The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 4 by Colin A. Ronan

The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 4

byColin A. Ronan, Joseph Needham

Hardcover | June 24, 1994

not yet rated|write a review

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 1116 plum® points

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Digesting the main sections of Volume IV of Dr. Needham's magnum opus, this book is concerned with the immense advances made in early and medieval China in mechanical engineering. It discusses in simple but eminently readable terms the status of engineers, their tools and materials, then basic mechanical principles, followed by machinery powered by animals, man and even by steam, vehicles for land transport, six centuries of hidden clockwork, windmills and aeronautics. Since China was far ahead of the West in ancient and medieval times, this volume helps make clear the immense debt owed by Western civilization to the Chinese. Such debts included the important mechanical principles of transforming rotary motion to a to-and-fro motion of a crank and vice-versa. They invented the first efficient harness for horses and the first mechanical clocks.

Details & Specs

Title:The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 4Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.94 inPublished:June 24, 1994Publisher:Cambridge University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521329957

ISBN - 13:9780521329958

Customer Reviews of The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 4


Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; List of tables; Preface; 1. Engineers: their status, tools and materials; 2. Basic mechanical principles; 3. Mechanical toys and machines described in Chinese works; 4. Vehicles for land transport and design of an efficient horse harness; 5. Clockwork: six hidden centuries; 6. Vertical and horizontal mountings, windmills and aeronautics; Bibliography; Table of Chinese dynastics; Index.

Editorial Reviews

"Those interested in the development of technology and science have found much to profit them in Joseph Needham's monumental history of science in China. The abridged volumes of his work are still rich in detail, ably produced by Colin Ronan with Needham...A fascinating book." New Scientist