Read advance reader review of The Philosophical Breakfast Club by Laura J. Snyder, page 3 of 5

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

The Philosophical Breakfast Club

Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World

by Laura J. Snyder

The Philosophical Breakfast Club by Laura J. Snyder X
The Philosophical Breakfast Club by Laura J. Snyder
Buy This Book

About this book


Page 3 of 5
There are currently 35 member reviews
for The Philosophical Breakfast Club
Order Reviews by:
  • Rebecca C. (Opelika, AL)
    Interesting history both in time and place
    I had so much fun reading this book. I am not a history buff usually, but this book describes both a time and place that I had little knowledge of. So, I really enjoyed learning about the 4 friends, their lives and loves, and the different parts of society they changed and cared about. Even if you are not in to history, this is one to pick up. The writing is detailed and intense and the subject extremely interesting.
  • Gwendolyn D. (Houston, TX)
    An engaging history of modern science
    The Philosophical Breakfast Club is a comprehensive history of the beginnings of modern science told from the alternating perspectives of four Cambridge students. In the early 1800s, William Whewell, Charles Babbage, John Herschel, and Richard Jones met at Cambridge and instituted regular discussions over breakfast where they committed to work for scientific progress and the greater public recognition of scientists. During the momentous lifetimes of these four men, a man of science went from “a country parson collecting beetles in his spare hours” to “a member of a professional class … pursuing a common activity within a certain institutional framework ….”

    The Philosophical Breakfast Club covers, in great detail, Babbage’s invention of the first computer, Herschel’s book introducing Francis Bacon’s scientific method to the general public, Whewell’s universal theory of tides, Jones’s economic theories, and many other important scientific breakthroughs. The chapter describing Herschel’s 4-year stint in the Cape Colony of southern Africa mapping the stars of the southern hemisphere is a particularly nice set piece. A’s clear, simple prose brings complex topics within reach of a lay audience, but the book occasionally gives more detail than the non-scientific reader will have patience for. Overall, The Philosophical Breakfast Club is an engaging and accessible history of modern science.
  • Doris K. (Angora, MN)
    The Philosophical Breakfast Club
    You don't have to be a philosopher or a scientist to enjoy this book. The author gives insight in the lives of four men who were lifelong friends. These men made great strides in the field of science in the 19th century. Thanks to them we have computers,cameras, knowledge of tides, the science of economics and countless other discoveries. Included are details of their personal lives which make the book "readable" to the ordinary reader. This book follows the BookBrowse's goal of entertaining as well as informing the reader.
  • Daniel A. (Naugatuck, CT)
    The Philosophical Breakfast Club
    After reading this book, I find myself wanting to know more about these four scientists and their experiments. Although the book was written similarly to a textbook, it is loaded with facts, even though the writing is a little bit on the tedious side.
    I highly recommend this book to whomever wants to read about these four scientists who changed how we look at modern science today. The experiments they performed were fascinating, and the meetings at the Breakfast Club were interesting.
  • Chet Y. (Las Vegas, NV)
    Who are these guys?
    "The Philosophical Breakfast Club" memorialises how young "science" is in the history of humankind.

    Ms. Snyder's scholarly research colloquially recounts the broad expansion of science in the early 19th century with a personal history of 4 men, Whewell, Herschal, Babbage, and Jones and their refinement and redirection of science. These 4 men literally and figuratively defined the word "scientist"; i.e., a pursuer of accurate facts that can be synthesized into a theory that is reproducible when the same facts are in evidence.

    A good read for anyone interested in the history of science.
  • Priscilla M. (Houston, TX)
    Renassaince Men of Science
    I have always been fascinated by men like Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson because their interest in the world around them knew no bounds. They were scholars, writers, inventors, and artists. Early in the 1800s, four such men met while at Cambridge and formed a friendship that was to change the definition of the pursuit of science. Charles Babbage, John Herschel, Richard Jones, and William Whewell formed the Philosophical Breakfast Club based on their shared admiration of Francis Bacon and his writings on inductive reasoning and on his belief that "knowledge is power." Prior to this time, science was not practiced with other scientists. It was a solitary pursuit with little recognition or rewards. There was no agreed upon scientific method, and science was not thought of as something that could be used to improve the lives of ordinary people.

    The term "scientist" was actually coined by Whewell. Up until his use of the word, anyone who pursued a scientific interest was known as a man of science or natural philosopher. Men of science experimented in a wide variety of disciplines, including art, poetry, theology, and photography.

    Babbage, Herschel, Jones, and Hewell devoted their lives to transforming science and scientists. The author has presented a fascinating look at four giants of their time whose varied interests enabled them to map the stars, seas and land.
  • Vicky S. (Torrance, CA)
    Interesting HIstory of Science
    I found this book to be hard going. It wasn't difficult to understand but rather dense. I did enjoy the mixture of personal information about the men as well as the scientific history. I don't agree that the book would appeal to a wide variety of readers. I could see my dad, a retired aerospace engineer, appreciating this book and finding numerous sections on which to comment and discuss.

More Information


Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: After the Miracle
    After the Miracle
    by Max Wallace
    Many people have heard one particular story about Helen Keller—how the saintly teacher, Annie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Lost Wife
    The Lost Wife
    by Susanna Moore
    The Lost Wife is a hard-hitting novella based in part on a white settler named Sarah Wakefield's ...
  • Book Jacket
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Voted 2021 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Angeline Boulley's young adult ...
  • Book Jacket: Hello Beautiful
    Hello Beautiful
    by Ann Napolitano
    Ann Napolitano's much-anticipated Hello Beautiful pulls the reader into a warm, loving familial ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The First Conspiracy
by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch
A remarkable and previously untold piece of American history—the secret plot to kill George Washington

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Pieces of Blue
    by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    A hilarious and heartfelt novel for fans of Maria Semple and Emma Straub.

Win This Book
Win Girlfriend on Mars

30 Copies to Give Away!

A funny and poignant debut novel that skewers billionaire-funded space travel in a love story of interplanetary proportions.



Solve this clue:

S I F A R Day

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.