The Spirit of Inquiry: How One Extraordinary Society Shaped Modern Science


Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.4 X 1.5 X 9.3 inches | 1.45 pounds
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About the Author

Dr Susannah Gibson is an Affiliated Scholar of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. She holds a PhD from Cambridge on the history of the life sciences of the eighteenth century, a master's degree in the history of nineteenth-century science, and abachelor's degree in experimental physics. She is the author of Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? How eighteenth-century science disrupted the natural order (OUP, 2015), which was well reviewed in The Telegraph, The TLS, and The Independent, amongst other publications. She was formerly Manager of theCambridge Literary Festival, and remains interested in both introducing new audiences to the history of science, and in bridging the gap between academic and popular writing.


"Gibson has thoroughly filleted the archives and she tells a richly fascinating history. Her book is an excellent example of everything that public outreach should be: accessibly priced, informative, and entertaining." -- Ann Kennedy Smith, Times Literary Supplement

"A vivid, deeply researched intellectual history." -- Kirkus

"Reviewing a great book is much like witnessing a blue moon, infrequent but captivating. For me, The Spirit of Inquiry was one such event... This book deserves your time." -- Dr Stephen Hoskins, The Biologist

"As part of its bicentenary celebration, the Cambridge Philosophical Society commissioned historian of science Susannah Gibson to tell the story of the Society's foundation, its rise, decline and resurrection. She has managed the difficult task of bringing together the many different strands ... and made it very readable." -- Douglas Palmer, Geoscientist

"I loved this book. And if you, too, are fascinated by the history of British science and are interested in Cambridge University, you will too ... Gibson has produced an impressive addition to the history of the development of the science..." -- Brian Clegg, Popular Science

"How then did Cambridge transform into the world-beater in science of today? That is the subject matter of The Spirit of Inquiry by Susannah Gibson. She weaves a delightful tale about the institution that made it happen..." - Rajat Ghai, Down to Earth