Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey

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9780226068602: Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey

The development of science, according to respected scholars Peter J. Bowler and Iwan Rhys Morus, expands our knowledge and control of the world in ways that affect-but are also affected by-society and culture. In Making Modern Science, a text designed for introductory college courses in the history of science and as a single-volume introduction for the general reader, Bowler and Morus explore both the history of science itself and its influence on modern thought.

Opening with an introduction that explains developments in the history of science over the last three decades and the controversies these initiatives have engendered, the book then proceeds in two parts. The first section considers key episodes in the development of modern science, including the Scientific Revolution and individual accomplishments in geology, physics, and biology. The second section is an analysis of the most important themes stemming from the social relations of science-the discoveries that force society to rethink its religious, moral, or philosophical values. Making Modern Science thus chronicles all major developments in scientific thinking, from the revolutionary ideas of the seventeenth century to the contemporary issues of evolutionism, genetics, nuclear physics, and modern cosmology.

Written by seasoned historians, this book will encourage students to see the history of science not as a series of names and dates but as an interconnected and complex web of relationships between science and modern society. The first survey of its kind, Making Modern Science is a much-needed and accessible introduction to the history of science, engagingly written for undergraduates and curious readers alike.

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About the Author:

Peter J. Bowler is professor of the history of science in the School of Anthropological Studies at Queen's University, Belfast, and the author of Reconciling Science and Religion: The Debate in Early-Twentieth-Century Britain, published by the University of Chicago Press. Iwan Rhys Morus is lecturer in the Department of History and Welsh History at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and the author of When Physics Became King, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Review:

"The book accomplishes the seemingly impossible task of introducing readers to what every student knows (or should) about modern science—the “textbook” histories of many of the most important developments in physics, biology, chemistry, and technology of the last 300 years—while at the same time using considerable historical and theoretical sophistication to bring out the complexities and ambiguities that undercut these myths. . . . Attractively illustrated and easy to use, the book explains difficult scientific and philosophical issues in brief and often surprisingly clear terms. . . . The field of history of science has been calling out for a book just like this one. Making Modern Science will be a great help in introductory courses and will provide important background for advanced courses. . . . Bowler and Morus’s account will reward scientists who wish to see the history of their own field from a new and provocative perspective; students and teachers in need of a reliable introduction or a rapid brush-up; and readers with a general interest in the people, institutions, and concepts that have made science such a central aspect. . . . A timely, informative, challenging, and very welcome achievement." (John Tresch Science 2005-09-30)

“At the same time that [Bowler and Morus] challenge our myths of scientific objectivity, however, they also challenge those who are too quick to despair of the possibility of better understanding our world. Making Modern Science provides a detailed and fascinating glimpse into the vibrant tradition of scientific inquiry that has so shaped our contemporary world. . . . Bowler and Morus have written an excellent historical survey that general readers and scholars alike will find rich and stimulating.” (Virginia Quarterly Review)

"A real landmark. Finally, two first-rate academic historians—one a specialist in biological and earth sciences, one in physical sciences —both firmly committed to sociological, contextual approaches, offer an overview of their discipline for the beginning student." (Jon Turney Times Higher Education Supplement 2005-07-21)

"This clearly written and accessible work incorporates the recent historiographical trends in the history of biology and physics, with a view to revisiting classical themes in the history of science and to illuminating them in nuanced and interesting ways. . . . The book situates biological and physical knowledge within a myriad of socio-cultural contexts, such as religion, the state, economic theory, patronage, and war." (Myles W. Jackson Historical Journal)

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Bowler, Peter J., Morus, Iwan Rhys
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