The Sensorium of God
Two of the leading characters in scientific history are Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke. They were contemporaries, although certainly their relationship was always difficult. It must also be said that both men had difficult characters.
The story of the differences of opinion between them has been told many times, but in The Sensorium of God – the second book in The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth Trilogy – author Stuart Clark puts a rather different complexion on it. It is a method that works very well and enables us to look more closely at the thinking of scientists of the Restoration period. Clark is a well-known astrophysicist and a former vice-chairman of the Association of British Science Writers. This book will certainly enhance his reputation.
The novel is set in the mid-17th century, when it had only just been universally agreed that Earth moves around the Sun and was not the most important body in the Universe. Neither Newton or Hooke doubted this, but in many other ways they did not agree at all. You can read this book even if you have not come across the first of the trilogy, and although it is not always pleasant reading, you have to remember these were not always pleasant times!
It has been said that Clark “effortlessly blends science into an enthralling story of triumph over adversity”. Certainly, The Sensorium of God is a blend of historical fiction and astronomy that most people with an interest in science will wish to obtain.
Sir Patrick Moore is the presenter of The Sky at Night on BBC TV