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Hans Christian Ørsted: Reading Nature's Mind Hardcover – 23 May 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (23 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199669260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199669264
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 3.6 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 544,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

In this powerhouse of a biography-cum-science-history, historian Dan Charly Christensen reveals Ørsted as a brilliant, multifaceted figure - scientist, post-Kantian philosopher, educator and physical aesthetician. (Nature)

Best known for his epoch-making discovery of electromagnetism in 1820, the versatile Danish physicist H. C. Ørsted was also a cultural icon and an eminent representative of the Kantian-Romantic movement in the early nineteenth century. Only with Christensens impressively rich and detailed biography are readers presented with a full picture of Ørsted and his time, in which his scientific work is placed in its proper social and cultural context. Combining meticulous scholarship with readability, Christensens book is a magnificent contribution to the history of science and culture that for decades will remain the authoritative biography of Ørsted. (Helge Kragh, Aarhus University)

Reading Nature's Mind is a well-written and beautifully illustrated book. It is extraordinarily detailed and leaves the reader with a through understanding not only of Ørsted, but also of his contemporaries. (Nanna Katrine Luders Kaalund, Journal of BJHS)

Few people know more about Hans Christian Ørsted than his "accidental" discovery of electromagnetism in 1820. Dan Ch. Christensen's definitive biography of Ørsted, now available in English, will change this. Christensen documents the intellectual and philosophical preparations that led to Ørsted's 1820 discovery and his response to the acclaim that followed. While this book is a "must read" for historians of science, its vivid descriptions of intellectual life in the early 1800s will be equally fascinating to lay readers. Read it and enjoy it! (Andrew D. Jackson, Professor of Theoretical Physics, The Niels Bohr Institute)

About the Author

Dan Charly Christensen worked as Lecturer and Reader within the Department of History at Roskilde University (1972-2010), Denmark. His two volume biography, Naturens Tankelæser. En Biografi om Hans Christian Ørsted (Museum Tusculanum, Copenhagen 2009), was nominated for Weekendavisen's annual literary prize, and awarded the H.O. Lange Literary Prize by the Royal Library and Gad's Foundation.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Faustus on 25 Sep 2013
Format: Hardcover
A brilliant tour de force in which Christensen ably demonstrates how Ørsted read 'Natures Mind'. Far more than a simple history of the life and times of this great Danish scientist, this impressive book locates Ørsted as a pivotal personality within the Danish Golden Age and argues for the correctness of his view of the dualism of material entities - the research objects of physics - and the noumenal physical forces which act on material entities and which explain their properties, as being the correct view as compared with the Romantic interpretation of the Golden Age as it has been traditionally viewed.

Throughout the book Christensen is at pains to illuminate how Ørsted's dualism was not confined to the sciences but to a whole worldview including ethics and aesthetics. As Christensen explains, "Like Kant [Ørsted] saw the greatest challenge of critical philosophy in man's profound wonder at the relationship between 'the starry heaven above us' and 'the moral law within us'."

A large book with a large subject handled with ease and enthusiasm by its author.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A book to read and savour 21 Sep 2013
By Faustus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
A brilliant tour de force in which Christensen ably demonstrates how Ørsted read 'Natures Mind'. Far more than a simple history of the life and times of this great Danish scientist, this impressive book locates Ørsted as a pivotal personality within the Danish Golden Age and argues for the correctness of his view of the dualism of material entities - the research objects of physics - and the noumenal physical forces which act on material entities and which explain their properties, as being the correct view as compared with the Romantic interpretation of the Golden Age as it has been traditionally viewed.

Throughout the book Christensen is at pains to illuminate how Ørsted's dualism was not confined to the sciences but to a whole worldview including ethics and aesthetics. As Christensen explains, "Like Kant [Ørsted] saw the greatest challenge of critical philosophy in man's profound wonder at the relationship between 'the starry heaven above us' and 'the moral law within us'."

A large book with a large subject handled with ease and enthusiasm by its author.
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