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By: Lucio Russo
487 pages, Illus
The third and second centuries BC witnessed, in the Greek world, a scientific and technological explosion. Greek culture had reached great heights in art, literature and philosophy already in the earlier classical era, but it was in the age of Archimedes and Euclid that science as we know it was born, and gave rise to sophisticated technology that would not be seen again until the 18th century. This scientific revolution was also accompanied by great changes and a new kind of awareness in many other fields, including art and medicine. What were the landmarks in the meteoric rise of science 2300 years ago? Why are they so little known today, even among scientists, classicists and historians? How do they relate to the post-1500 science that we are familiar with from school? What led to the end of ancient science? These are the questions that this book discusses, in the belief that the answers bear on choices we face today.
From the reviews: "Russo has achieved and exhibited an extensive survey of science in the Hellenistic world at the time after Aristotle ! . The treat in store for the reader of this book is the vast learning that Lucio Russo has acquired, which he explains with lucidity. ! it is useful for private study, for one's own enlightenment; on the other it will enrich every science course and every history course that involves these time periods." (Samuel S. Kutler, MAA online, September, 2004) "Russo presents an enticing vision of a Hellenistic world with a highly organized scientific effort that lasted for centuries. ! The copious, informative and useful illustrations in this beautifully produced volume intensify the sense of what was lost when this great civilization went into decline and perished." (Mott Greene, NATURE, August, 2004) "The central thesis of the book is that science originated in the Hellenistic period ! . To summarize the book: It certainly has a number of good points. The author has combed through ...200 medieval texts (plus others). There are lots of footnotes identifying sources (even in different editions of the same book) and an index of writings consulted (with page numbers). ! a very remarkable book in its depth and the boldness of its claims." (Nimish Shah, Newsletter of the London Mathematical Society, March, 2005)
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