The History of Science and Technology: A Browser's Guide to the Great Discoveries, Inventions, and the People Who MadeThem from the Dawn of Time to Today

The History of Science and Technology: A Browser's Guide to the Great Discoveries, Inventions, and the People Who MadeThem from the Dawn of Time to Today

by Bryan Bunch

ISBN-10: 0618221239

ISBN-13: 9780618221233

Pub. Date: 04/16/2004

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In this age of genetic engineering and global warming, it is more important than ever to understand the history and current trends of science and technology. With so much information out there, though, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s where The History of Science and Technology—the most comprehensive and up-to-date chronology of its


In this age of genetic engineering and global warming, it is more important than ever to understand the history and current trends of science and technology. With so much information out there, though, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s where The History of Science and Technology—the most comprehensive and up-to-date chronology of its kind—comes in. From the first stone tools to the first robot surgery, this easy-to-read, handy reference book offers more than seven thousand concise entries organized within ten major historical periods and categorized by subject, such as archaeology, biology, computers, food and agriculture, medicine and health, materials, and transportation. You can follow the world’s scientific and technological feats forward or backward, year by year, and subject by subject. Under 8400 BCE Construction, you will discover that the oldest known wall was built in Jericho. Jump to 1454 Communication and you will learn about Johann Gutenberg’s invention of movable type. Take an even larger leap to 2002 Computers and find out about the invention of the Earth Simulator, a Japanese supercomputer.

The History of Science and Technology answers all the what, when, why, and how questions about our world’s greatest discoveries and inventions: How are bridges built? When were bifocal eyeglasses invented and by whom? What medical discovery led to the introduction of sterilization, vaccines, and antibiotics? What is the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) process, and why is it one of the pillars of the biotechnology revolution? Not only can you discover how our world came to be and how it works, but with cross-referenced entries you can also trace many intricate and exciting connections across time.

Highly browsable yet richly detailed, expertly researched and indexed, The History of Science and Technology is the perfect desktop reference for both the science novice and the technologically advanced reader alike.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.56(d)

