The Book Club

Hugh Aldersey-Williams: The Making of Science in Europe

34 min listen

In This Episode

If you know the name of Christiaan Huygens at all, it’ll probably be as the man who gave his name to a space probe. But Hugh Aldersey-Williams, author of Dutch Light: Christaan Huygens and the Making of Science in Europe, joins this week’s Book Club podcast to argues that this half-forgotten figure was the most important scientist between Galileo and Newton. He tells a remarkable story of advances in optics, geometry, probability, mathematics, astronomy – as well as the invention of the pendulum clock and the discovery of the rings of Saturn – against the backdrop of a turbulent post-Reformation Europe and the beginnings of an international scientific community. Plus, we identify an early-modern prototype for Dominic Cummings in the court of Louis XIV.


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