Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way

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Overview

Readers will travel back in time to ancient Babylonia, Egypt, and Greece. They will meet the world's first astronomers, mathematicians, and physicists and explore the lives and ideas of such famous people as Pythagoras, Archimedes, Brahmagupta, al-Khwarizmi, Fibonacci, Ptolemy, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. Hakim will introduce them to Aristotle—one of the greatest philosophers of all time—whose scientific ideas dominated much of the world for eighteen centuries.

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Overview

Readers will travel back in time to ancient Babylonia, Egypt, and Greece. They will meet the world's first astronomers, mathematicians, and physicists and explore the lives and ideas of such famous people as Pythagoras, Archimedes, Brahmagupta, al-Khwarizmi, Fibonacci, Ptolemy, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. Hakim will introduce them to Aristotle—one of the greatest philosophers of all time—whose scientific ideas dominated much of the world for eighteen centuries.

In the three-book The Story of Science series, master storyteller Joy Hakim narrates the evolution of scientific thought from ancient times to the present. With lively, character-driven narrative, Hakim spotlights the achievements of some of the world's greatest scientists and encourages a similiar spirit of inquiry in readers. The books include hundreds of color photographs, charts, maps, and diagrams; informative sidebars; suggestions for further reading; and excerpts from the writings of great scientists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“As a good—even great—teacher, Hakim knows exactly where students might stumble and is always there, making sure they don't.”—Diana Lutz, Natural History

“Hakim has interwoven creation myths, history, physics, and mathematics to present a seamless, multifaceted view of the foundation of modern science. . . . At its essence, the book displays the most appealing aspect of science and mathematics: that advances result from a practical need solved by curious minds.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“[W]hen master storyteller Joy Hakim wields her pen, take heart: you're in for a breathtaking adventure.”—American Educator

“If Leonardo da Vinci had studied school science, he would have been fascinated with The Story of Science.”—Juliana Texley, lead reviewer for National Science Teacher Association Recommends

VOYA
In the first of a projected six-book series, Hakim traces the evolution of astronomy, math, and physics from Ancient Sumer to the Renaissance. Setting science into historical, cultural, and biographical context, Hakim explains not only how science evolved, but why theories evolved when and where they did. A cornucopia of sidebars, color photos, and color-coded annotations offer ways to link concepts to contemporary and modern culture as well as to other fields of knowledge. Although the book focuses on Western developments, Hakim ties in other cultures when they affect the evolution of scientific theories. This book is beautiful. Hakim's catholic selection of colorful pictures, fascinating features, and intriguing quotes demonstrates not only a true relish of the subject but also a desire to build comprehension through connection. The flawless writing is warmly conversational and never condescending, offering simple explanations laced with humor-"It was hard arguing with Aristotle (especially now that he was dead)." Only minor reservations preclude a 5Q. Like an over-weighted charm bracelet, the annotations and sidebars sometimes overwhelm the text, and distractible readers can lose the chain of narrative. In addition, the book is less browsable than it first appears, as readers need the text to understand the pictures and sidebars. Although Hakim presents the art world's use of the "golden ratio" as fact, some scholars dispute the theory as does Mario Livio in his The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing Number (Broadway, 2003). Despite these reservations, however, there is a wealth of absorbing information here-enough to turn science enthusiasts and reportwriters alike into modern Renaissance men-and women. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Smithsonian Books, 282p.; Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Further Reading. Chronology. Appendix., Ages 11 to 15.
—Rebecca C. Moore
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-In this first book in a projected series of six, Hakim has interwoven creation myths, history, physics, and mathematics to present a seamless, multifaceted view of the foundation of modern science. The acknowledgments page reads like a Who's Who of the academic physics world, thanking the many researchers and experts who provided fact checking and advice. The entire volume is beautifully organized and the multidisciplinary approach to science is immediately apparent from the table of contents. Chapter headings contain subheadings prefaced by an image that indicates the focus of the chapter-science, math, language arts, technology and engineering, geography, or philosophy. Full-color photos and illustrations appear throughout; quotes and sidebars offer related information. The text never suffers from oversimplification and the writing holds its own with the many compelling visuals. Only a slight amount of fictionalization is evident with the author occasionally suggesting the possible thoughts of ancient groups pondering the mysteries of the universe. At its essence, the book displays the most appealing aspect of science and mathematics: that advances result from a practical need solved by curious minds.-Courtney Lewis, Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School, Kingston, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588341600
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Series: Smithsonian's Story of Science Series , #1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 160,029
  • Age range: 12 - 15 Years
  • Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.38 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Author of the prize-winning series A History of US, Joy Hakim is the recipient of the James Michener Award in Writing and the Gold and Silver Parents' Choice Awards in Writing.

