Physics: a short history from quintessence to quarks

Hardcover | October 15, 2015

byJohn L. Heilbron

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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 theuniverse to modern massive international projects that hunt down fundamental particles and industrial laboratories that manufacture marvels?John Heilbron's fascinating history of physics 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 tryingto 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; 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.

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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 theuniverse to modern massive international proj...

John Heilbron was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, in physics and history; and began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. He returned to Berkeley in 1967, where he rose to become professor of history and vice chancellor. After retiring in 1994 Heilbron taught sporadically at Caltech and Yale, and lived...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.98 inPublished:October 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198746857

ISBN - 13:9780198746850

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Invention and Diversity in Greece and Rome2. Selection and Development in Islam3. Domestication in the West4. A Second Creation5. Classical Physics and its Cure6. From Old World to New7. By Way of ConclusionReferences and Further ReadingIndex