Hundreds, even thousands, of books have been written about Thomas Jefferson's many accomplishments as statesman, leader of men, country farmer, inventor, lawyer, architect and philosopher. But until now, no author has focused on the important role of science in Jefferson's public and private life. In this remarkable new book, Keith Thomson reintroduces us to Jefferson's eighteenth-century world and reveals for the first time how Jefferson used science, thought about it, contributed to it, and became the leading scientific intellectual of his time. With a storyteller's gift, Thomson shows us a new side of Jefferson. He answers an intriguing series of questions: How was Jefferson's view of the sciences reflected in his political philosophy and his vision of America's future? How did science intersect with his religion? Did he make any original contributions to scientific knowledge? And he illuminates the particulars of Jefferson's scientific endeavours.
Thomson discusses which of Jefferson's theories have withstood the test of time, his interest in the practical applications of science to societal problems, his leadership in the use of scientific methods in agriculture, and how he helped to launch at least four sciences in America: geography, paleontology, climatology and scientific archaeology. A collection of marvellous illustrations, including some of Jefferson's own sketches and inventions, completes this impressively researched book.
Keith Thomson is executive officer at the American Philosophical Society and professor emeritus of natural history at the University of Oxford.
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- ID: 9780300205930
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