By Thomas Crump
From the gnomons and sundials of precedent days to the 26-kilometer underground particle accelerator of the twenty-first century, this interesting and enlightening quantity through mathematician and anthropologist Thomas Crump indicates how technological know-how has consistently redefined the world’s horizons, prolonged the frontiers of information, and complicated human civilization. With 16 pages of images, and shiny vignettes of scientists and their innovations, Crump publications readers via early makes an attempt to degree time and space—from astronomical charts and calendars to Arabic numerals and algebraic notation—before he examines the start of an primarily glossy know-how within the 1600s. With Galileo’s telescopic exploration of the skies at first of the 17th century and Newton’s experiments with the prism and lightweight at its finish, the optical tools basic to all medical study were invented. Crump then proceeds to electromagnets, cathode tubes, thermometers, vacuum pumps, X rays, accelerators, semiconductors, microprocessors, and tools at the moment being designed to function in subzero temperatures. right here, then, in an available, succinctly narrated quantity, is the long-lasting human quest for wisdom via expertise. the following, too, is the evidence that what's knowable is, and has continually been, way more compelling than what's identified. “[Crump] offers full of life summaries of the development in several fields, and succeeds in respiring new existence into common stories.”—The Economist “Fascinating reading.”—Publishers Weekly
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Additional info for A Brief History of Science: As Seen Through the Development of Scientific Instruments
The opposite can also be true, so that 'ox', written with two letters, also contains three phonemes. The most user-friendly orthographic system is alphabetical writing - with characters representing both vowels and consonants - which first appeared with Greek some time around the beginning of the first millennium BC. 32 It is no accident that Greek, after some 3000 years, is still written with the same letters, nor that the letters, developed for Latin from the Greek, are today used by any number of languages in a world in which Latin is no longer a spoken language.
Outside their own familiar territory, those belonging to any traditional local culture will sooner or later encounter other people, speaking incomprehensible languages and with unfamiliar customs, so it is better to stay at home and like Candide cultivate one's own garden. This was how things were for the entirety of the world's population until some 7000-odd years ago, and still are for remarkably many people in today's developing countries. What do these people then do about science, especially without any of the means for keeping the records that are indispensable to science as we know it?
Natural fires have occurred since long before the time of our first primate ancestors, and from the very first appearance of humankind the control of fire has been an essential part of existence. All human populations have had some mastery of fire: not one other species has ever shared it. ' 16 In what way, then, has humankind's mastery of fire developed in the course of time? Scientifically, there was much to learn from the fires spontaneously generated in nature. The way that new growth appeared after the original vegetation went up in flames or the reaction of local fauna were phenomena containing many lessons, including particularly the advantages of cooking.