In the Light of Science: Our Ancient Quest for Knowledge and the Measure of Modern Physics

In the Light of Science: Our Ancient Quest for Knowledge and the Measure of Modern Physics

Paperback

By (author) Demetris Nicolaides

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  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Format: Paperback | 250 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 22mm | 280g
  • Publication date: 12 November 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Amherst
  • ISBN 10: 1615922253
  • ISBN 13: 9781615922253
  • Sales rank: 464,921

Product description

The birth of science in ancient Greece had a historical impact that is still being felt today. Physicist Demetris Nicolaides examines the epochal shift in thinking that led pre-Socratic philosophers of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE to abandon the prevailing mythologies of the age and, for the first time, to analyze the natural world in terms of impersonal, rationally understood principles. He argues not only that their conceptual breakthroughs anticipated much of later science but that scientists of the twenty-first century are still grappling with the fundamental problems raised twenty-five hundred years ago. Looking at the vast sweep of human history, the author delves into the factors that led to the birth of science: urbanization, the role of religion, and in Greece a progressive intellectual curiosity that was unafraid to question tradition. Why did the first scientific approach to understanding the world take place in Greece? The author makes a convincing case that, aside from factors of geography and politics, the power of the Greek language and a cultural proclivity for critical thinking played a large role. "In the Light of Science" is a unique approach to the history of science revealing the important links between the ancient past and the present scientific endeavor to understand the universe.

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Author information

Demetris Nicolaides, PhD, is an award-winning professor of physics at Bloomfield College. He has authored many scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented his research at conferences nationally. He is a member of the American Physical Society and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Review quote

"An engaging crosswalk between key Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers' concepts of the natural world and current cutting-edge physics research.... This book's unusual approach to history, philosophy, and modern physics should be enjoyable to readers from high schoolers through adult."--Library Journal "Knits together history, religion, science, and philosophy.... Readers looking for an informal introduction to the early history of science and its philosophical links to modern physics will find an accessible introduction here." --Publishers Weekly ..". a competent and accessible reconstruction of the views of noteworthy Greek philosophers and an introduction to the current frontiers of physical inquiry.... ["In the Light of Science" is] as much philosophical as historical and as much about the present as the past."--Physics Today "Wonderful...This book should serve as an excellent resource for teachers and college students alike and can be used as a text within a class on the history of science or as a supplement to one on modern physics.... Engaging."--NSTA Recommends "It's a high-concept read, but approachable enough that a layperson can understand.... Above all this book inspires readers to not be content with the destination of science, but to follow their own journey of discovery and never stop questioning the nature of nature in the form of the space, matter, time, and energy all around us."--San Francisco Book Review "For those of you who are less aware [of the topic] and who really want to get a better grounding in science, then this book is an ideal choice. Nicolaides will smoothly get you to grips across the board..."--SF Crowsnest "A fascinating book for the nonspecialized reader interested in a broad and new interpretation of the history of science, as well as one who is curious about science itself. It discusses key developments of human culture (and their connection to the later development of science), including urbanization, the birth of civilization, and the evolution of religions, in a unique way. And via the birth of science, 2,600 years ago, it contemplates the mind-bending science of modern times. All in all, a must-read book!" --Klimis Ntalianis, PhD, assistant professor of engineering, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Greece "The author explores the human desire to understand the most fundamental of questions about the universe by narrating a succinct history of our species since its evolution 200,000 years ago and by taking an exciting new approach in the comparison of ancient Greek philosophy with the theories of modern physics." --Ivana Djuric, PhD, professor of physics, Passaic County Community College "The thing I find most interesting is the discussions of how modern physics builds on and thus coincides in many ways with the philosophic speculations of the ancient Greeks." --Dennis Organ, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of English, and Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, Harding University " "