Cosmology on the American Frontier : Orson Pratt's Key to the Universe
Examines an unusual book, Salt Lake City, 1879, by Orson Pratt (1811-81), one of the original apostles of the Mormon Church. With no formal training beyond grammar school, Pratt undertook to explain a wide range of celestial and terrestrial phenomena by blending Newtonian physics with his own mathematical theories. It is shown that the results of some of his explanations are theoretically unsound, yet others show an imaginative foresight of relativistic physics. Pratt's importance as the first Mormon scientist is stressed as is his influence on shaping Mormon theology.