Posts Tagged ‘first scientific best-seller’
… and making them drink:
from Spiked Math.
On a more serious note… many are skeptical of “the Singularity”– the hypothetical point at which technological progress will have accelerated so much that the future becomes fundamentally unpredictable and qualitatively different from what’s gone before (click here for a transcript of the talk by Vernor Vinge that launched the concept, and here for a peek at what’s become of Vernor’s initial thinking). But even those with doubts (among whom your correspondent numbers) acknowledge that technology is re-weaving the very fabric of life. Readers interested in a better understanding of what’s afoot and where it might lead will appreciate Kevin Kelly’s What Technology Wants (and the continuing discussion on Kevin’s site).
As we re-set our multiplication tables, we might recall that it was on this date in 1664 that natural philosopher, architect and pioneer of the Scientific Revolution Robert Hooke showed an advance copy of his book Micrographia– a chronicle of Hooke’s observations through various lens– to members of the Royal Society. The volume (which coined the word “cell” in a biological context) went on to become the first scientific best-seller, and inspired broad interest in the new science of microscopy.
source: Cal Tech
UPDATE: Reader JR notes that the image above is of an edition of Micrographia dated 1665. Indeed, while (per the almanac entry above) the text was previewed to the Royal Society in 1664 (to wit the letter, verso), the book wasn’t published until September, 1665. JR remarks as well that Micrographia is in English (while most scientific books of that time were still in Latin)– a fact that no doubt contributed to its best-seller status.