Physics by J. L. Heilbron
a short history from quintessence to quarks

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The author's brush-stroke treatment of scientific advances over more than 2,000 years is likely to frustrate readers not already acquainted with the material, and he unfortunately provides few fresh insights for those already in the know...A disappointing effort to encapsulate the history of modern physics.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

How does the physics we know today - a highly professionalised enterprise, inextricably linked to government and industry - link back to its origins as a liberal art in Ancient Greece? What is the path that leads from the old philosophy of nature and its concern with humankind's place in the universe to modern massive international projects that hunt down fundamental particles and industrial laboratories that manufacture marvels?

John Heilbron's fascinating history of physics introduces us to Islamic astronomers and mathematicians, calculating the size of the earth whilst their caliphs conquered much of it; to medieval scholar-theologians investigating light; to Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton, measuring, and trying to explain, the universe. We visit the 'House of Wisdom' in 9th-century Baghdad; Europe's first universities; the courts of the Renaissance; the Scientific Revolution and the academies of the 18th
century; the increasingly specialised world of 20th and 21st century science.

Highlighting the shifting relationship between physics, philosophy, mathematics, and technology — and the implications for humankind's self-understanding — Heilbron explores the changing place and purpose of physics in the cultures and societies that have nurtured it over the centuries.
 

About J. L. Heilbron

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J. L. Heilbron is Professor of History, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley. He was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, in physics and history; and began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. He returned to Berkeley in 1967, where he rose to become professor of history and vice chancellor. After retiring in 1994 Heilbron taught sporadically at Caltech and Yale, and lived mostly around Oxford, where he has been Senior research Fellow at Worcester College and the Oxford Museum for History of Science. He has written several books for Oxford University Press, including Galileo (2010) and Love, Literature, and the Quantum Atom: Niels Bohr's 1913 trilogy revisited (2013), with Finn Aaserud.
 
Published October 29, 2015 by OUP Oxford. 245 pages
Genres: Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Kirkus

Below average
on Sep 15 2015

The author's brush-stroke treatment of scientific advances over more than 2,000 years is likely to frustrate readers not already acquainted with the material, and he unfortunately provides few fresh insights for those already in the know...A disappointing effort to encapsulate the history of modern physics.

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