The Ascent of Science / Edition 1

The Ascent of Science / Edition 1

by Brian L. Silver
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195134273

ISBN-13: 9780195134278

Pub. Date: 04/28/2000

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

In The Ascent of Science, Silver provides a sweeping and dynamic overview of the whole of Western science, from the Renaissance to the present. In it, he translates the most profoundly important, and often impenetrably obscure, scientific developments into a vernacular that is not only accessible and illuminating but highly enjoyable as well. From the revolutionary…  See more details below

Overview

In The Ascent of Science, Silver provides a sweeping and dynamic overview of the whole of Western science, from the Renaissance to the present. In it, he translates the most profoundly important, and often impenetrably obscure, scientific developments into a vernacular that is not only accessible and illuminating but highly enjoyable as well. From the revolutionary discoveries of Galileo and Newton to the mind-bending theories of Einstein and Heisenberg; from plate tectonics to particle physics; from the origin of life to universal entropy; from biology to cosmology, Silver takes the reader on a guided tour not only of the history of science but of the very nature of scientific inquiry and its role in our society. Thus, while explaining with great clarity the scientific breakthroughs that have shaped and often shaken our world, Silver places each in a broad historical context and supplies a keen awareness of parallel developments in art, literature, music, politics and philosophy. Silver does realize that science can have disastrous consequences - that breakthroughs in nuclear physics can lead to Hiroshimas - and he insists on a more fruitful dialogue between science and ethical philosophy, an insistence that takes on greater urgency given the current advances in genetics. But he ably defends the scientific method from recent arguments that characterize science as merely one more socially constructed and fatally flawed way of knowing, or that suggest that the Age of Science is nearing its end. Throughout the book, it is science as the height of human reason, and reason as the surest guide to knowledge, that enlivens the story of our emergence from ignorance and superstition to the ability to fathom the deepest mysteries of nature.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195134278
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/28/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
552
Product dimensions:
9.70(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
Introduction
1Newton Gets It Completely Wrong3
2I Believe11
3Thomas Aquinas versus Neil Armstrong29
4The Second Law37
5Predicting Catastrophe42
6From Newton to De Sade: The Partial Triumph of Reason50
7From Rousseau to Blake: The Revolt against Reason68
8Lodestone, Amber, and Lightning81
9Belief and Action103
10The Demise of Alchemy113
11The Nineteenth Century121
12The Material Trinity: The Atom135
13The Stuff of Existence149
14Scipio's Dream169
15Making Waves183
16The Ubiquity of Motion201
17Energy209
18Entropy: Intimations of Mortality215
19Chaos233
20The Slow Birth of Biology253
21In a Monastery Garden262
22Evolution268
23The Descent of Man282
24The Gene Machine292
25The Lords of Nature?307
26Life: The Molecular Battle319
27The Origin of Life? Take Your Choice339
28The Inexplicable Quantum357
29New Ways of Thinking371
30The Land of Paradox378
31The Elementary Particles401
32Relativity417
33Cosmology442
34The Cosmos and Peeping Tom451
35The Impossibility of Creation463
36The Tree of Death479
37"What the Devil Does It All Mean?"488
38The Future509
Annotated Bibliography513
Index519

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