To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science by Steven Weinberg

Penguin Books (UK) Allen Lane Archive Date Apr 10 2015

To Elizabeth, Louise, and Gabrielle

Description: In To Explain the World, pre-eminent theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg offers a rich and irreverent history of science from a unique perspective – that of a scientist. Moving from ancient Miletus to medieval Baghdad to Oxford, and from the Museum of Alexandria to the Royal Society of London, he shows that the scientists of the past not only did not understand what we understand about the world – they did not understand what there is to understand. Yet eventually, through the struggle to solve such mysteries as the backward movement of the planets and the rise and fall of tides, the modern discipline of science emerged.

Opening: During or before the flowering of Greek science, significant contribitions to technology, mathematics, and astronomy were being made by the Babylonians, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, and other peoples. Nevertheless it was from Greece that Europeans drew its model and its inspiration, and it was in Europe that modern science began. so the Greeks played a special role in the discovery of science.

If the history of science is your bag then this will intrigue you. Looked at in a lateral thinking way, Weinberg uses his peter-pointer to show us where the questions themselves, down the ages, were often at fault.

An enjoyable dip in/dip out read, and I preferred this over Dreams of a Final Theory: The Scientist’s Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature

3* Dreams of a Final Theory
4* To Explain the World


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