a man of misconceptions the life of an eccentric in an age of change

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A Man Of Misconceptions

Author : John Glassie
ISBN : 9781101597033
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 89. 7 MB
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A Scientific American Best Science Book of 2012 An Atlantic Wire Best Book of 2012 A New York Times Book Review “Editor's Choice” The “fascinating” (The New Yorker) story of Athanasius Kircher, the eccentric scholar-inventor who was either a great genius or a crackpot . . . or a bit of both. The interests of Athanasius Kircher, the legendary seventeenth-century priest-scientist, knew no bounds. From optics to music to magnetism to medicine, he offered up inventions and theories for everything, and they made him famous across Europe. His celebrated museum in Rome featured magic lanterns, speaking statues, the tail of a mermaid, and a brick from the Tower of Babel. Holy Roman Emperors were his patrons, popes were his friends, and in his spare time he collaborated with the Baroque master Bernini. But Kircher lived during an era of radical transformation, in which the old approach to knowledge—what he called the “art of knowing”— was giving way to the scientific method and modern thought. A Man of Misconceptions traces the rise, success, and eventual fall of this fascinating character as he attempted to come to terms with a changing world. With humor and insight, John Glassie returns Kircher to his rightful place as one of history’s most unforgettable figures.

Eye Of The Beholder Johannes Vermeer Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek And The Reinvention Of Seeing

Author : Laura J. Snyder
ISBN : 9780393246520
Genre : Science
File Size : 86. 95 MB
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The remarkable story of how an artist and a scientist in seventeenth-century Holland transformed the way we see the world. On a summer day in 1674, in the small Dutch city of Delft, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek—a cloth salesman, local bureaucrat, and self-taught natural philosopher—gazed through a tiny lens set into a brass holder and discovered a never-before imagined world of microscopic life. At the same time, in a nearby attic, the painter Johannes Vermeer was using another optical device, a camera obscura, to experiment with light and create the most luminous pictures ever beheld. “See for yourself!” was the clarion call of the 1600s. Scientists peered at nature through microscopes and telescopes, making the discoveries in astronomy, physics, chemistry, and anatomy that ignited the Scientific Revolution. Artists investigated nature with lenses, mirrors, and camera obscuras, creating extraordinarily detailed paintings of flowers and insects, and scenes filled with realistic effects of light, shadow, and color. By extending the reach of sight the new optical instruments prompted the realization that there is more than meets the eye. But they also raised questions about how we see and what it means to see. In answering these questions, scientists and artists in Delft changed how we perceive the world. In Eye of the Beholder, Laura J. Snyder transports us to the streets, inns, and guildhalls of seventeenth-century Holland, where artists and scientists gathered, and to their studios and laboratories, where they mixed paints and prepared canvases, ground and polished lenses, examined and dissected insects and other animals, and invented the modern notion of seeing. With charm and narrative flair Snyder brings Vermeer and Van Leeuwenhoek—and the men and women around them—vividly to life. The story of these two geniuses and the transformation they engendered shows us why we see the world—and our place within it—as we do today. Eye of the Beholder was named "A Best Art Book of the Year" by Christie's and "A Best Read of the Year" by New Scientist in 2015.

