Synopses & Reviews
From the revolutionary discoveries of Galileo and Newton to the mind-bending theories of Einstein and Heisenberg, from plate tectonics to particle physics, from the origin of life to universal entropy, and from biology to cosmology, here is a sweeping, readable, and dynamic account of the whole of Western science. In the readable manner and method of Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Sagan, the late Brian L. Silver translates our most important, and often most obscure, scientific developments into a vernacular that is not only accessible and illuminating but also enjoyable. Silver makes his comprehensive case with much clarity and insight; he locates science as the apex of human reason, and reason as our best path to the truth. For all readers curious about--and especially those perhaps intimidated by--what Silver calls "the scientific campaign up to now" in his Preface, The Ascent of Science will be fresh, vivid, and fascinating reading.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -518) and index.
About the Author
Brian L. Silver was Professor of Physical Chemistry at the Techion, or Institute of Technology, in Israel. He died in 1997, just prior to the publication of this book.
Table of Contents
1. Newton Gets It Completely Wrong
2. I Believe
3. Thomas Aquinas versus Neil Armstrong
4. The Second Law
5. Predicting Catastrophe
6. From Newton to De Sade: The partial Triumph of Reason
7. From Rousseau to Blake: The Revolt against Reason
8. Lodestone, Amber, and Lightning
9. Belief and Action
10. The Demise of Alchemy
11. The Nineteenth Century
12. The Material Trinity: The Atom
13. The Stuff of Existence
14. Scipio's Dream
15. Making Waves
16. The Ubiquity of Motion
18. Entropy: Intimations of Mortality
20. The Slow Birth of Biology
21. In a Monastery Garden
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
28. The Inexplicable Quantum
29. New Ways of Thinking
30. The Land of Paradox
31. The Elementary Particles
34. The Cosmos and Peeping Tom
35. The Impossibility of Creation
36. The Tree of Death
37. "What the Devil Does It All Mean?"
38. The Future