Books  General Natural History  History of Science 

Virtuoso by Nature: The Scientific Worlds of Francis Willughby FRS (1635-1672)


Series: Emergence of Natural History Volume: 1

By: Tim Birkhead(Editor), Michael Willoughby(Foreword By)

439 pages, colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations

E J Brill

Hardback | May 2017 | #227458 | ISBN-13: 9789004285316
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £160.00 $216/€180 approx

About this book

Francis Willughby, together with John Ray revolutionized the study of natural history. Together they were motivated by the new philosophy of the mid 1600s and transformed natural history in to a rigorous area of study. Because Ray lived longer and more of his writings have survived, his reputation subsequently eclipsed that of Willughby. Now, with access to previously unexplored archives and new discoveries we are able to provide a comprehensive evaluation of Francis Willughby's life and works. What emerges is a polymath, a true virtuoso, who made original and imaginative contributions to mathematics, chemistry, linguistics as well as natural history. We use Willughby's short life as a lens through which to view the entire process of seventeenth-century scientific endeavor.


Foreword by Michael Willoughby, Lord Middleton

1. The life and domestic context of Francis Willughby
Dorothy Johnston

2. The education of Francis Willughby
Richard Serjeantson

3. The chymsitry of Francis Willughby (1635–72): The Trinity College, Cambridge community
Anna Marie Roos

4. Willughby’s mathematics
Benjamin Wardhaugh

5. Science on the move: Francis Willughby’s expeditions
Mark Greengrass, Daisy Hildyard, Christopher D. Preston, and Paul J. Smith

6. The Willughby library in the time of Francis the naturalist
William Poole

7. Francis Willughby and John Ray on words and things
David Cram

8. Willughby’s ornithology
Tim R. Birkhead, Paul J. Smith, Meghan Doherty, and Isabelle Charmantier

9. Historia piscium (1686) and its sources
Sachiko Kusukawa

10. Willughby on insects
Brian Ogilvie

11. The legacies of Francis Willughby
Isabelle Charmantier, Dorothy Johnston, and Paul J. Smith

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Tim Birkhead, (D.Phil 1976) is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Sheffield; his scientific research focuses on promiscuity in birds; his history of science books include The Wisdom of Birds and Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin.

- Tim Birkhead
- Isabelle Charmantier
- David Cram
- Meghan Doherty
- Mark Greengrass
- Daisy Hildyard
- Dorothy Johnston
- Sachiko Kusukawa
- Brian Ogilvie
- William Poole
- Chris Preston
- Anna Marie Roos
- Richard Serjeantson
- Paul J Smith
- Benjamin Wardhaugh

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