So started Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds, a dramatic work by French philosopher Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle. In the best-seller, published in 1686—one year before Newton’s groundbreaking Principia—Fontenelle introduced the lay public to Cartesian philosophy and the early science of the natural world. The story features two speakers, a man and a woman, discussing the features of our solar system and the use of scientific inquiry to illuminate the laws of nature. The writing proved so popular and accessible that Fontenelle’s work went through six editions during his life and was reprinted another six times by 1825.
Not only did the book pave the way for other natural philosophers (the word “scientist” wasn’t coined until 1834), it inspired an entirely new genre of writing: popular science. And with scientific subjects suddenly in vogue, more and more European citizens were swept up by the Enlightenment, that murkily defined period in the 18th-century that ushered in a new way of thinking about and exploring the world.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.