My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Philosophical Breakfast Club is a very good history of science book. It is a story about 4 men, William Whewell, John Hershel, Richard Jones, and Charles Babbage, who strived to take science from a field that was merely poked about in to a real professional endeavour. This book outlines their efforts and the culture of the world they lived in, as well as the the scientific accomplishments of the day.
While this is a history book, and it’s topic is science, it is not dull or boring. If you’re making coffee while reading this book, it is because you want to keep reading long after the sun has set and risen again. Yes, it took me a long time to read this book, but it was because I wanted to read every single word.
All in all, this has a very good account of Whewell, Hershel, and Babbage. Jones seems to be rather unimportant to the general scheme of thing since he is only focused on in a noticeably smaller quantity. This is also a great resource for learning about the culture of the Victorian Era that surrounds and influences the birth of science as a field.
While reading this book, I was struck by the fact that science has changed a lot over the life of humans in general. Near the end of the book the author notes that none of the members of the Philosophical Breakfast Club wanted there to be a separation of science and humanities that is present today. This shows that while these great men in the past have made great strides to increase the knowledge and presence of science and scientific thinking in the world, but there is still much to be done.