With over 150 alphabetically arranged entries about key scientists, concepts, discoveries, technological innovations, and learned institutions, the Oxford Guide to Physics and Astronomy traces the history of physics and astronomy from the Renaissance to the present. For students, teachers, historians, scientists, and readers of popular science books such as Galileo's Daughter, this guide deciphers the methods and philosophies of physics and astronomy as well as the historical periods from which they emerged. Meant to serve the lay reader and the professional (...) alike, this book can be turned to for the answer to how scientists learned to measure the speed of light, or consulted for neat, careful summaries of topics as complicated as quantum field theory and as vast as the universe. The entries, each written by a noted scholar and edited by J. L. Heilbron, Professor of History and Vice Chancellor, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, reflect the most up-to-date research and discuss the applications of the scientific disciplines to the wider world of religion, law, war, art and literature. No other source on these two branches of science is as informative or as inviting. Thoroughly cross-referenced and accented by dozens of black and white illustrations, the Oxford Guide to Physics and Astronomy is the source to turn to for anyone looking for a quick explanation of alchemy, x-rays and any type of matter or energy in between. (shrink)
The question of the Copernican Question is whether, in arguing its thesis, Professor Westman met the standards of argument and evidence expected of a senior historian. In my review I pointed to problems in reasoning and translation pertinent to an answer. In response, Professor Westman gives further specimens of his reasoning and describes his botched translations as “peccadilloes.” Had I known that he was writing in Peccadillo, I would willingly have expressed the admiration his performance deserves. When judged on the (...) permissive Peccadillian principle, Tant pis tant mieux (in ordinary English, “never mind, so much the better,” in high Peccadillo, “Aunt feels better since she’s been to the toilet”), much of .. (shrink)
The Roman Inquisition against Heretical Depravity, also known as the Holy Office, established in 1542, and the Congregation of the Index of Prohibited Books, announced officially in 1572, undertook to protect Italy from ideas and practices that menaced the authority of the Roman Catholic Church in this world and the salvation of its members in the next. This grandiose public-health program required trained and dedicated thought police to receive and evaluate alarms from the public and, when business was bad, to (...) seek out sources of infection themselves. The resultant records of accusations, investigations, trials, condemnations, expurgations, and exceptions, if extant in its entirety, would go far to fill.. (shrink)
The ArgumentA brief review of the Merton thesis shows that its restriction to England is arbitrary. An example from the historiography of modern physics suggests the possible payoff of an ecumenical Merton thesis and the means to explore it. A summary of the careers of men who practiced science literally in the church – men who built meridian lines in Italian cathedrals – indicates the range of social support of astronomical studies by Catholic institutions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.