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The Clockwork Universe is the story of a band of menwho lived in a world of dirt and disease but pictured auniverse that ran like a perfect machine. A meld ofhistory and science, this book is a group portrait ofsome of the greatest minds who ever lived as theywrestled with nature’s most sweeping mysteries. Theanswers they uncovered still hold the key to how weunderstand the world.

At the end of the seventeenth century—an age ofreligious wars, plague, and the Great Fire of London—when most people saw the world as falling apart, theseearliest scientists saw a world of perfect order. They declaredthat, chaotic as it looked, the universe was in factas intricate and perfectly regulated as a clock. This wasthe tail end of Shakespeare’s century, when the naturaland the supernatural still twined around each other. Diseasewas a punishment ordained by God, astronomy hadnot yet broken free from astrology, and the sky was filledwith omens. It was a time when little was known andeverything was new. These brilliant, ambitious, curiousmen believed in angels, alchemy, and the devil, and theyalso believed that the universe followed precise, mathematicallaws—a contradiction that tormented them andchanged the course of history.

The Clockwork Universe is the fascinating and compellingstory of the bewildered geniuses of the RoyalSociety, the men who made the modern world.

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