. […] Solid insight into the work of a man whose gift undergirds one of the most important U.S. institutions of learning.”

LIBRARY JOURNAL
“Seamlessly intertwined with information about scientific and social developments in Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, including facts about important names in geology, chemistry, and mineralogy, this welcome guide will engage readers of science biographies and the history of science.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 
“Curious readers will appreciate this accessible look at the work of a thoughtful, idealistic scientist.”

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