"This book is a non-fiction biography of Athanasius Kircher, a 17th-century Jesuit, scientist and polymath. He was one of the modern world's first scientific celebrities. His interests ranged from hieroglyphics to China to astrology to geology. He was one of the first scientists to formulate theories based on observation. In 1638, he was lowered into the smoking crater of Mount Vesuvius to observe how volcanoes worked. He published his findings 30 years later."-- Provided by publisher.