A Cultural History of Physics

A Cultural History of Physics

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by Karoly Simonyi
     
 

While the physical sciences are a continuously evolving source of technology and of understanding about our world, they have become so specialized and rely on so much prerequisite knowledge that for many people today the divide between the sciences and the humanities seems even greater than it was when C. P. Snow delivered his famous 1959 lecture, "The Two Cultures

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Overview

While the physical sciences are a continuously evolving source of technology and of understanding about our world, they have become so specialized and rely on so much prerequisite knowledge that for many people today the divide between the sciences and the humanities seems even greater than it was when C. P. Snow delivered his famous 1959 lecture, "The Two Cultures."

In A Cultural History of Physics, Hungarian scientist and educator Károly Simonyi succeeds in bridging this chasm by describing the experimental methods and theoretical interpretations that created scientific knowledge, from ancient times to the present day, within the cultural environment in which it was formed. Unlike any other work of its kind, Simonyi’s seminal opus explores the interplay of science and the humanities to convey the wonder and excitement of scientific development throughout the ages.

These pages contain an abundance of excerpts from original resources, a wide array of clear and straightforward explanations, and an astonishing wealth of insight, revealing the historical progress of science and inviting readers into a dialogue with the great scientific minds that shaped our current understanding of physics.

Beautifully illustrated, accurate in its scientific content and broad in its historical and cultural perspective, this book will be a valuable reference for scholars and an inspiration to aspiring scientists and humanists who believe that science is an integral part of our culture.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568813295
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
03/01/2012
Pages:
636
Sales rank:
878,886
Product dimensions:
10.36(w) x 11.02(h) x 1.28(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
The History of Physics and Its Relevance to Our Lives Today
Assessment and Division into Epochs
Elements of the Philosophy of Science
The Dynamism of History

The Classical Heritage
The Greek Inheritance
The Harmonious, Beautiful Order
Matter and Motion: The Aristotelian Synthesis
The Greatest Achievements of the Ancient Sciences
The Twilight of Hellenism

The Stewards of the Heritage
The Thousand-Year Balance Sheet
The Salvage of Ancient Knowledge
The Indian and Arab Worlds
The West Awakens
Medieval Natural Philosophy
The Renaissance and Physics

Demolition and the Construction of a New Foundation
The World in 1600
Numerology and Reality
Galileo and Those Who Stood in His Shadow
The New Philosophy: Doubt Becomes Method
Light, Vacuum, and Matter through the Middle of the Seventeenth Century
After Descartes and before Newton: Huygens
Newton and the Principia: The Newtonian Worldview

The Completion of Classical Physics
Starting Capital for the Eighteenth Century
Worthy Successors: d’Alembert, Euler, and Lagrange
The Century of Light
From Effluvium to the Electromagnetic Field
Heat and Energy
The Structure of Matter and Electricity: The Classical Atom

The Physics of the Twentieth Century
"Clouds on the Horizon of Nineteenth-Century Physics"
The Theory of Relativity
Quantum Theory
Nuclear Structure, Nuclear Energy
Law and Symmetry
Mankind and the Universe

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