The Ascent of Science

The Ascent of Science

4.15 (80 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


'This book is a report of the scientific campaign up to now. It is not a history of science but rather an account of the major battles, the frequently eccentric generals and the ways in which science has deeply influenced man's picture of the world and of himself. It is not a final summing-up. We know that we are far from a real understanding of nature. We press on. Michelangelo's divine discontent gives us no rest. And although the history of science may be a trail littered with broken theories and discarded concepts, science is also a triumph of reason, luck, and above all imagination. There are few more successful, exciting, or strange journeys.' From the author's preface In The Ascent of Science, Brian Silver provides a sweeping and dynamic overview of the whole of Western science, from the Renaissance to the present. In it, he translates the most profoundly important, and often impenetrably obscure, scientific developments into a vernacular that is not only accessible and illuminating but highly enjoyable as more

Product details

  • Paperback | 552 pages
  • 213.36 x 279.4 x 40.64mm | 1,224.69g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 75 line figures
  • 0195134273
  • 9780195134278

Review quote

Silver writes with extraordinary grace and sparkling wit - and with a comprehensiveness unparalleled in science writing. * Research and Innovation * Silver's wicked way with words explains the most important discoveries of science in everyday language and periodically illustrates the points with reference to contemporary culture....Throughout this mighty book I was laughing....I shall never think about atoms in the same way again!...By the breadth and vision of his book, the power of his pen, his ability to explain extraordinary and difficult concepts by reference to the ordinary and the ability to appear to lose that sense of awe and wonderment at the greatness of it all...pass it on to your scientifically illiterate friends. Stand proud. And admit that yes, you too are a scientist s ChemWeb Inc - Paul Board a fine book, explaining what it covers with care, thoughtfulness what it covers with care, thoughtfulness and wit * Physics World * this book is a wonderful refresher course; it is full of unexpected bits of history and is remarkably readable * Physics World * Brian Silver's book is an enormously ambitious project,and might well be subtitled "Everything you always wanted to know about science" * Physics World * Most enjoyable of all is Silver's spicy accessible style * New Scientist * The Ascent of Science is an intriguingly orginal introduction to science and will be a boon to those of us who make a living out of making science accessible to nonspecialists...many teachers of Science for Poets course, so popular in the US, will find plenty of rewarding ideas here, not least Silver's outspoken views on current science policy * New Scientist * succeeds handsomely in presenting most of the big ides in science, together with a stimulating overview of its history and some well-informed commedntary on science in the 1990s * New Scientist * it's by far the most eccentric, opinionated and bizarre I've come across. It is also one of the best * New Scientist * Silver, a physical chemist, is good on the molecular basis of thermodynamics * Nature *show more

About Brian L. Silver

Former Professor of Physical Chemistry, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel (now deceased).show more

Table of contents

Preface ; Introduction ; Part 1 ; 1. Newton Gets It Completely Wrong ; 2. I Believe ; Part 2 ; 3. Thomas Aquinas Vs. Neil Armstrong ; 4. The Second Law ; 5. Predicting Catstrophe ; 6. From Newton to de Sade - The Partial Triumph of Reason ; 7. From Rousseau to Blake - The Revolt Against Reason ; Part 3 ; 8. Lodestone, Amber, and Lightning ; 9. Belief and Action ; Part 4 ; 10. The Demise of Alchemy ; 11. The Nineteenth Century ; 12. The Material Trinity - The Atom ; 13. The Stuff of Existence ; 14. Scipio's Dream ; Part 5 ; 15. Making Waves ; 16. The Ubiquity of Motion ; 17. Energy ; 18. Entropy - Intimations of Immortality ; 19. Chaos ; Part 6 ; 20. The Slow Birth of Biology ; 21. In A Monastery Garden ; 22. Evolution ; 23. The Descent of Man ; 24. The Gene Machine ; 25. The Lords of Nature? ; 26. Life - The Molecular Battle ; 27. The Origin of Life? Take your Choice ; Part 7 ; 28. The Inexplicable Quantum ; 29. New Ways of Thinking ; 30. The Land of Pradox ; 31. The Elementary Particles ; Part 8 ; 32. Relativity ; 33. Cosmology ; 34. The Cosmos and Peeping Tom ; 35. The Impossibility of Creation ; Part 9 ; 36. The Tree of Death ; 37. "What the Devil Does it All Mean?" ; Part 10 ; 38. The Futureshow more

Rating details

80 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 40% (32)
4 39% (31)
3 18% (14)
2 4% (3)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X