Makers of Western Science

The Works and Words of 24 Visionaries from Copernicus to Watson and Crick


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About the Book

Non-scientists often perceive science as a dry, boring vocation pursued by dry, boring people. Contrary to popular perception, science has actually been the product of fascinating people seeking to explain the world around them. From Galileo’s difficulties with the Inquisition, to the quirkiness of Newton, to the iconic figure that was Einstein, this innovative volume chronicles the history of science using extensive passages from the works of the scientists themselves. Who better to appeal to our common sense concerning the truth of a sun-centered universe than Copernicus himself? Kepler expresses in his own words the way in which he awoke to the revelation of elliptical orbits, and Darwin shares his slowly evolving ideas leading to the theory of natural selection. Part biography, part history, this work reveals the personalities behind the world’s most significant scientific discoveries, providing an interesting new perspective on the human endeavor we call science. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Todd Timmons is professor of history at the University of Arkansas–Fort Smith, where he has taught for more than 20 years. His interests cover a broad spectrum in the history of science, technology, and mathematics.

Bibliographic Details

Todd Timmons

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6061-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9115-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Preface      1
Introduction. Science in the Ancient and Medieval World      3

1. The Copernican Revolution      7
2. Galileo: Astronomy, the Birth of Modern Physics, and Science’s Battle with the Church      22
3. Copernicus Perfected? Kepler and Planetary Orbits      38
4. Gilbert, Harvey, and the Experimental Method      50
5. Descartes, Boyle, and the Mechanical Philosophy      65
6. Linnaeus, Buffon and Eighteenth Century Natural History      78
7. Newton and the Pinnacle of the Scientific Revolution      90
8. Lavoisier, Dalton, and the Birth of Modern Chemistry      107
9. From Franklin to Faraday: Developments in the Science of Electricity      121
10. Paradigm Shift: Darwin and Natural Selection      132
11. Laplace to Galton: Uncertainty in the Physical and Social Sciences      151
12. Einstein, Bohr, and Twentieth-Century Physics      167
13. From the Individual to the Collective: Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project, and the Emergence of “Big Science”      180
14. Genetics, Germ Theory, and DNA: The Work of Mendel, Pasteur, Watson and Crick      195

Index      213

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