A sonnet to science

Scientists and their poetry

Author: Sam Illingworth

A sonnet to science presents an account of six groundbreaking scientists who also wrote poetry, and the effect that this had on their lives and research. Focusing on Humphry Davy, Ada Lovelace, James Clerk Maxwell, Ronald Ross, Miroslav Holub, and Rebecca Elson, this book explores the extent to which poetry influenced and inspired their scientific achievements and in doing so considers how science and poetry offer complementary, rather than antagonistic, viewpoints for understanding the world and the way in which we live. By presenting a selection of the poetry that these scientists wrote and contextualising it with their work and research, this book provides a tentative explanation as to why these scientists wrote poetry, and gives a better understanding of how poetry might today be used as an effective tool in both the advancement of science and the way that science is communicated. Featured alongside the poems of these scientists is biographical detail that indicates the extent to which poetry affected their research and thinking. In presenting an aspirational account of how these two disciplines can work together, A sonnet to science aims to convince both current and future generations of scientists and poets that these worlds are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary in nature.

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