An Introduction to the History of Science by Walter Libby, M.A., Ph.D., Professor of the History of Science in the Carnegie Institute of Technology
Copyright, 1917, by Walter Libby
Chapter 1. Science and Practical Needs--Egypt and Babylonia
Chapter 2. The Influence of Abstract Thought--Greece: Aristotle
Chapter 3. Scientific Theory Subordinated to Application--Rome: Vitruvius
Chapter 4. The Continuity of Science--The Medieval Church and the Arabs
Chapter 5. The Classification of the Sciences--Francis Bacon
Chapter 6. Scientific Method--Gilbert, Galileo, Harvey, Descartes
Chapter 7. Science as Measurement--Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Boyle
Chapter 8. Coöperation in Science--The Royal Society
Chapter 9. Science and the Struggle for Liberty--Benjamin Franklin
Chapter 10. The Interaction of the Sciences--Werner, Hutton, Black, Hall, William Smith
Chapter 11. Science and Religion--Kant, Lambert, Laplace, Sir William Herschel
Chapter 12. The Reign of Law--Dalton, Joule
Chapter 13. The Scientist--Sir Humphry Davy
Chapter 14. Scientific Prediction--The Discovery of Neptune
Chapter 15. Science and Travel--The Voyage of the Beagle
Chapter 16. Science and War--Pasteur, Lister
Chapter 17. Science and Invention--Langley’s Aeroplane
Chapter 18. Scientific Hypothesis--Radioactive Substances
Chapter 19. The Scientific Imagination
Chapter 20. Science and Democratic Culture
The history of science has something to offer to the humblest intelligence. It is a means of imparting a knowledge of scientific facts and principles to unschooled minds. At the same time it affords a simple method of school instruction. Those who understand a business or an institution best, as a contemporary writer on finance remarks, are those who have made it or grown up with it, and the next best thing is to know how it has grown up, and then watch or take part in its actual working. Generally speaking, we know best what we know in its origins.
The history of science is an aid in scientific research. It places the student in the current of scientific thought, and gives him a clue to the purpose and necessity of the theories he is required to master. It presents science as the constant pursuit of truth rather than the formulation of truth long since revealed; it shows science as progressive rather than fixed, dynamic rather than static, a growth to which each may contribute. It does not paralyze the self-activity of youth by the record of an infallible past.
It is only by teaching the sciences in their historical development that the schools can be true to the two principles of modern education, that the sciences should occupy the foremost place in the curriculum and that the individual mind in its evolution should rehearse the history of civilization.
The history of science should be given a larger place than at present in general history; for, as Bacon said, the history of the world without a history of learning is like a statue of Polyphemus with the eye out. The history of science studies the past for the sake of the future. It is a story of continuous progress. It is rich in biographical material. It shows the sciences in their interrelations, and saves the student from narrowness and premature specialization. It affords a unique approach to the study of philosophy. It gives new motive to the study of foreign languages. It gives an interest in the applications of knowledge, offers a clue to the complex civilization of the present, and renders the mind hospitable to new discoveries and inventions.