Very often, especially with fiction, it is almost the only way. Throughout this highly detailed work by Koestler there is a pendulum swing that might be said to center on a balanced integration of the mystical with the rational. Kepler also made some attempts at a physical model to describe the motions but ultimately he is remembered for the detailed description of their motion. He wasn't exactly flattered by Copernicus or Galileo, and though he clearly respected Kepler's genius, he also portrayed him as a distracted genius who either by accident or through distraction ignored his greatest laws of astronomy. Plus, on the face of it, it's a book I really should enjoy. Well, Copernicus could perhaps have achieved more: but I liked the way he patiently worked within the system and showed that, even in its own terms, it wasn't very good. Without this background, the holders of these views sound like deluded idiots.
It ends with Newton and an analysis of the new synthesis that occurred with his works. The reactionary response to this limitation is shown by Koestler to be extremism in the other direction, to the benefit of technological development but at the risk of complete annihilation of the species in both the physical and the spiritual sense. Also, Koestler downplays the Newtonian synthesis. I think this is a strength of the book. The best we have done so far is the Hubble's myopic vision; but, I guess, vision never restrained Kepler. He wasn't exactly flattered by Copernicus or Galileo, and though he clearly respected Kepler's genius, he also portrayed him as a distracted genius who either by accident or through distractio A series of well researched essays on Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, and how they stumbled, or in Koestler's words - sleepwalked, their way through their eponymous works and discoveries.
Arstotle and Plato's ideas about the immutability of the heavens and the variability, and hence inferiority, of the sub-lunar region , the chain of being down from God to the lowest particle of dirt, with everyone and everything having a place, and that the motion of heavenly bodies is circular and with uniform speed, all become completely accepted into mainstream thought and religion, and hence were dogma. Alas, this is the only bk I've read in my a I think I read 2 of Koestler's bks. Another wide ranging history - from the Great Chain of Being to Newton - but mainly focused on math and science. Koestler's findings that I found notable included: Astronomy began simply as sky-geometry, it was not until Kepler that someone attempted to appor The book maps out the advances in astronomical thought, from the walled-in earth-centred universe of antiquity to the modern solar system. He made no contribution to theoretical astronomy he did not throw down weights from the leaning tower of Pisa, and did not prove the truth of the Copernican system. And yet the continuity was broken for a time span nearly as long as that from the beginning of the Christian era to our day. I mockingly defy all mortals with this open confession: I have robbed the golden vessels of the Egyptians to make out of them a tabernacle for my God, far from the frontiers of Egypt.
Arrow in the Blue together with The Invisible Writing are kind of autobiography of first 35 years of Koestler's life. The ecstatic contemplation of geometrical forms and mathematical laws is therefore the most effective means of purging the soul of earthly passion, and the principal link between man and divinity. But the blurb looked interesting and the shopkeeper told me several other customers had really liked the book. A few criticisms: occasionally the work which started as a straight-up Kepler biography and was then expanded seems a bit patched together to the point where the great-men-of-history overshadow everything and are presented without enough era-specific context for the lay reader like me. In this masterly synthesis, Arthur Koestler cuts through the sterile distinction between 'sciences' and 'humanities' to bring to life the whole history of cosmology from the Babylonians to Newton.
An excellent in depth story about the development of astronomy and the people who made the measurements and interpreted the results. Kepler's cheerful and unflagging efforts - in the face of poverty, disease, betrayal, stubbornness, blind alleys, mistakes, and tragedy - to establish a logical and mathematical basis for the planet's enigmatic orbits; his capacity for both sarcastic antagonization and affectionate loyalty in his dealings with others; his creative and virile genius in doing much of the leg work necessary for Galileo's success; in short, his so very human failings and virtues make his story the epitomy of the creative potential of the inspired human spirit. Dawn ; The harmony of the spheres ; The earth adrift ; The failure of nerve ; The divorce from reality ; Chronological table for part one -- Part 2: Dark interlude. Not that they arise by chance, but rather that scientists are neither fully aware of what guides their research, nor are they fully aware of the implications of what they discover. I was looking forward to his epilogue, but it was quite dated. The book ends with a modern epilogue which briefly details the state of science and religion today. This is a wonderfully readable and interesting account of the history of astronomy, and to some extent cosmology, up to and including Newton.
He was a man of a generation who witnessed final disaster of civil war in Spain and descending and demolishing of hope by communism in Soviet, while confronting the invasion of Fashism in Europe. Contrary to statements in even recent outlines of science, Galileo did not invent the telescope nor the microscope nor the thermometer nor the pendulum clock. It traces the history of Western from ancient to. It is a complicated story, involving some subtleties, in which the author dispels numerous popular myths. He shows how the tragic split between science and religion arose and how, in particular, the modern world-view replaced the medieval world-view in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. With his poetic and innocent demand, Plato laid a curse on astronomy, whose effects were to last till the beginning of the seventeenth century, when Kepler proved that planets move in oval, and not circular orbits. The new masters of destiny were placed lower in the scale than the being they controlled; they could determine his fate, but could provide him with no moral guidance, no values and meaning.
He did not discover the law of inertia nor the parallelogram of forces or motions nor the sun spots. Thoroughly researched, incredibly well written, and Koestler's insights into these men's lives seems uncannily spot on. Galileo's opponents were not the nitwits we believed them to be. It traces a revolution from a time when the cosmos, beyond the earth, was considered different, stable and perfect, to a time when it was shown to be subject to earthly physics, be changeable and not perfect by any reasonable definition. Galileo was a big old douche canoe, and most of the myths about him are completely wrong. But this is not fiction and in this case I am not so much following Koestler's flow as I am skipping from current to current in this little bit of his head and everywhere I swim I meet the biggest most awesome sharks and the most colourful fish. The next, revolutionary step was taken by a pupil of Pythagoras, Philolaus, the first philosopher to attribute motion to our globe.
I highly recommend it to anyone interested in cosmology, maths, alchemy, the middle ages, or the history and philosophy of science or religion. Related to that: the trial against Galileo, for example. In order to make revolutionary discoveries, one must peal back the layers of accepted thought and question dogma. He was born into a Hungarian Jewish family in Budapest but, apart from his early school years, was educated in Austria. Koestler takes the reader through the stages of Kepler's thinking, with a wink and a nod to the intuitions that would, at times, lift him above that thinking.
Yes, I give myself up to holy raving. Isaac Newton is mentioned only briefly - certainly compared to the more detailed accounts about Corpernicus, Kepler, and Galileo - and mainly his findings and further explorations are discussed. All told, decades after publication this remains a breath of fresh air, and probably my favourite of the Koestler books I've read. He shows how the tragic split between science and religion arose and how, in particular, the modern world-view replaced the medieval world-view in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. The main characters of this science, history story are ,.