GUNPOWDER AND GEOMETRY
The Life of Charles Hutton:
 Pit Boy, Mathematician and Scientific Rebel

BENJAMIN WARDHAUGH
320pp 2019 LIST PRICE: £14.99 (P) B959

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Description
Three hundred feet underground, on the bank of the Tyne, young Charles Hutton is at the coalface. Cramped, dust-choked, wielding a five-pound pick by candlelight. Eighteen years old, he’s been down the pits on and off for more than a decade, and now it looks like a life sentence. Twenty years later found him in Slaughter’s coffee house in Georgian London, eating oysters with the President of the Royal Society. By the time he died, in 1823, he was a renowned professor of mathematics and fellow of scientific academies in four countries, remembered for his discoveries about the force of gunpowder and the density of the earth. Hard work, talent and a share of luck had taken Hutton from the pit to international fame.