Paris at the time of the French Revolution was the world capital of science. The city was saturated in scientists; many had an astonishing breadth of talents. Paris in the century around 1789 saw the first lightning conductor, the first flight, the first estimate of the speed of light and the invention of the tin can and the stethoscope. The theory of evolution came into being. Perhaps the greatest Revolutionary scientist of all, Antoine Lavoisier, founded modern chemistry and physiology, transformed French farming, and much improved gunpowder manufacture. His political activities brought him a fortune, but in the end led to his execution. The judge who sentenced him to death claimed that "the Revolution has no need for geniuses."In this enthralling and dazzling book, acclaimed science writer Steve Jones shows how wrong this was and takes a new look at Paris, its history, and its science, to give the reader dazzling new insight into the City of Light.
Steve Jones is professor of genetics at University College London. He is the author of The Darwin Archipalego; Y: The Descent of Man; Darwin's Ghost; and Almost Like a Whale: The Origin of Species. Jones is the winner of Royal Society Faraday Medal for the Public Understanding of Science.