Comets, Popular Culture, and the Birth of Modern Cosmology

Description

In a lively investigation into the boundaries between popular culture and early-modern science, Sara Schechner Genuth presents a case study that challenges the view that rationalism was at odds with popular belief in the development of scientific theories. Schechner Genuth delineates the evolution of people's understanding of comets, showing that until the seventeenth century, all members of society dreaded comets as heaven-sent portents of plague, flood, civil disorder, and other calamities. Although these beliefs became spurned as "vulgar superstitions" by the elite before the end of the century, she shows that they were nonetheless absorbed into the science of Newton and Halley, contributing to their theories in subtle yet profound ways.

Details

Author(s)
Sara Schechner
Format
Hardback | 384 pages
Dimensions
165.1 x 247.65 x 31.75mm | 709g
Publication date
01 Sep 1997
Publisher
Princeton University Press
Publication City/Country
New Jersey, United States
Language
English
Illustrations note
53 halftones 2 tables
ISBN10
0691011508
ISBN13
9780691011509