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Dutch Light


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Hugh Aldersey-Williams transports us to the Dutch Golden Age - a time of immense scientific and artistic innovation - in this histo-biography of Christiaan Huygens, one of Europe's leading, yet unsung, thinkers.

About the Author

Hugh Aldersey-Williams studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He is the author of Periodic Tales, Anatomies, Tide: The Science and Lore of the Greatest Force on Earth and Dutch Light.


This book, soaked like the Dutch Republic itself 'in ink and paint', is enchanting to the point of escapism . . . One of the best things about this absorbing book (and how many 500-page biographies feel too short when you finish them?) is the interest it shows in everyone else. -- Simon Ings * Spectator *
Here's early modern Europe by way of one of its most energetic minds * Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year *
Hugh Aldersey-Williams rescues his subject from Newton's shadow, where he was been unjustly confined for other three hundred years . . . a fresh and absorbing vision of 17th-century experimentation that sheds welcome light on wider European culture. * Literary Review *
A clever and comprehensive portrait of a unique mind prospering on the border between Renaissance humanism and Enlightenment empiricism. -- Chris Allnutt * Financial Times *
Hugh Aldersey-Williams reclaims the 17th-century polymath Christiaan Huygens from relative obscurity in an excellent biography that is also a story about the birth of modern science. Among other things, Huygens invented the mechanism for the pendulum clock and discovered the rings of Saturn through a telescope he had invented. -- Ruth Scurr * Spectator 'Books of the year' *
Fascinating . . . an impressive piece of scholarship. I learned a lot -- John Gribbin, author of Six Impossible Things and In Search of Schroedinger's Cat
At last - a scintillating biography of Christiaan Huygens, the Dutch mathematician, astronomer and inventor whose splendour has been unjustly eclipsed by the aura of Isaac Newton. After scouring archives, art galleries and museums in both the Netherlands and the UK, Hugh Aldersley-Williams has evocatively illuminated this brilliant polymath who laid the foundations of modern European science. -- Dr Patricia Fara, Emeritus Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge.

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