Making Natural Knowledge

Author: Jan Golinski
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226302324
Size: 24.70 MB
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Arguably the best available introduction to constructivism, a research paradigm that has dominated the history of science for the past forty years, Making Natural Knowledge reflects on the importance of this theory, tells the history of its rise to prominence, and traces its most important tensions. Viewing scientific knowledge as a product of human culture, Jan Golinski challenges the traditional trajectory of the history of science as steady and autonomous progress. In exploring topics such as the social identity of the scientist, the significance of places where science is practiced, and the roles played by language, instruments, and images, Making Natural Knowledge sheds new light on the relations between science and other cultural domains. "A standard introduction to historically minded scholars interested in the constructivist programme. In fact, it has been called the 'constructivist's bible' in many a conference corridor."—Matthew Eddy, British Journal for the History of Science

What Is Global History

Author: Pamela Kyle Crossley
Publisher: Polity
ISBN: 0745633005
Size: 38.21 MB
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Global and world history address the deep structural changes that have shaped human experience. Many are material, related to environmental and climatic alteration, to the domestication of livestock and development of agriculture, to technology, to disease, and to variations in human immunity, reproduction, and physiology. Others are social and cultural, touching upon issues of migration, trade, language development and differentiation, institutions of enslavement and of freedom, traditions of marriage and child–rearing, the emergence of large–scale political organization from early kingdoms to vast empires, republics and federations, and the management of war and peace. To deal with such challenging issues, global historians draw upon new techniques of analysis and comparison. But they also continue venerable traditions, inherited from the earliest civilizations, of narrating the past on the most comprehensive and significant scale possible. This book examines the long search for an integrated human story, and particularly the points at which rapid changes of philosophy and perspective in the twentieth century transformed the historical disciplines. It provides the perfect introduction to global history for students and scholars alike.

Before Nature

Author: Francesca Rochberg
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022640627X
Size: 20.42 MB
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In the modern West, we take for granted that what we call the “natural world” confronts us all and always has—but Before Nature explores that almost unimaginable time when there was no such conception of “nature”—no word, reference, or sense for it. Before the concept of nature formed over the long history of European philosophy and science, our ancestors in ancient Assyria and Babylonia developed an inquiry into the world in a way that is kindred to our modern science. With Before Nature, Francesca Rochberg explores that Assyro-Babylonian knowledge tradition and shows how it relates to the entire history of science. From a modern, Western perspective, a world not conceived somehow within the framework of physical nature is difficult—if not impossible—to imagine. Yet, as Rochberg lays out, ancient investigations of regularity and irregularity, norms and anomalies clearly established an axis of knowledge between the knower and an intelligible, ordered world. Rochberg is the first scholar to make a case for how exactly we can understand cuneiform knowledge, observation, prediction, and explanation in relation to science—without recourse to later ideas of nature. Systematically examining the whole of Mesopotamian science with a distinctive historical and methodological approach, Before Nature will open up surprising new pathways for studying the history of science.

Wrestling With Nature

Author: Peter Harrison
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226317838
Size: 48.44 MB
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When and where did science begin? Historians have offered different answers to these questions, some pointing to Babylonian observational astronomy, some to the speculations of natural philosophers of ancient Greece. Others have opted for early modern Europe, which saw the triumph of Copernicanism and the birth of experimental science, while yet another view is that the appearance of science was postponed until the nineteenth century. Rather than posit a modern definition of science and search for evidence of it in the past, the contributors to Wrestling with Nature examine how students of nature themselves, in various cultures and periods of history, have understood and represented their work. The aim of each chapter is to explain the content, goals, methods, practices, and institutions associated with the investigation of nature and to articulate the strengths, limitations, and boundaries of these efforts from the perspective of the researchers themselves. With contributions from experts representing different historical periods and different disciplinary specializations, this volume offers a fresh perspective on the history of science and on what it meant, in other times and places, to wrestle with nature.

Masculinity And Science In Britain 1831 1918

Author: Heather Ellis
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137311746
Size: 47.74 MB
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This book offers the first in-depth study of the masculine self-fashioning of scientific practitioners in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain. Focusing on the British Association for the Advancement of Science, founded in 1831, it explores the complex and dynamic shifts in the public image of the British ‘man of science’ and questions the status of the natural scientist as a modern masculine hero. Until now, science has been examined by cultural historians primarily for evidence about the ways in which scientific discourses have shaped prevailing notions about women and supported the growth of oppressive patriarchal structures. This volume, by contrast, offers the first in-depth study of the importance of ideals of masculinity in the construction of the male scientist and British scientific culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From the eighteenth-century identification of the natural philosopher with the reclusive scholar, to early nineteenth-century attempts to reinvent the scientist as a fashionable gentleman, to his subsequent reimagining as the epitome of Victorian moral earnestness and meritocracy, Heather Ellis analyzes the complex and changing public image of the British ‘man of science’.

