Q&A on Waterworld as NEH Public Scholar
What is the book you are writing with NEH support about? My book tells a 150-year history of how scientists have studied the waters of the globe, the oceans, glaciers and atmospheric vapor that govern our planet’s climate. It’s a journey through time and space with a motley crew of physicists, oceanographers, meteorologists and glaciologists that ranges far and wide, from the Greenland ice sheet to a mountain top in Tenerife to a patch of swirling water in the middle of the Atlantic and beyond.
Tell us the first thing you did when you learned you received an NEH Public Scholar grant. It was very early in the morning on a Saturday and was the last thing I was expecting. I ran downstairs to tell my husband, who was making coffee, and gave him a big kiss.
Read the whole interview here
In the archives with Newton’s ink
A breathless interview with Steve Paulson, of To The Best Of Our Knowledge, in the presence of Newton’s manuscripts at the Cambridge University Library.
If you really want to get a feel for Isaac Newton – perhaps history’s greatest scientist – the best way is to see his original manuscripts at Cambridge University Library. But they’re so valuable, it’s hard to get permission to look at them. They did let Steve Paulson in, but only in the company of 4 archivists, plus historian Sarah Dry.
Barometers in beautiful places
Interviewed on location in Clovelly, Devon and the British Telecom Archives, Holborn, on the history of Robert FitzRoy’s pioneering weather forecasting for “Storm Troupers: The Fight to Forecast the Weather,” a KEO North production, originally aired on BBC 4, May 23, 2016. Not yet available on BBC iplayer. Reviewed in the Guardian here.
The Strange, Secret History of Isaac Newton’s Papers – An Author Interview in Wired
WIRED: Why did you decide to trace what happened to Isaac Newton’s papers?
Sarah Dry: In the history of science there is no greater figure than Newton. He was this shining emblem of Enlightenment rationality. If you ask people to name a scientist they’re going to say Newton, Einstein, or Darwin. So he’s become an icon, both more and less than human.
But there’s always been a great mystery surrounding him. You tell people you’re working on Newton and they say, “Oh yeah, wasn’t he an alchemist?” And it makes them feel like they know something that changes our ideas about this great man. I think there’s a real draw to sort of have this cake and eat it too – to have this super rationalist saint, and also his secret obsessions.
Read the complete interview here.