In Wonder at the Age of Wonder

Nuggets from the Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes:

Experiments on nitrous oxide (laughing gas) were among first to use blind experimental method:
[Humphry] Davy now pioneered the ‘blind’ experimental method. He deliberately did not tell his subjects what concentration of nitrous oxide there were breathing, or whether they were in fact inhaling regular air (which sometimes they were).” p. 262

Davy recorded some his early experiments in verse: “Not in the ideal dream of wild desire / Have I beheld a rapture-waking form; / My bosom burns with no unhallowed fire …”  Ahem, I’ll have whatever he’s having.

Coleridge on Science and Poetry: 

“[Samuel Taylor Coleridge] thought that science, a human activity, ‘being necessarily performed with the passion of Hope, it was poetical’. Science, like poetry, was not merely ‘progressive’. It directed a particular kind of moral energy and imaginative longing into the future. It enshrined the implicit belief that mankind could achieve a better, happier world.” p.268