Jeremy MyNott begins his TLS review of Birds & People with this wonderful overview of ornith-anthropology: “Birds are everywhere. They span the globe from the most inhospitable regions of the Arctic and Antarctic, across oceans and seas, through desert, mountain and plain, forest and . . . . Continue Reading »

Transmitting Newton

We speak blithely of modernity and the Enlightenment, as if the mere writing of a treatise suddenly changes the way people think. Margaret C. Jacob has spent a good part of her career retracing the conduits by which atomistic and mechanistic conceptions of the universe became part of the common . . . . Continue Reading »

Newton and the Trinity

In his contribution to John Paul II on Science and Religion: Reflections on the New View from Rome , T.F. Torrance claims that Maxwell’s investigations into field phenomena arose from theology, specifically from a Trinitarian dissatisfaction with Newton’s universe: “Clerk . . . . Continue Reading »

Government and innovation

Americans think of ourselves as entrepreneurs, innovators, and self-starters. That description fits plenty of American businessmen, but in the world we inhabit many technological advances that fuel mega-sized companies started in government programs. John Judis makes this point concisely in a . . . . Continue Reading »

Believe it

Thanks to my son Christian, I believe the impossible. I believe in upsalite, the super-absorbent material recently discovered accidentally by researchers at the University of Uppsala. According to the Guardian report : “Unless you work in Uppsala University, Sweden, where accidentally leaving . . . . Continue Reading »

Edwards against Substance

“There is no such thing as mechanism,” Edwards argues (quoted in Jenson, America’s Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards , 25). He means that there is no such thing as “mechanics” if that means “that whereby bodies act each upon other, purely and . . . . Continue Reading »

Frozen light

“A team from University of Darmstadt has managed to stop light for an entire minute .” To get a bit of frozen light “they took an opaque crystal and fired lasers into it to disturb the quantum states of the atoms within. By creating two quantum states within those atoms, they were . . . . Continue Reading »

Tuning the Sky

The ancient Pythagorean notion of a musical universe sounds quaint today, but it was still very much a live option during the era of the scientific revolution. David Plant explains how Kepler’s laws of planetary corresponded to the intervals of music: “Kepler’s First Law states . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Sheldrake Matters

Since Mendel, virtually no one has believed in the the Lamarckian idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. This means that inherited properties are considered biological, and specifically genetic. An organism with a certain genetic makeup will acquired new properties during its . . . . Continue Reading »

Religion of the Word

In the NYRB, Edward Mendelson suggests that there is a little zone of Protestant freedom within the controlled Papal structures of Apple: “AppleScript is protestant with a lower-case ‘p,’ as iOS and much of OS X is catholic with a lower-case ‘c.’ Like the Protestantism . . . . Continue Reading »