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Academic & Professional Books  History & Other Humanities  History of Science & Nature

The Invention of Air An Experiment, a Journey, a New Country and the Amazing Force of Scientific Discovery

By: Steven Johnson
276 pages, b/w illustrations
Publisher: Penguin Books
The Invention of Air
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  • The Invention of Air ISBN: 9780141044354 Paperback Oct 2009 Usually dispatched within 6 days
Price: £12.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

In 1794, Joseph Priestley--amateur scientist, ordained minister and radical thinker--set sail for America to escape persecution. The author tells his incredible story: the discovery of oxygen, the invention of a science, the founding of a church, and, with the great minds of his time, the development of the United States itself.

But Priestley's revolutionary ideas put him in terrible danger. Johnson uses the progress of Priestley and his colleagues not merely to describe the wonder of discovery, but to show us how we have come to understand the world, how far we have travelled with the power of human enquiry--and how one man's curiosity can help build an entire country.

Customer Reviews


Steven Johnson is the author of the acclaimed books "Everything Bad is Good for You", "The Ghost Map", "Mind Wide Open", "Emergence and Interface Culture".
By: Steven Johnson
276 pages, b/w illustrations
Publisher: Penguin Books
Media reviews
A shot of the purest oxygen
- Simon Winchester

"It fizzes"
- John Gapper FT

"Entertaining ... clear-sighted and intelligent"
- The New Yorker

"[Johnson is] an infectiously exciting writer ... 'The Invention of Air' is delightful to read"
- Salon

"Packed with excellent stuff"
- Russell Davies

"Johnson paints Priestley not as a man of the past but precisely the sort of figure the world needs more than ever"
- New York Post
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