JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 912
I was tooling looking for vision quotes and came upon this by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (an unusual stomping ground for me) from The Friend (published in 1828):
"The dwarf sees farther than the giant, when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on."
This made me think of the over-quoted sentiment quoted again by Isaac Newton
"What Descartes did was a good step. You have added much several ways, and especially in taking the colours of thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."
so back to the “shoulders” letter. This always struck me as a bit too
melodramatic for a
this semi-ubiquitous scientific laudatory quote is perhaps not quite so. Kinda like the very well known painting by
William Blake featuring
It seems to me that if one looked at the “shoulder” quote and the Blake artwork as works that were insults and not praises, they can be easily seen that way. Its all a matter of perspective.
1. The 28-year old Hooke published the results in a gorgeous and revolutionary book, Micrographia (a lovely e-text edition appears at Gutenberg, here) in 1665, which became an instant best seller and highly praised and valued. (Samuel Pepys, perhaps among the shiniest stars whose imprimatur was like a royal blessing, said the book (was) "the most ingenious book that I ever read in my life.") There is no telling what the people of the mid-17th century thought of seeing such incredible discoveries in the little semi-invisible stuff that made up their normal, daily lives. The only thing that somewhat equates to this would be if the first images of the Hubble were those of Earth-bound objects whose detail had previously been unknown. Hooke’s observations and drawings of things like the common flea were just an astonishment—that such a creature of “low order” could have such intricate detail and design was a complete revelation. The drawings of the fly's eye, too, was an inescapable wonder, an incredible object to consider as having any detail pre-microscope, and then revealed to have unimaginable design and elegance.