Galileo's Commandment: 2,500 Years of Great Science Writing

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Bolles has scoured the literature of science to build a treasury that is accessible and riveting, and therefore appealing to readers unfamiliar with science, yet erudite enough for the scientifically initiated to enjoy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An invaluable resource."-Christian Science Monito
School Library Journal
YAScience is a way of thinking as much as it is a body of knowledge. Bolles provides potent evidence of great thinking as he chronicles the cumulative process of doing science in this sampler of excellent historical and contemporary writings. This book is not so much about the current understanding of scientific principles (although there is certainly ample material included) but rather the thought and reflections of individuals who have struggled throughout human history to tease out, bit by bit, the fundamental linkages of our world and universe. It is the author's contention that "science writing can be great writing in the same sense as other genres" and this book proves his point. The selected writings include pieces by Herodotus, Galileo, Kepler, Voltaire, Piaget, Newton, and Darwin, as well as by Asimov, Gould, Sagan, and Feynman. Because of the underlining order to the sequence of selections, the book can be read all the way through as an "accessible and appealing" journey through the history of science. It can also be read randomly without losing an appreciation of the writing. Great primary-source material for students researching specific scientists.Dennis McFaden, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805073492
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 930,878
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Edmund Blair Bolles is a writer living in New York City.

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Table of Contents


Part One

The Scientific Imagination Examined

Chapter One

"Every Real Problem Can and Will Be Solved"

Isaac Asimov: Death in the Laboratory (1965)

Arthur S. Eddington: The Story of Algol (1927)

Ernst Mach: A New Sense (1897)

John B. Watson: The New Science of Animal Behavior (1909)

Chapter Two

"Language of the Sort That Would Have Attracted Gilbert and Sullivan"

Karl Popper: Heroic Science (1974)

John McPhee: Naming the Rocks (1981)

Herbert Butterfield: Chemistry Transformed (1949)

Jean Piaget: Learning to See Through Another's Jean Piaget: Learning to See Through Another's Eyes (1928)

Chapter Three

"The Actual Limits of What Is Known"

Stephen Jay Gould: The Misuse of Darwin (1981)

Noam Chomsky: The Case Against B. F. Skinner (1971)

Francis Bacon: Idols of the Tribe (1620)

Part Two

The Scientific Imagination in Action

Chapter Four

"Brought Near to That Great Fact—That Mystery of Mysteries"

Galileo Galilei: First Look Through a Telescope (1610)

Leonardo da Vinci: Seashells in the Mountains (1480-1515)

Charles Darwin: Birds of the Galapagos (1839)

George B. Schaller: Mating Seasons (1980)

p0Chapter Five

"But What Are They?"

Herodotus: The Creation of Egypt (444 B.C.)

Horace Bénédict de Saussure: The Movement of Glaciers (1796)

James Clerk Maxwell: Molecules (1873)

Robert Kennedy Duncan: Radio-Activity: A New Property of Matter (1902)

I. P. Pavlov: The Atoms of Activity (1924)

Annie J. Cannon: Classifying the Stars (1926)

Chapter Six

"The Demonstration That Cost So Much Effort"

Galileo Galilei: Where Is the Center of the Universe? (1632)

Robert Boyle: Doubting the Four Elements (1661)

Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke: Dispute on the Nature of Light (1672)

Marie Curie: Obtaining Radium (1923)

Alfred Wegener: Jigsaw Continents (1929)

Ernest Rutherford: The Transmutation of the Atom (1933)

James Watson: The Double Bases (1968)

Carl Sagan: Has the Earth Already Been Visited? (1973)

Walter Sullivan: Looking for the Drift (1974)

George Smoot: Looking for the Big Bang (1994)

Chapter Seven

"Those Who Would Judge the Book Must Read It"

Johannes Kepler: I Admit the Moon Has Seas (1610)

Voltaire: The Importance of Isaac Newton (1733)

Thomas H. Huxley: The Darwinian Hypothesis (1859)

William Bateson: Galton's Genetics (1909)

Edmund Blair Bolles: Gestalt Psychology (1991)

Bertrand Russell: What Einstein Did (1925)

J. Robert Oppenheimer: A Science in Change (1953)

Chapter Eight

"Somehow the Wave Had to Exist"

Sir James Jeans: The End of the Universe (1929)

Frederic C. Bartlett: Imagery in Though (1932)

Gordon W. Allport: The Mature Personality (1937)

Fred Hoyle: The Expanding Universe (1950)

Loren C. Eiseley: Little Men and Flying Saucers (1953)

Werner Heisenberg: Atomic Physics and Causal Law (1958)

Richard Feynman: The Distinction of Past and Future (1965)

Edward Harrison: The Golden Walls of Edgar Allan Poe (1987)

Fred Alan Wolf: Waves Without a Breeze (1986)

Heinz R. Pagels: Making the Observer Count (1982)

Paul Davies: Schrödinger's Cats and Wigner's Friends (1980)

Chapter Nine

"Every Intellect Which Strives After Generalization Must Feel the Temptation"

Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier: Preface to The Elements of Chemistry (1789)

Alfred Wallace: On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type (1859)

Hermann von Helmholtz: The Conservation of Energy (1863)

Albert Einstein: Two Theories of Relatively (1916)

Part Three

Style in the Scientific Imagination

Chapter Ten

"It Is in Some Fashion a History"

Galileo Galilei: The Speed of Falling Bodies (1638)

Lucretius: The Persistence of Atoms (60 B.C.)

J. B. S. Haldane: Food Control in Insect Societies (1928)

Julian Huxley: Animals Courting (1943)

Rachel Carson: The Long Snowfall (1951)

Louise B. Young: How Ice Changed the World (1983)

Richard Preston: Dark Time (1987)

Primo Levi: Carbon (1975)


Name Index

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