Steven Johnson talks about his book, The Invention of Air.
Johnson recounts the story of Joseph Priestley -- scientist and theologian, protege of Benjamin Franklin -- an 18th-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the U.S.- Book Passage
Steven Johnson is the author of The Ghost Map, Everything Bad Is Good for You, Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life, Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Cities, Software and Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate and The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America. Johnson’s book Where Good Ideas Come From was a finalist for the 800CEORead award for best business book of 2010, and was ranked as one of the year’s best books by The Economist.
He is also the founder of several influential websites, including FEED, Plastic, and, currently, outside.in. His most recent book is Where Good Ideas Come From.
Steven Johnson, author of The Invention of Air, links the rise of coffee house culture to the Age of Enlightenment because, before coffee replaced beer as the daytime drink of choice, "the entire culture basically was drunk all day long."
As a result, he says "the coffee house was a great hub of Enlightenment-era culture."
Steven Johnson, author of The Invention of Air, explains that Joseph Priestly, most famous for his discovery of oxygen, was also responsible for inventing carbonated water and freely shared his ideas in open source networks among the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
Steven Johnson, author of The Invention of Air, describes how Joseph Priestley's kitchen sink experiment provided evidence that plants manufacture oxygen, data Ben Franklin used to develop a theory that plants and humans are part of a greater ecosystem.
Steven Johnson, author of The Invention of Air, credits Joseph Priestley's religious philosophy -- a balance of science and reason that valued morals over miracles -- as inspiration for Thomas Jefferson's "remix" of the Bible.
(born March 13, 1733, Birstall Fieldhead, near Leeds, Yorkshire, Eng.died Feb. 6, 1804, Northumberland, Pa., U.S.) English theologian, political theorist, and physical scientist. He worked as a teacher and lecturer in various subjects before joining the ministry in 1767. His early scientific studies resulted in his History and Present State of Electricity (1767), which became a fundamental text in the field. His Essay on Government (1768) influenced later utilitarianism. He did important work in the field of chemical reactions and change. He is considered the discoverer of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and several other gases, and in 1774 he became the first to identify oxygen; his report led Antoine Lavoisier to repeat the experiment, deduce oxygen's nature and role, and name it. His theological works include History of the Corruptions of the Christian Church (1782), burned as sacrilegious in 1785, and A General History of the Christian Church, 6 vol. (17901802). His nonconformist religious views and his political activities, particularly in support of the French Revolution, made him increasingly controversial in England, and he immigrated to the U.S. in 1794.
Priestlys family CALVINISTS Joseph was to be a preacher philosopher. 1749 He is very sick and left him with a stutter He could not shed and therefore NO PUBLIC PREACHING. Priestly stayed in THE LAB invented things later in 1774 He creates UNITARIANISM. HA HA PRIESTLY WAS GREAT HIS HOME ATTACKED TRY TO BURN IT DOWN ^ DID.HA MOVED TO DUTCH PENN. Jefferson in the Big House 1800. Priestly was anti/mason which upset George Washington.
THANKS FORA TV
CAHILL THOMAS WROTE A GROUP HISTORY CALLED Hinges of History.
What I find very impressive from writers such as Steven Johnson or for that matter Christopher Hitchens is the fact that they are not experts in the field they write, yet demonstrate a total passion and authoritative expertise that can only be achieved by having plunged head first into an ocean of data and historical research and thousands of hours of reading in order to deliver such enlightened point of views. I am not only impressed by this but thankful to them for having done it.
This is one of my favorite FORA.tv programs so far this year. I love how Johnson is able to make history so entertaining, while also appealing to my inner geek. Who knew our nation's founders were early adopters of open source!?
Trevar Mazza Director of Media Production
Johnson's thing seems to be taking cracks at wrapping a number of big, seemingly unrelated historical, cultural, sociological, and scientific elements into much larger unifying ideas relating to human progress as a whole. Although his results are sometimes mixed, it's always interesting to watch him try. It looks like he's made a similar attempt with this book...I'll need to check it out.
But words - words are not enough! - Klaus Kinski