Table of Contents

Science and Technology before Scientists: through 599 BCEviii
The Stone Ages1
Knowledge among hunter-gatherers1
The Agricultural Revolution and other revolutions2
A note on dating4
Major advances4
The best rocks for tools11
Stone technologies of the Old Stone Age13
The first immigrants14
Machines that go around15
The first ceramics16
Stone technology of the Middle Stone Age and Neolithic17
New materials: tooth, bone, and horn18
The first machines19
Trade with distant peoples20
What caused the Agricultural Revolution?21
Building with brick and stone23
Irrigation and the rise of civilization24
Metals and early smelting27
City life28
Inventing and writing numbers29
The invention of the wheel31
The Iceman Otzi32
Mesopotamian mathematics33
Early sailing34
The calendar35
How did the Egyptians build the pyramids?36
Paddles and oars38
Early units of measure40
Egyptian medicine41
Santorini and Atlantis43
Science and Technology in Antiquity: 600 BCE through 529 CE50
Philosophy, a precursor to science51
The Hellenistic world and the Roman Empire52
Other cultures of the period52
Major advances53
The first great explorers57
The first known date58
Mathematics and mysticism59
The elements61
Early atomists63
Three classic problems64
Cast iron in China68
Inventions of Archimedes71
Salt and the fall of civilization73
Domes, beams, columns, arches, trusses74
Maps of the world78
Why was the steam engine not used in Antiquity?80
The great eruption of Vesuvius82
The Almagest86
Medieval Science and Technology: 530 through 145292
The decline of science in Europe93
Science in China93
Science and mathematics in India94
Arab science94
The revival of science in Europe95
The technology revolution of the Middle ages96
Major advances97
Telling time103
Alchemy from start to finish105
Early surgery109
The other Omar Khayyam113
Water for power114
Wind power117
Perpetual motion: an old dream119
Water for control122
Impetus and inertia132
Early mechanical clocks133
Movable type138
The Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution: 1453 through 1659140
The Renaissance141
The Scientific Revolution142
Major advances143
The mystery of Leonardo da Vinci149
Inventing signs154
Fossils: organisms turned to rock155
Old and New World plants meet157
The pepper plant's story159
1543: A great year in publishing160
Gunpowder and guns in East and West161
A great scoundrel162
The immutability of the heavens166
Replacing Aristotle's physics169
Galileo and measurement171
Pendulum myths174
Galileo and his telescope177
Saturn's rings178
Francis Bacon and the scientific method181
Circulation of the blood184
The Church and astronomy185
The first vacuums on Earth188
The advent of electricity190
Scientific Method: Measurement and Communication: 1660 through 1734194
European domination195
The scientific method195
Science becomes a shared activity196
Major advances196
The first statistician199
Mad Madge, the scientist203
Velocity of light208
Progress in keeping time209
The nature of light210
Newton's Principia213
Recognizing the power of steam215
The canal age216
The Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution: 1735 through 1819230
Philosophy and science231
The romantic reaction232
The Industrial Revolution232
The Encyclopedie232
Rise of the engineer233
Major advances233
Cast iron in England238
Introducing Newton to the French240
Verifying Newton's theory of gravitation245
The French describe technology247
The taming of the longitude252
The Lunar Society255
The atmospheric steam engine257
The transit of Venus259
Steam engines power machines266
When was the Industrial Revolution?270
Neptunism v. Plutonism276
Boulton & Watt278
A continuing search for fiber281
An American genius285
Machine tools296
Railroads, trains, and locomotives298
Science and Technology in the 19th Century: 1820 through 1894308
Science becomes professional309
National differences309
The philosophical basis of 19th-century science310
Science and the public311
Science and technology311
Major advances311
Electricity and magnetism320
The nature of heat325
Understanding fossils326
Non-Euclidean geometry331
Galois and group theory337
United States railroads341
Intellectual and technological property342
The telegraph353
Predicting the planets357
Nitrogen: A matter of life and death358
The Crystal Palace366
The value of [pi]370
The cell theory372
Color and chemistry374
The theory of evolution377
A chemist revolutionizes medicine385
Field theories387
Organic chemistry389
Perpetual motion: a 19th century obsession392
America's greatest inventor395
The periodic table399
The Bell telephone404
The germ theory of disease406
Lights and lighting410
The feminine brain (a 19th century view)419
Does the ether exist?424
The skyscraper427
The perfect machine: the turbine429
The development of radio436
Rise of Modern Science and Technology: 1895 through 1945438
The growth of 20th-century science439
New philosophies439
Quantum reality440
Energy wherever needed440
Electricity: a revolution in technology441
Science and technology441
Major advances442
Invisible radiation452
Atoms have parts455
The discovery of genes459
The age of Earth473
The size of the universe494
The quantum497
Antibiotics: "Magic bullets" against disease505
The limits of mathematics512
The Hale telescope at Mt. Palomar516
Early digital computers522
The mathematics of Nicolas Bourbaki527
Creating elements529
The Manhattan project533
The first working computers535
Scientists and defense538
Big Science and the Post-Industrial Society: 1946 through 1972540
The cold war and new technology541
Big science542
Specialization and changing categories542
Technology changes society542
Major advances543
From tubes to chips554
The force of the vacuum560
Discovering DNA569
Nuclear power573
Stopping an epidemic575
Higher computer languages577
God is left-handed581
The space race583
The chip592
Seeing the whole sky594
Ecology and sociobiology602
Plate tectonics611
Unifying the forces612
Exploring the planets619
Scanning the body621
The Information Age: 1973 through 2003624
Information and society625
The post-industrial society626
Science questioned627
Problems of the Information Age628
Major Advances628
Genetic engineering641
Strings to branes643
Monoclonal antibodies645
The first successful home computer649
The return of catastrophism656
The space shuttle659
Humans learn to copy DNA662
Missing mass667
High-temperature superconductors672
Communicating with light677
Alternative energy sources680
Measuring with waves, seeing with fringes695
Spin--not just for politicians697
Time shifting701
Dark energy702
Neutrino mass703
The Human Genome Project709
Further reading720
Illustration credits776

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