Tag history of science

The Endangered Species of the Polymath

Peter Burke— People are talking more and more about polymaths these days, but at the same time, living examples of this intellectual species are becoming more and more difficult to find. By polymath I mean, like the ancient Greeks who coined the term, someone who has mastered many intellectual disciplines,

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How Do You Make Electricity?

Ivo van Vulpen— One of the greatest threats to our prosperity and way of life is a shortage of energy. We don’t often pause to think about it, but our Western society is addicted to energy, and without electricity, it would come to a complete standstill in less than a

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Scientific Revelation through a Disproven Theory

Gregory J. Gbur— Sometimes, the development of a revolutionary idea in science comes from first pursuing a very wrong idea. One example of this is the discovery of brain localization: the idea that different parts of the brain have different functions, which took many years, a lot of research—and a

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The Story of Archaeology

Brian Fagan— There really is something to Indiana Jones, except that it’s all wrong. It’s rumored that Jones was an amalgam of several early twentieth century archaeologists, but Lucas Films is firmly mum on the subject. The history of archaeology over the past century-and-a-half is indeed replete with bold exploits

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Out of the Shadows / Robert Hooke

John Gribbin— Who was the first person to realise that gravity is a universal force possessed by every object in the Universe, which attracts every other object? Isaac Newton, right? Wrong! Newton got the idea, and other insights which fed into his theory of gravity, from Robert Hooke, a seventeenth-century polymath

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The Nine Lives of Bayes’ Rule

While a staple in modern-day statistics classes, Bayes’ rule, as  immortalized in our statistics textbooks, has been killed and revived several times. Although public opinion on this theory has waxed and waned dramatically, was Bayes’ rule ever fully dismissed? Sharon Bertsch McGrayne in her book, The Theory That Would Not Die:

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Goodreads Giveaway: A Little History of Science

Follow @yaleSCIbooks Following our recent interview with author William Bynum, we’re excited to sponsor a Goodreads Book Giveaway of his latest book A Little History of Science. This small volume packs a punch by relating the historical achievements and discoveries in physics, biology, chemistry and astronomy, in 40 small chapters

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January Theme: Nature & Environment

Follow @yaleSCIbooks A new year and new beginnings: the world around us changes; so do we change alongside it, often because of it. For the second year in a row, we are taking the month of January to discuss books on nature and environment. Both presently and historically, climatic, biological,

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For the Busy Lover of Science

It’s no easy feat to provide an account of the entire history of science in a single book, much less make that history a “little” one: nevertheless, an undaunted William Bynum sets out to fulfill this very task in his latest project. A Little History of Science traces the march

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A Conversation with William Bynum on A Little History of Science

As ambitious as the project of charting the history of science over the past few centuries sounds, William Bynum takes on the task readily in his latest book, A Little History of Science, fashioned after E.H. Gombrich‘s bestselling A Little History of the World.  He brings readers, both young and old, on a

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