Biography

Don't know much about history? That's where Joy Hakim comes in. Dedicated to the ambitious cause of making learning about our country's past actually seem like fun, Hakim has helped readers of all ages get hip to history. Her award-winning ten-volume series A History of U.S. is considered nothing less than a revolution in education circles, and historians and celebrities alike endorse Hakim's mission.

Armed with a bachelor's degree in government from Smith and a master's from Goucher College, Hakim started out as a teacher, and later worked as a newspaper writer and editor. Realizing that the rather dry text and lifeless prose of some history books she was using to teach with made her students less than enthusiastic learners -- and believing that U.S. history should be as fun to read as fiction -- Hakim began to develop the A History of U.S. series of American history lessons. It took Hakim seven years to finish the series -- which owes much of its kid-friendly appeal to the author's practice of using children as her editors.

A History of U.S. was a hit with students and critics alike, winning the James A. Michener Prize for Writing in 1997. In addition, esteemed historians have endorsed Hakim's teachings with as much enthusiasm as she brings to her subject. John Adams author David McCullough describes her lively and effective approach: "Never dull, never the least plodding, [Hakim] brings refreshing spirit and common sense to the telling of every episode."

In 2002's Freedom: A History of U.S., Hakim examines the theme of freedom and what it means to America -- from the actions of our founding fathers to the watershed events of the Civil Rights movement, through the challenges we face in the wake of the September 11 attacks. A 16-part PBS companion special features a star-studded roster of hosts from Today anchor Katie Couric to Hollywood power couple Christopher and Dana Reeve. The Reeves, on why they chose to participate in the event, write on the book's jacket: "Freedom offers us the opportunity to examine the road we have traveled, to better understand why we have fought so hard to keep the idea of freedom at the core of what we believe."

According to Hakim, it's all about the story. On her publisher's Web site, she sums up her signature approach: "Finding the story in a subject is to discover its essence. If we can teach our students to pattern the world into stories, we can turn them into powerful, analytical thinkers."

Good To Know

Hakim is the only author to receive an award from the National Council for Social Studies for writing textbooks.

When she's not writing and researching at her Virginia home, she spends time sharing stories with her grandchildren in Colorado.

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    1. Hometown:
      Virginia
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Government, Smith College; M.A., Goucher College

Table of Contents

A Writer's Reasons vi
There's More to This Story viii
1 Birthing a Universe 1
2 Telling It Like They Thought It Was: Myths of Creation 9
3 Making Days: Were the Calendar Makers Lunatics or Just Moonstruck? 20
Why Does the Moon Dazzle, Then Disappear? 26
Take a Number, Then Write It Down 32
4 Ionia? What's Ionia? 34
Measuring with the Mind 42
5 The "A" Team 44
More on Numerals, Geometry, and Math's Origins 50
6 Elementary Matters: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, Says Empedocles 54
7 Being at Sea 58
Why Do Polestars Take Turns? 62
8 Worshiping Numbers 64
Chewing on Pi-or Tasting One of Math's Mysteries 70
9 Pythagoras Knows It's Round 72
There's Gold in Those Irrationals 82
10 Getting Atom 86
Ode to an Atom 92
11 Aristotle and His Teacher 94
Plato, Math, and Perfect Numbers 98
12 Does It Change? No Way, Says A 106
Why Mars Is a Little Loopy 112
13 Aristarchus Got It Right-Well, Almost! 114
How Far the Moon? It's About Time 118
14 Alexander's City 120
Smoke and Mirrors 126
15 What's a Hero? 129
Hero, an Airhead? 134
16 Euclid in His Elements 136
Numbers: In Their Prime 143
17 Archimedes' Claw 146
Is It a Claw or a Flaw? 158
18 Measuring the Earth 160
How Did Eratosthenes Come So Close? 164
19 Rome Rules 166
20 Longitude and Latitude plus Two Greek Mapmakers 174
What's the Point? 181
21 The Greatest 184
22 A Saint Who Was No Scientist 190
Do You Believe the Polyhistor? Well, Lots of People Did 198
23 No Joke-the Earth Is Pancake Flat! 200
24 Don't Worry-the Round Earth Is Back! 206
25 Absolute Zero 218
Mr. Fibonacci's Numbers 226
26 An "Ox" Who Bellowed 228
Roger Bacon Predicts 236
27 Books Will Do It 238
28 The Antipodes: Discovering Down Under 248
29 Cosmic Voyagers: Is It Fiction, or Could It Be True? 258
30 Finally! How Science Works 266
The Prime Number Sieve of Eratosthenes 270
Suggested Reading 271
NSTA Recommends 272
Picture Credits 274
Permissions 276
Index 277
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Very readable

    My 11 year old ended up reading this book, and volume 2, cover to cover -- this speaks not only to his interest in science, but to the readability of the text.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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