The first part of the book tells the story of science in both East and West from antiquity to the Enlightenment: from the ancient Mediterranean world to ancient China; from the exchanges between Islamic and Christian scholars in the Middle Ages to the Chinese invention of gunpowder, paper, and the printing press; from the Scientific Revolution of sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe to the intellectual ferment of the eighteenth century.
The chapters that follow focus on the increasingly specialized story of science since the end of the eighteenth century, covering experimental science in the laboratory from Michael Faraday to CERN; the exploration of nature, from intrepid Victorian explorers to twentieth-century primatologists; the mapping of the universe, from the discovery of Uranus to Big Bang theory; the impact of evolutionary ideas, from Lamarck, Darwin, and Wallace to DNA; and the story of theoretical physics, from James Clark Maxwell to Quantum Theory and beyond. A concluding chapter reflects on how scientists have communicated their work to a wider public, from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the Internet in the early twenty-first century.
1. Science in the Ancient Mediterranean World / James Evans
2. Science in Ancient China / Donald Harper
3. Medieval Science in the West and Middle East / Sonja Brentjes
4. Science in the Medieval East / Dagmar Schaefer
5. The Scientific Revolution / John Henry
6. Enlightenment Science / Jan Golinski
7. Experimental Cultures / Iwan Rhys Morus
8. Exploring Nature / Amanda Rees
9. Mapping the Universe / Robert Smith
10. The Meaning of Life / Peter Bowler
11. Theoretical Visions / Matthew Stanley
12. Communicating Nature / Charlotte Sleigh
Iwan Rhys Morus first developed his interest in the history of science whilst studying natural sciences at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He is currently a Professor of History at Aberystwyth University and is the author of a number of books in the history of science, including Frankenstein's Children (1998), When Physics Became King (2005) and Shocking Bodies (2011).
"A fabulous series of essays from more than a dozen science historians that show science interacting with and being influenced by culture and society. Morus and company succeed in showing science as a product of human culture, not a phenomenon apart from it."
– Publishers Weekly
"This book successfully shows for a general audience that science is culture and that "science"-singular-has never existed [...] chapeau for a beautiful andnuanced comprehensive history of science."
– Floor Haalboom, Erasmus MC Rotterdam and Utrecht University, Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society
"This book is both conventional and not, sweeping yet focused, and really fun to read as both a reference source and as a piece of world history."
– New Books in Science podcast