Newton’s now-famous theory of gravity was the first ever complete scientific theory. But when it was published in the late 1600s, it was philosophically and religiously challenging in many ways.
Seduced by Logic is a window into the philosophical implications of Newton’s work, told through the stories of two female mathematicians, Émilie du Châtelet and Mary Somerville, who helped bring his theories to the world by embedding them in popular culture.
The stories of du Châtelet and Somerville are full of quirky recollections, with extracts from love letters, scientific papers and essays scattered throughout.
Mathematical and scientific ideas slip in easily between the philosophical arguments and religious scandals. There are appendices explaining the more complex ideas with diagrams for those interested, but the narrative is easy and engaging without them.
To me, Seduced by Logic seemed to reflect the author’s passion for mathematics and her admiration for the two early female mathematicians who helped pave the way for women in science. This is an enjoyable book for those who like a serving of scandal with their science.