By Thomas Crump
From the gnomons and sundials of precedent days to the 26-kilometer underground particle accelerator of the twenty-first century, this interesting and enlightening quantity via mathematician and anthropologist Thomas Crump indicates how technological know-how has constantly redefined the world’s horizons, prolonged the frontiers of data, and complicated human civilization. With 16 pages of pictures, and vibrant vignettes of scientists and their innovations, Crump publications readers via early makes an attempt to degree time and space—from astronomical charts and calendars to Arabic numerals and algebraic notation—before he examines the beginning of an primarily glossy know-how within the 1600s. With Galileo’s telescopic exploration of the skies before everything of the 17th century and Newton’s experiments with the prism and light-weight at its finish, the optical tools primary to all medical examine have been invented. Crump then proceeds to electromagnets, cathode tubes, thermometers, vacuum pumps, X rays, accelerators, semiconductors, microprocessors, and tools presently being designed to function in subzero temperatures. the following, then, in an available, succinctly narrated quantity, is the iconic human quest for wisdom via expertise. the following, too, is the evidence that what's knowable is, and has continually been, way more compelling than what's identified. “[Crump] offers energetic summaries of the growth in several fields, and succeeds in respiring new existence into standard stories.”—The Economist “Fascinating reading.”—Publishers Weekly
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Extra resources for A Brief History of Science: As Seen Through the Development of Scientific Instruments
The limitations of the process, such as the impossibility of applying it to water, are palpable. 12 THE MASTERY OF FIRE The ceramic breakthrough At least in the prehistory of science, there was no significant development in the use of fire until the invention of pottery. This occurred some time in the fifth millennium BC in a 'nuclear zone' now divided between Iran, Syria and Turkey, where some two millennia earlier agriculture, carried out by settled communities, first came into existence. The link between agriculture and pottery is not fortuitous.
Plants are rooted in the ground, and have limited defences against humans who interfere with them. ) Local plants can be studied at leisure, and their changes in the course of the year are well known. ) To a degree they can be subject matter for a cult: just go to Japan in the spring and observe the almost ecstatic popular reaction to cherry trees in blossom. The plant world is more than just a spectacle. It is a resource to be exploited for food, fuel and material for making almost anything - clothes, paints and dyes, tools, houses, containers, and medicine.
What then did all this involve? THE MASTERY OF FIRE 9 Fire is essentially an epiphenomenon which takes many different forms: in everyday life these extend from the flash of an explosion to the smouldering of tobacco. The fire characteristic of the stars can be seen in the sun, still our main source of heat and light, but the process of combustion within the sun only began to be understood in the twentieth century. This chapter, dealing with times long before the development of modern solar physics, is focused on fire confined to our own planet.
A Brief History of Science: As Seen Through the Development of Scientific Instruments by Thomas Crump