Science : A Four Thousand Year History

3.66 (268 ratings by Goodreads)
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Science: A Four Thousand Year History rewrites science's past. Instead of focussing on difficult experiments and abstract theories, Patricia Fara shows how science has always belonged to the practical world of war, politics, and business. Rather than glorifying scientists as idealized heroes, she tells true stories about real people - men (and some women) who needed to earn their living, who made mistakes, and who trampled down their rivals in their quest
for success.

Fara sweeps through the centuries, from ancient Babylon right up to the latest hi-tech experiments in genetics and particle physics, illuminating the financial interests, imperial ambitions, and publishing enterprises that have made science the powerful global phenomenon that it is today. She also ranges internationally, illustrating the importance of scientific projects based around the world, from China to the Islamic empire, as well as the more familiar tale of science in Europe, from
Copernicus to Charles Darwin and beyond.

Above all, this four thousand year history challenges scientific supremacy, arguing controversially that science is successful not because it is always right - but because people have said that it is right.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 129 x 196 x 27mm | 532g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 59 black and white halftones
  • 0199580278
  • 9780199580279
  • 89,230

Table of contents

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Review Text

a surprise and a subversive pleasure Tim Radford, Guardian: Science Bookclub
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Review quote

An engaging book...Fara is to be commended for stepping back - way back - to assess the history of science in its entirety * Robert J Malone, excutive director of the History of Science Society * An impressive and commendable effort to square the circle, to tell science's history, from the beginning. * Martin D. Gordin, Science * Wide-ranging and provocative...Romps through history at a terrific rate. * The Economist * Epic history of science * Jo Marchant, New Scientist * Review from previous edition Fara's book could not be more wide-ranging, beginning [with] the quest to take the story of science as far back as she story of science as far back as she possibly can, and ending bang up to date. The content is ambitious. jusiciously and fairly handled...The narrative moves forward in an engaging way, while the enthusiasm and opinions of the author are never far from the surface. It is a book to provoke thought and argument. An
impressive achievement. * Jim Bennett, BBC History Magazine * a surprise and a subversive pleasure * Tim Radford, Guardian: Science Bookclub *
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About Patricia Fara

Patricia Fara lectures in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and is the Senior Tutor of Clare College. Her major research speciality is eighteenth-century England, but she has published a range of academic and popular books on the history of science, increasingly with an emphasis on analysing scientific imagery. These include Sympathetic Attractions: Magnetic Practices, Beliefs, and Symbolism in Eighteenth-Century England
(1996), Newton: The Making of Genius (2002), Sex, Botany and Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks (2003) and Pandora's Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment (2004). She has written many reviews and articles for academic journals as well as for general publications, including
History Today, New Scientist, Nature, The Times and New Statesman; she writes a regular column on scientific portraits for Endeavour. She is currently working on a biography of Erasmus Darwin.
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Rating details

268 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 22% (60)
4 41% (110)
3 23% (61)
2 8% (21)
1 6% (16)
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