The Age of Wonder Holmes, R 2009
This is a very interesting book that beautifully, almost cinematically, narrates the history of science and its relationship with poetry in the Romantic era in late 18th and early 19th century Britain. The author, Richard Holmes, an expert on the Romantic poets, takes us through a journey exploring the fascinating people that pioneered new sciences from Joseph Banks to William Herschel, Humphry Davy to Micheal Faraday, exploring how their scientific approaches were deeply intertwined with a pursuit of beauty and poetry. Holmes shows how poetry and science were not two separated dichotomies but rather two intertwined paths of discovery and pursuit of truth and meaning. Optimized in Davy who was both a poet and a scientist, but likewise other well known romantic poets such as Keats, Coleridge and Shelly were inspired by the new discoveries made of the natural world by the scientific process. Additionally, it describes a time when scientific education to the wider public was both a joy and an a necessity and is an inspiration to our times of a optimistic return to this bygone third culture.