Egyptian Oedipus

Author : Daniel Stolzenberg
ISBN : 9780226924144
Genre : History
File Size : 40. 86 MB
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A contemporary of Descartes and Newton, Athanasius Kircher, S. J. (1601/2–80), was one of Europe’s most inventive and versatile scholars in the baroque era. He published more than thirty works in fields as diverse as astronomy, magnetism, cryptology, numerology, geology, and music. But Kircher is most famous—or infamous—for his quixotic attempt to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs and reconstruct the ancient traditions they encoded. In 1655, after more than two decades of toil, Kircher published his solution to the hieroglyphs, Oedipus Aegyptiacus, a work that has been called “one of the most learned monstrosities of all times.” Here Daniel Stolzenberg presents a new interpretation of Kircher’s hieroglyphic studies, placing them in the context of seventeenth-century scholarship on paganism and Oriental languages. Situating Kircher in the social world of baroque Rome, with its scholars, artists, patrons, and censors, Stolzenberg shows how Kircher’s study of ancient paganism depended on the circulation of texts, artifacts, and people between Christian and Islamic civilizations. Along with other participants in the rise of Oriental studies, Kircher aimed to revolutionize the study of the past by mastering Near Eastern languages and recovering ancient manuscripts hidden away in the legendary libraries of Cairo and Damascus. The spectacular flaws of his scholarship have fostered an image of Kircher as an eccentric anachronism, a throwback to the Renaissance hermetic tradition. Stolzenberg argues against this view, showing how Kircher embodied essential tensions of a pivotal phase in European intellectual history, when pre-Enlightenment scholars pioneered modern empirical methods of studying the past while still working within traditional frameworks, such as biblical history and beliefs about magic and esoteric wisdom.

Regenesis

Author : George M. Church
ISBN : 9780465038657
Genre : Science
File Size : 85. 94 MB
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“Bold and provocative… Regenesis tells of recent advances that may soon yield endless supplies of renewable energy, increased longevity and the return of long-extinct species.”—New Scientist In Regenesis, Harvard biologist George Church and science writer Ed Regis explore the possibilities—and perils—of the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology, in which living organisms are selectively altered by modifying substantial portions of their genomes, allows for the creation of entirely new species of organisms. These technologies—far from the out-of-control nightmare depicted in science fiction—have the power to improve human and animal health, increase our intelligence, enhance our memory, and even extend our life span. A breathtaking look at the potential of this world-changing technology, Regenesis is nothing less than a guide to the future of life.

Athanasius Kircher

Author : Paula Findlen
ISBN : 041594015X
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 35. 83 MB
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First published in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Athanasius Kircher S Theatre Of The World

Author : Joscelyn Godwin
ISBN : 1620554658
Genre : Body, Mind & Spirit
File Size : 66. 23 MB
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A major study of both the written and pictorial work of a neglected genius whose breadth of interest made him the last Renaissance man • Fully examines every area of Kircher’s wide field of study and accomplishments • Magnificently illustrated with stunning engravings from Kircher’s work Jesuit, linguist, archaeologist, and exceptional scholar, Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) was the last true Renaissance man. To Kircher the entire world was a glorious manifestation of God. His exploration was both a scientific quest and a religious experience. Credited with being the first Egyptologist, his works on Egyptology, music, optics, magnetism, geology, and comparative religion were the definitive texts of their time--and yet they represent only a part of his vast range of knowledge. A Christian Hermeticist in the style of Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, his work also examined alchemy, the Kabbalah, and the Egyptian mystery tradition exemplified by Hermes Trismegistus. The Hermetic cast of Kircher’s thought, which was foreign to the concerns of those propelling the Age of Reason, coupled with the breadth of his interests, caused many of his contributions to be widely overlooked--an oversight now masterfully rectified by Joscelyn Godwin. It has been said that Kircher could think only in images. The stunning engravings that are a distinguishing feature of his work are included here so we may fully appreciate and see for ourselves the life work, philosophy, and achievements of “the last man who knew everything.”

Athanasius Kircher

Author : Joscelyn Godwin
ISBN : 0500810222
Genre : Germany
File Size : 77. 23 MB
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Athanasius Kircher (1602 - 80) stand out as one of the last all-encompassing minds. For this true Renaissance man, the whole world was a glorious appearance of God waiting to be explored. Kircher was a Jesuit and an archeologist, a phenomenal linguist and an avid collector of scientific instruments. He deciphered archaic languages, experimented with alchemy and music therapy, optics and magnetism. Egyptian mystery wisdom, Greek, Cabbalistic and Christian philosophy met on common ground in his work. Kircher's sumptuous volumes were revered throughout Europe, and his gigantic oeuvre is represented here through striking engravings - most of them reprinted for the first time - together with annotations and an introduction to Kircher's life and work.

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