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The History of Physics: A Very Short Introduction
Very Short Introductions
How does the physics we know today - a highly professionalised enterprise, inextricably linked to government and industry - link back to its origins as a liberal art in Ancient Greece? What is the path that leads from the old philosophy of nature and its concern with humankind's place in the universe to modern massive international projects that hunt down fundamental particles and industrial laboratories that manufacture marvels?
This Very Short Introduction introduces us to Islamic astronomers and mathematicians calculating the size of the earth whilst their caliphs conquered much of it; to medieval scholar-theologians investigating light; to Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton, measuring, and trying to explain, the universe. We visit the 'House of Wisdom' in 9th-century Baghdad; Europe's first universities; the courts of the Renaissance; the Scientific Revolution and the academies of the 18th century; and
the increasingly specialised world of 20th and 21st century science. Highlighting the shifting relationship between physics, philosophy, mathematics, and technology - and the implications for humankind's self-understanding - Heilbron explores the changing place and purpose of physics in the cultures and
societies that have nurtured it over the centuries.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
The book is effectively a short history of ideas that moves around the cultures of Europe depending on time and place, so there is a fascinating chapter on Islamic contributions. * Network Review * manages to pack an awful lot into that very short space ... interesting and informative for non-scientists * A Hermit's Progress * delightful... Heilbron leaves us rooted in lived reality * Nature, Robert P. Crease * This book is essential reading. Insightful ... never boring. * Frost Magazine * Elegantly written and entertaining. * Daan Wegener, Isis Review * Pick up a copy to get to grips with the 2500-year history of physics. * Tushna Commissariat, Physics World * A comprehensive treatment of the history of physics in the West * David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer *