A Brief History of Science by Thomas Crump
As Seen Through the Development of Scientific Instruments

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From the gnomons and sundials of ancient times to the 26-kilometer underground particle accelerator of the twenty-first century, this fascinating and enlightening volume by mathematician and anthropologist Thomas Crump shows how science has continually redefined the world’s horizons, extended the frontiers of knowledge, and advanced human civilization. With sixteen pages of photographs, and vivid vignettes of scientists and their inventions, Crump guides readers through early attempts to measure time and space—from astronomical charts and calendars to Arabic numerals and algebraic notation—before he examines the birth of an essentially modern technology in the 1600s. With Galileo’s telescopic exploration of the skies at the beginning of the seventeenth century and Newton’s experiments with the prism and light at its end, the optical instruments fundamental to all scientific research had been invented. Crump then proceeds to electromagnets, cathode tubes, thermometers, vacuum pumps, X rays, accelerators, semiconductors, microprocessors, and instruments currently being designed to operate in subzero temperatures. Here, then, in an accessible, succinctly narrated volume, is the enduring human quest for knowledge through technology. Here, too, is the proof that what is knowable is, and has always been, far more compelling than what is known. “[Crump] provides lively summaries of the progress in different fields, and succeeds in breathing new life into familiar stories.”—The Economist “Fascinating reading.”—Publishers Weekly

About Thomas Crump

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Thomas Crump used to teach Anthropology at Amsterdam University. He is the author of A Brief History of Science, The Anthropology of Numbers, and Asia Pacific: A History of Empire and Conflict. He lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Published January 9, 2001 by Carroll & Graf Pub.. 425 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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There are a few monumental goofs to consider as well: When Greece's intellectual demigod Aristotle publicly sniffs at the intuitive notion of his predecessor Democritus that matter must be composed of infinitesimal particles, Crump tags it as a single act that deferred any real advancement in a k...

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Publishers Weekly

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(Only a few paragraphs are devoted to radio and redshift, for instance, while Crump dallies over Wernher von Braun's experiences at the end of World War II.) It might be argued that English scientists receive more attention than those of other countries, although the adept sketch of Dmitri Mendel...

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The Zone

In the preface, Thomas Crump notes the sad lack of useful scientifically-inclined history books, today, and he asks why, if authors still write general histories of other subjects has science been so neglected?

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