Why Science?: To Know, to Understand, and to Rely on Results

Overview

This book aims to describe, for readers uneducated in science, the development of humanity's desire to know and understand the world around us through the various stages of its development to the present, when science is almost universally recognized - at least in the Western world - as the most reliable way of knowing. The book describes the history of the large-scale exploration of the surface of the earth by sea, begining with the Vikings and the Chinese, and of the unknown interiors of the American and ...

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Overview

This book aims to describe, for readers uneducated in science, the development of humanity's desire to know and understand the world around us through the various stages of its development to the present, when science is almost universally recognized - at least in the Western world - as the most reliable way of knowing. The book describes the history of the large-scale exploration of the surface of the earth by sea, begining with the Vikings and the Chinese, and of the unknown interiors of the American and African continents by foot and horseback. After the invention of the telescope, visual exploration of the surfaces of the Moon and Mars were made possible, and finally a visit to the Moon. The book then turns to our legacy from the ancient Greeks of wanting to understand rather than just know, and why the scientific way of understanding is valued. For concreteness, it relates the lives and accomplishments of six great scientists, four from the nineteenth century and two from the twentieth. Finally, the book explains how chemistry came to be seen as the most basic of the sciences, and then how physics became the most fundamental.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789814397339
  • Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/2012
  • Pages: 92
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

1 We Want to Know 1

Looking at the Heavens 4

Exploratory Voyages 8

2 We Want to Understand 25

Charles Darwin 36

Gregor Mendel 43

Louis Pasteur 51

Michael Faraday 59

Max Planck 65

Enrico Fermi 68

3 Science 71

Chemistry as the Fundamental Science 71

How Physics Became Most Fundamental 74

On Reductionism 81

References and Further Reading 85

Illustrations Credits 87

Index 89

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