Advancement Of Science, And Its Burdens

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Overview

How did Albert Einstein's ideas shape the imaginations of twentieth-century artists and writers? Are there national differences between styles of scientific research? By what mechanisms is progress in science achieved despite the enormous diversity of individual, often conflicting, efforts?

These are just a few of the questions posed in The Advancement of Science, and Its Burdens. Gerald Holton, one of the century's leading historians of science, continues his analysis of how modern science works and how it influences our world, with particular emphasis on the role of the thematic elements--those often unconscious presuppositions that guide scientific work to success or failure. Many of the conclusions emerge from the author's extensive study of the contributions of Albert Einstein. Indeed, Holton's new introduction for this edition, "Einstein and the Cultural Roots of Modern Science," demonstrates that Einstein's daring main pursuit, the discovery of unity among seemingly disparate aspects of physics, was psychologically supported by a surprising ally: the high literary works in which he immersed himself, above all Goethe's. This case study alone may well be a classic example for studying the interaction of science and culture.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review

[A] deeply thought-out probing of both the scientific enterprise and its effect on the society around it.
— James Trefil

New York Times Book Review - James Trefil
[A] deeply thought-out probing of both the scientific enterprise and its effect on the society around it.
New York Times Book Review
[A] deeply thought-out probing of both the scientific enterprise and its effect on the society around it.
— James Trefil
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674005303
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 404
  • Sales rank: 1,004,430
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald Holton is Mallinckrodt Research Professor of Physics, and Research Professor of History of Science, Harvard University.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Einstein and the cultural roots of modern science
1 Thematic presuppositions and the direction of scientific advance 3
2 Einstein's model for constructing a scientific theory 28
3 Einstein's scientific program: The formative years 57
4 Einstein's search for the Weltbild 77
5 Einstein and the shaping of our imagination 105
6 Physics in America, and Einstein's decision to immigrate 123
7 "Success sanctifies the means": Heisenberg, Oppenheimer, and the transition to modern physics 141
8 Do scientists need a philosophy? 163
9 Science, technology, and the fourth discontinuity 179
10 The two maps 197
11 From the endless frontier to the ideology of limits 209
12 Metaphors in science and education 229
13 "A nation at risk" revisited 253
14 "The advancement of science, and its burdens": The Jefferson Lecture 279
Notes 305
Acknowledgments 332
Index 334
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