Review of Lorraine Daston & Katharine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 [Book Review]

Times Literary Supplement 5001 (1999)
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Curious about the nature of light, Robert Boyle spent a series of late nights taking detailed observations of shining veal shanks, stinking fish, pieces of rotten wood which glowed in the dark, and a ‘noctiluca’ distilled from human urine. Once, report Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park, with "only a foot-boy" to assist him, Boyle put a luminous diamond to the nocturnal test, "plunging it into oil and acid, spitting on it, and ‘taking it into bed with me, and holding it a good while upon a warm part of my naked body’".

Author's Profile

John Sutton
Macquarie University


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