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The Atmosphere of Heaven
The Unnatural Experiments of Dr. Beddoes and His Sons of Genius
Rating :
Author(s) :
Mike Jay
Pages :
Pub Date :
Edition(s) at Erowid :
2009(hb,1st ed,fine/fine,s)
Publisher :
Yale University Press
At the Penumatic Institution in Bristol, founded in the closing years of the eighteenth century, dramatic experiments with gases precipitated a revolution not only in scientific medicine but also in the modern mind. Propelled by the energy of maverick doctor Thomas Beddoes, the Institution was both laboratory and hospital - the first example of a medical research institution. But when its researchers discovered the mind-altering properties of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, their experiments devolved into a pioneering exploration of consciousness, with far-reaching and unforseen effects.

"Enthralling. This is exactly the kind of cross-cultural biography we need. Lively and sympathetic, it restores the renegade Dr. Thomas Beddoes to his rightful place in scientific history, but also to his revolutionary circle of literary friends."
-- Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder

"The pursuit of science in the evolution of culture does not get much more hair-raising than this. Mike Jay's The Atmosphere of Heaven is history written as it should be."
-- George Rousseau, Oxford University, author, with Roy Porter, of Gout: The Patrician Malady

"This wonderfully sympathetic account is written vividly and with narrative flair. Bringing together medicine, chemistry, and politics, The Atmosphere of Heaven is a compelling read."
-- Trevor Levere, University of Toronto