A Century Of Nature

Author: Laura Garwin
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226284163
Size: 67.79 MB
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Many of the scientific breakthroughs of the twentieth century were first reported in the journal Nature. A Century of Nature brings together in one volume Nature's greatest hits—reproductions of seminal contributions that changed science and the world, accompanied by essays written by leading scientists (including four Nobel laureates) that provide historical context for each article, explain its insights in graceful, accessible prose, and celebrate the serendipity of discovery and the rewards of searching for needles in haystacks.

The Changing Frontier

Author: Adam B. Jaffe
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022628672X
Size: 16.35 MB
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In 1945, Vannevar Bush, founder of Raytheon and one-time engineering dean at MIT, delivered a report to the president of the United States that argued for the importance of public support for science, and the importance of science for the future of the nation. The report, Science: The Endless Frontier, set America on a path toward strong and well-funded institutions of science, creating an intellectual architecture that still defines scientific endeavor today. In The Changing Frontier, Adam B. Jaffe and Benjamin Jones bring together a group of prominent scholars to consider the changes in science and innovation in the ensuing decades. The contributors take on such topics as changes in the organization of scientific research, the geography of innovation, modes of entrepreneurship, and the structure of research institutions and linkages between science and innovation. An important analysis of where science stands today, The Changing Frontier will be invaluable to practitioners and policy makers alike.

Curiosity

Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022604582X
Size: 54.88 MB
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With the recent landing of the Mars rover Curiosity, it seems safe to assume that the idea of being curious is alive and well in modern science—that it’s not merely encouraged but is seen as an essential component of the scientific mission. Yet there was a time when curiosity was condemned. Neither Pandora nor Eve could resist the dangerous allure of unanswered questions, and all knowledge wasn’t equal—for millennia it was believed that there were some things we should not try to know. In the late sixteenth century this attitude began to change dramatically, and in Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything, Philip Ball investigates how curiosity first became sanctioned—when it changed from a vice to a virtue and how it became permissible to ask any and every question about the world. Looking closely at the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, Ball vividly brings to life the age when modern science began, a time that spans the lives of Galileo and Isaac Newton. In this entertaining and illuminating account of the rise of science as we know it, Ball tells of scientists both legendary and lesser known, from Copernicus and Kepler to Robert Boyle, as well as the inventions and technologies that were inspired by curiosity itself, such as the telescope and the microscope. The so-called Scientific Revolution is often told as a story of great geniuses illuminating the world with flashes of inspiration. But Curiosity reveals a more complex story, in which the liberation—and subsequent taming—of curiosity was linked to magic, religion, literature, travel, trade, and empire. Ball also asks what has become of curiosity today: how it functions in science, how it is spun and packaged for consumption, how well it is being sustained, and how the changing shape of science influences the kinds of questions it may continue to ask. Though proverbial wisdom tell us that it was through curiosity that our innocence was lost, that has not deterred us. Instead, it has been completely the contrary: today we spend vast sums trying to reconstruct the first instants of creation in particle accelerators, out of a pure desire to know. Ball refuses to let us take this desire for granted, and this book is a perfect homage to such an inquisitive attitude.

Atoms And Alchemy

Author: William R. Newman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226576973
Size: 15.50 MB
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Since the Enlightenment, alchemy has been viewed as a sort of antiscience, disparaged by many historians as a form of lunacy that impeded the development of rational chemistry. But in Atoms and Alchemy, William R. Newman—a historian widely credited for reviving recent interest in alchemy—exposes the speciousness of these views and challenges widely held beliefs about the origins of the Scientific Revolution. Tracing the alchemical roots of Robert Boyle’s famous mechanical philosophy, Newman shows that alchemy contributed to the mechanization of nature, a movement that lay at the very heart of scientific discovery. Boyle and his predecessors—figures like the mysterious medieval Geber or the Lutheran professor Daniel Sennert—provided convincing experimental proof that matter is made up of enduring particles at the microlevel. At the same time, Newman argues that alchemists created the operational criterion of an “atomic” element as the last point of analysis, thereby contributing a key feature to the development of later chemistry. Atomsand Alchemy thus provokes a refreshing debate about the origins of modern science and will be welcomed—and deliberated—by all who are interested in the development of scientific theory and practice.

A Final Story

Author: Nasser Zakariya
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022650073X
Size: 22.34 MB
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Popular science readers embrace epics—the sweeping stories that claim to tell the history of all the universe, from the cosmological to the biological to the social. And the appeal is understandable: in writing these works, authors such as E. O. Wilson or Steven Weinberg deliberately seek to move beyond particular disciplines, to create a compelling story weaving together natural historical events, scientific endeavor, human discovery, and contemporary existential concerns. In A Final Story, Nasser Zakariya delves into the origins and ambitions of these scientific epics, from the nineteenth century to the present, to see what they reveal about the relationship between storytelling, integrated scientific knowledge, and historical method. While seeking to transcend the perspectives of their own eras, the authors of the epics and the debates surrounding them are embedded in political and social struggles of their own times, struggles to which the epics in turn respond. In attempts to narrate an approach to a final, true account, these synthesizing efforts shape and orient scientific developments old and new. By looking closely at the composition of science epics and the related genres developed along with them, we are able to view the historical narrative of science as a form of knowledge itself, one that discloses much about the development of our understanding of and relationship to science over time.