Invention of Clouds | Book, Essay
- Book description:
The Invention of Clouds is the true story of Luke Howard, the amateur English meteorologist who in 1802 gave the clouds their names -- cumulus, cirrus, stratus. He immediately gained international fame, becoming a cult figure among artists and painters -- Goethe, Constable, and Coleridge revered him -- and legitimizing the science of meteorology. Part history of science, part cultural excavation, this is not only the biography of a man, but of a moment: the cultural birth of the modern scientific era.
- Book Authors:
- Richard Hamblyn studied at the universities of Essex and Cambridge, where he wrote a doctorial thesis on 18th-century topographical authorship. His first book, The Invention of Clouds ( 2001 ) told the narrative of Luke Howard, the recreational meteorologist who named the clouds in 1802 ; his other publications include The Cloud Book ( 2008 ) and Extraordinary Clouds ( 2009 ) , both published in association with the ( UK ) Met Office ; Data Soliloquies ( 2009 ) , co-written with the digital creative person Martin John Callanan ; and Terra: Narratives of the Earth, a aggregation of narratives about major natural catastrophes. His anthology, The Art of Science: A Natural History of Ideas, was published by Picador in October 2011. It is a wide-ranging aggregation of clear scientific discipline composing from the Babylonians to the Higgs boson.
Invention of Clouds Essay
- Rating: 4* of five Precisely what it says it is: the narrative of how two hundred old ages ago an recreational meteorologist developed the linguistic communication to depict clouds. Enjoyable and I decidedly recommend it for people that enjoy the history of scientific discipline. I finished this book on an cloud-covered eventide. By the clip I was done, the scene Sun had broken through the clouds to uncover a strikingly 3-dimensional view of lacerate vapour and gold. It was a cloudscape, the sort I try to capture in my narratives “Unborn God” and “The Wizard’s House”—part of a series I’m naming Cartography of Clouds that will be published shortly in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It was besides a fitting background to the decision of this book on the history of efforts to call and categorise these most fleeting of natural phenomena. Awesome Read You call the wispy high clouds of the December sky “cirrus” . So does the German, Spaniard, Russian, Afrikaner… We have a common linguistic communication for speech production of clouds due to a singular Quaker chemist, Luke Howard, who codified and named clouds ( in Latin, the scientific linguistic communication so and now ) harmonizing to the behaviour he had observed. Richard Hamblyn 's The Invention of Clouds is a absorbing book that looks at the history of how clouds were classified into the types by which we know them today ( eg cirrhus, altostratus, cumulus ) , It centres on Luke Howard, the meteorologist who foremost came up with a properly feasible and cosmopolitan cloud categorization ( there had been other efforts, but they had n't been successful ) . This keen book is blowing me off. As the rubric implies, Hamblyn posits that our meteoric innovation of conditions is more like an effort to suit natural philosophies into our human construct of linguistic communication. Our ancient mythologies did this when we assigned character to overcast, air current, Sun, Moon, boom, lightning, stars, sky, planets and Earth in the signifier of Gods. Even monotheists did it, as explained by Hamblyn on page 26 when he recounts the Jews ' Exodus from Egypt to Sinai and Canaan and they saw high-built convective thundercloud cloud signifiers and experient torrential cloudburst for the first clip. This may hold been recorded as an act of God instead than the consequence of relocation to a topographic point with 15 times every bit much rainfall as the waterless climate that the writers of the Exodus were used to. What else in the Bible was merely eldritch conditions? ( And how does that relate to the eldritch conditions we 've had recently? ) Hamblyn digs deep and makes many connexions through the political, scientific and popular displacement across the ages. The Invention of Clouds does every bit much to observe our perceptual experience of conditions as linguistic communication and the clouds themselves as animate existences as does to uncover and delight in the foolishness of the scientific method. “Clouds themselves, by their very nature, are self-ruining and fragmental. They flee in hastiness over seeable skylines to their rapidly forgotten denouements. Every cloud is a little calamity, a universe of vapour that dies before our eyes, ” writes author Richard Hamblyn. This was interesting -- an insight both into meteoric history and ( of involvement to me ) Quaker history. Excellently researched and structured... truly delves into both the roots of weather forecasting and Howard 's background and personality. For a history book, Richard Hamblyn’s The Invention of Clouds is extremely clear. Despite the legion characters that make an visual aspect, all the digressive but relevant inside informations, and the comprehensiveness of the topic, Hamblyn is able to show a coherent and absorbing narration. Because historical events can non go on in isolation, by concentrating on how the clouds came to be named, Hamblyn has painted a portrayal of scientific civilization in the early nineteenth century, the birth of modern weather forecasting, and the compulsions of the persons who made it possible. I thought this book was traveling to be highly dull, but was delighted when I found that it was n't. As a immature scientist I found myself inspired by this narrative of a immature scientist who created the convention of calling clouds, that we still use today. Science is done so much differently these yearss that it was a mere hundred old ages ago. Sure in our present epoch there is so much engineering and cognition that was n't available so, but it feels like research workers mentalities have evolved every bit good. Who would make scientific discipline for scientific discipline 's interest? A hundred old ages from now, if humanity still exists, what stories of our epoch of scientific discipline will they state? Merely something to believe approximately. This book is full of intriguing information and is mostly piquant. But the authorship manner is a spot over-workshopped, as if the editors had said, Richard, this spot is interesting, but can we hold some more here about X? and so the writer fills in with a long, elaborate, interesting, but narratively distracting transition. Inexplicable that this would hold won the awards and eulogies it has. Good bedtime reading for wool-gatherers. If this book was any desiccant it would be a desert. There are all kinds of redacting issues as the writer takes what should hold been short non-essential subjects and stretches them out to deadening proportions. There is an interesting narrative good hidden in this book but the job is it lies under monolithic sums of unneeded prose. And as a small footer this book was designed longer than it is high so it looks out of topographic point on a bookshelf Intriguing penetrations here into the Romantic period every bit good as into a typical adult male of the clip. It gives a existent sense of the growing of scientific discipline and how scientific discipline one time belonged to the people. It was highly interesting to read the about poetic descriptions of clouds and the influence of these thoughts on the poets of the twenty-four hours. Really rather an interesting read for the first 200 pages - the history of the terminology of clouds interspesed with absorbing facts about weather forecasting. It nevertheless gets a spot excessively much when the writer claims that 19th century poesy was influenced by Luke Howard 's work - Goethe was a fan, seemingly... The innovation of clouds, how an recreational meteorologist forged the linguistic communication of the skies by Richard Hamblyn If you are geeky plenty to love weather forecasting and the history of scientific discipline ( which I am ) so this book is up your back street. This book explores the life of Luke Howard the discoverer of the cloud terminology used to this twenty-four hours and dubbed by some to be the male parent of weather forecasting. Good history of who said what & when, I suppose, but it did acquire a spot boring - more about the political relations of 19th century scientific discipline than weather forecasting. It did n't work for me, but good research by the writer - it 's a history worth continuing. Every cloud is a little calamity, A good read with a few dry musca volitanss. Overall though an enlightening history of the categorization of clouds and the constitution of weather forecasting as a scientific discipline. Particularly interesting are the analogues between London civilization of the early nineteenth century to the modern revival of popular scientific discipline. Unique book on the history of clouds. I did n't care for the landscape format, even though it might be a cagey metaphor for the capable affair.
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