The How and the Why: An Essay on the Origins and Development of Physical Theory (英語) ペーパーバック – 1990/9/1
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Discusses the history of natural philosophy, defines the nature of science and analyzes the way scientists have tried to understand the physical world
This is an excellent and stimulating account of the history and development of physics, a pleasure to read and of great value to anyone with an interest in the nature of science.---John Polkinghorne, The Times Higher Education Supplement
A marvelous, technically competent, literate, engagingly written book that every student (whether a science major or not) in a science course and instructors should have to read.---James T. Cushing, American Journal of Physics
Physicists should make every effort to enjoy this well-conducted tour of the history of physics.---John Barrow, New Scientist
A brilliant presentation of the ideas of modern physics presented in a richly painted historical setting. . . . This book contains more physics than most physicists know, and more intellectual history than most historians know, woven together in a thoughtful, erudite, and enthusiastic presentation that is unique in both popular and academic science writing. . . . The rise of statistical physics, quantum mechanics, particle physics, and cosmology are accompanied by trenchant examples that encapsulate the core of current controversy, and the older material is informed by recent sophistications of historical scholarship.--Choice
New decade starter Review:
I tried to figure out what book would be an engaging read to start with the second decade of the third millennium! "The How and the Why," is a marvelous review of history of scientific achievements through centuries of human ascent, fit to stimulate readers interest and intellect. A winner of the 1989 Beta Kappa award in Science, a nostalgic reminder of "How and Why Wonder Books," written mostly between 1960 and early 70's, whose fans were young people, who grew with the Kennedy space vision, when President Kennedy challenged the nation to land a man on the moon within a decade. It was one of the most historic events for America, demonstrating what man can do with determination, hard work and ingenuity, exactly what we need in 2010, to pull ourselves out of our current concerns.
A brief introduction:
David Park wrote a series of inspiring essays on the origins and development to fruition of physical theory, an engaging philosophy of science or an intellectual history of the advances of physical theory which landed us on the moon in 1969. Throughout the enjoyable tour of the history of physical sciences, conducted by the skillful author, introducing you to the progress of ideas and thought from Almagest all the way to Wittgenstein, in an uninterrupted discourse from "What is the World," to "And Now the Universe." Be sure not to skip the five page introduction; "What is science anyhow? ... How can we talk about what it is? All right, let us talk about the part of it that deals with the nature of the universe and of matter."
Professor Park is a true Ph.D., a teaching philosopher, who gives a boost to the A+ readers. Order and Law is his closing chapter quoting the wise, asking, "What has been accomplished," in Simplicity, Symmetry, Causality, Determinism, Chance, and Necessity: Understanding? Revision Note A; Hero's Principle, B: Fermat's Principle, M: Theory of the expanding universe! Brickman's drawings and art selection proves the power of relevant historical imagination, "The marvel is no marvel" is wonderful (Fig 10.6), "A medieval perpetual-motion machine" (Fig 10.7) is so simply beautiful, with an old comment, "Amen dico, I say Amen" Constructive proof of Pythagorean theorem is so simple. My favorite is "The Creation" a thirteenth century illumination, a variant of the popular depiction of Genesis.
Depth in variety:
The proof of depth I conduct for my readings of such wide spectrum subject treatment is through index examination. Here what I found on seventh century Alexandrine thinkers; Lady Hypatia (pp.80), john Philoponus first author of impetus theory, on falling bodies dynamics (pp. 140, 204, 226) who was read by Galileo, and his notes on Aristotle were used by Thomas Aquinas. What about Cosmas Indicopleustes, or topographicos, earliest discoverer and cartographer who wrote, "For they were ignorant of the figure of the earth, and were unaware that the heavenly bodies are moved in the air by angels!" I may be biased since there is a concentration of Alexandrian genius, but the book will mention almost every creative scientist or mathematician from Apollonius, Archemides, and Aristarchus, all lived in Alexandria to Da Vinci, Hubble, Kepler, Newton, Schrodinger and Weinberg.