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Fara, Patricia
Science : a four thousand year history / Patricia Fara
Alternate Title Science: a 4000 year history
1st ed
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2009
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  Q125 .F252 2009    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Science -- History
Science and civilization
Physical Description xv, 408 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [375]-390) and index
Contents Origins : Sevens ; Babylon ; Heroes ; Cosmos ; Life ; Matter ; Technology -- Interactions : Eurocentrism ; China ; Islam ; Scholarship ; Europe ; Aristotle ; Alchemy -- Experiments : Exploration ; Magic ; Astronomy ; Bodies ; Machines ; Instruments ; Gravity -- Institutions : Societies ; Systems ; Careers ; Industries ; Revolutions ; Rationality ; Disciplines -- Laws : Progress ; Globalization ; Objectivity ; God ; Evolution ; Power ; Time -- Invisibles : Life ; Germs ; Rays ; Particles ; Genes ; Chemicals ; Uncertainties -- Decisions : Warfare ; Heredity ; Cosmology ; Information ; Rivalry ; Environment ; Futures
Summary In this book the author rewrites science's past to provide new ways of understanding and questioning our modern technological society. Aiming not just to provide information but to make people think, it explores how science has become so powerful by describing the financial interests and imperial ambitions behind its success. Sweeping through the centuries from ancient Babylon right up to the latest hi-tech experiments in genetics and particle physics, the book also ranges internationally, challenging notions of European superiority by reemphasizing the importance of scientific projects based around the world, including revealing discussions of China and the Islamic Empire alongside the more familiar stories about Copernicus's sun-centered astronomy, Newton's gravity, and Darwin's theory of evolution. We see for instance how Muslim leaders encouraged science by building massive libraries, hospitals, and astronomical observatories. We rediscover the significance of medieval Europe, long overlooked, where religious institutions ensured science's survival, as the learning preserved in monasteries was subsequently developed in new and unique institutions: universities. Instead of focusing on esoteric experiments and abstract theories, the author explains how science belongs to the practical world of war, politics and business. And rather than glorifying scientists as idealized heroes, she tells true stories about real people, men and some women who needed to earn their living, who made mistakes, and who trampled down their rivals. Finally, this volume challenges scientific supremacy itself, arguing that science is successful not because it is always indubitably right, but because people have said that it is right. Science dominates modern life, but perhaps the globe will be better off by limiting science's powers and undoing some of its effects

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