Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction / Edition 1

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Overview

In modern industrial society, the tie between science and technology seems clear, even inevitable. But historically, as James E. McClellan III and Harold Dorn remind us, the connection has been far less apparent. For much of human history, technology depended more on the innovation of skilled artisans than it did on the speculation of scientists. Technology as "applied science, " the authors argue, emerged relatively recently, as industry and governments began funding scientific research that would lead directly to new or improved technologies. In Science and Technology in World History, McClellan and Dorn offer an introduction to this changing relationship.

McClellan and Dorn review the historical record beginning with the thinking and tool making of prehistoric humans. Neolithic people, for example, developed metallurgy of a sort, using naturally occurring raw copper, and kept systematic records of the moon's phases. Neolithic craftsmen possessed practical knowledge of the behavior of clay, fire, and other elements of their environment, but though they may have had explanations for the phenomena of their crafts, they toiled without any systematic science of materials or the self-conscious application of theory to practice.

McClellan and Dorn identify two great scientific traditions: the useful sciences, patronized by the state from the dawn of civilization, and scientific theorizing, initiated by the ancient Greeks. Theirs is a survey of the historical twists and turns of these traditions, leading to the science of our own day.

Without neglecting important figures of Western science such as Newton and Einstein, the authors demonstrate the great achievements of non-Westerncultures. They remind us that scientific traditions took root in China, India, and Central and South America, as well as in a series of Near Eastern empires, during late antiquity and the Middle Ages, including the vast region that formed the Islamic conquest. From this comparative perspective, the authors explore the emergence of Europe as a scientific and technological power. Continuing their narrative through the Manhattan Project, NASA, and modern medical research, the authors weave the converging histories of science and technology into an integrated, perceptive, and highly readable narrative.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Responding to their experience teaching at Stevens Institute of Technology, McClellan and Dorn introduce undergraduates and lay readers to the history of science and technology. Their treatment starts with the first use of tools and treads through agriculture, the classical world, a brief tour of everywhere but Europe, the middle ages, and the industrial revolution to the modern world. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d'histoire

If I could attach bells and whistles and flashing lights to this review I would do so because McClellan and Dorn's book deserves to be brought to the attention of all professional historians—and indeed the general reading public—by any means necessary.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801858697
  • Publisher: Hopkins Fulfillment Services
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: Johns Hopkins Studies in the History Of
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 404
  • Product dimensions: 6.93 (w) x 9.88 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

James E. McClellan III is a professor of the history of science at Stevens Institute of Technology. Harold Dorn (1928–2011) was professor emeritus of the history of science and technology at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction : the guiding themes 1
Pt. I From ape to Alexander 3
Ch. 1 Humankind emerges : tools and toolmakers 5
Ch. 2 The reign of the farmer 17
Ch. 3 Pharaohs and engineers 31
Ch. 4 Greeks bearing gifts 55
Ch. 5 Alexandria and after 79
Pt. II Thinking and doing among the world's peoples 97
Ch. 6 The enduring East 99
Ch. 7 The middle kingdom 117
Ch. 8 Indus, Ganges, and beyond 141
Ch. 9 The new world 155
Pt. III Europe and the solar system 175
Ch. 10 Plows, stirrups, guns, and plagues 177
Ch. 11 Copernicus incites a revolution 203
Ch. 12 The crime and punishment of Galileo Galilei 223
Ch. 13 "God said, 'let Newton be!'" 249
Pt. IV Science and industrial civilization 275
Ch. 14 Timber, coal, cloth, and steam 279
Ch. 15 Legacies of revolution 295
Ch. 16 Life itself 323
Ch. 17 Toolmakers take command 339
Ch. 18 The new Aristotelians 365
Ch. 19 The bomb and the genome 391
Ch. 20 Under today's pharaohs 415
Conclusion : the medium of history 437
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