Author(s): Laura J. Snyder
"See for yourself!" was the clarion call of the 1600's. Natural philosophers threw off the yoke of ancient authority, peered at nature with microscopes and telescopes, and ignited the Scientific Revolution. Artists investigated nature with lenses and created paintings filled with realistic effects of light and shadow. The hub of this optical innovation was the small Dutch city of Delft. Here Johannes Vermeer's experiments with lenses and a camera obscura taught him how we see under different conditions of light and helped him create the most luminous works of art ever beheld. Meanwhile, his neighbor Antoni van Leeuwenhoek's work with microscopes revealed a previously unimagined realm of minuscule creatures. The results was a transformation in both art and science the revolutionized how we see the world today.
'Laura Snyder is a master storyteller. A fabulous book' Oliver Sacks. 'This is much more than a group biography - it is a portrait of an age of insatiable intellectual curiosity ... The great pleasure of the book is how Snyder makes the science clear to the layman' Daily Mail. 'Engaging and richly detailed interdisciplinary history' Wall Street Journal. 'One of those engaging books that make you smarter without making you suffer ... This poetic, inclusive approach to popular science writing makes Eye of the Beholder an unfailing pleasure to read' The Daily Beast. 'So suffused with excitement it feels like a thriller ... Snyder has her own way of seeing into history. She looks back into its murky waters and makes lost connections visible' The Herald. 'Snyder beautifully evokes the ambience of late 17th-century Delft ... She is revelatory about Vermeer's aims and methods' Philip Ball, Nature. 'Irresistible ... Spectacular ... [Snyder] ingeniously explores the minutiae of her subjects' lives to reveal sweeping changes in how their world was understood - ones that still resonate today' New Scientist. 'Snyder has a natural wit that emerges with the narrative' Catholic Herald.
Fulbright scholar Laura J. Snyder is the author of The Philosophical Breakfast Club, a Scientific American Notable Book, winner of the 2011 Royal Institution of Australia poll for Favorite Science Book, and an official selection of the TED Book Club. She is also the author of Reforming Philosophy. Snyder writes about science and ideas for the Wall Street Journal. She is a professor at St. John's University and lives in New York City.