Okay, I see where this is now. I went looking after Jules tipped me off on another thread. I did not realize this was the same author I am now reading.
The Age of Wonder is really great. The NY Times gave it a great review and stated with this book he had essentially framed and named a unique era in science history. It caught my attention because of the great review and it is about the late 18th-early 19th century in science. A writer with the knack for great readable non-fiction is hard to find, and it sounds like he had it over many books.
Something from this book:
"Romanticism as a cultural force is generally regarded as intensely hostile to science, its ideal of subjectivity eternally opposed to that of scientific objectivity. But I do not believe this was always the case, or that the terms are so mutually exclusive. The notion of wonder seems to be something that once united them, and can still do so."