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The Fabric of the Heavens The Development of Astronomy and Dynamics

The Fabric of the Heavens - Stephen Toulmin, June Goodfield - Régikönyvek
The Fabric of the Heavens - Régikönyvek The Fabric of the Heavens - Régikönyvek The Fabric of the Heavens - Régikönyvek
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The story of our relationship with the stars and their celestial cousins is long, involving, and full of surprises. The Fabric of the Heavens, by science historians Stephen Toulmin and June Goodfield, outlines thinking about astronomy and dynamics from "pretheoretical" Babylonian times to the Newtonian revolution that seeded our modern conceptions of space. Fully integrating the two cultures of science and the humanities, the authors find evidence of new thinking in Milton's writing and medieval tapestries, as well as in classic scientific and prescientific works. Using language that is beautiful, compelling, and precise, they trace the threads of history that are woven into today's science (which, they predict, will find itself woven into something even more startlingly unrecognizable in years hence). Why were the ancients so fascinated by the sky and stars? Interestingly, it seems that their concerns were mostly practical; theological significance took longer to attach itself to the patterns up above. Agricultural and navigational concerns, once resolved, gave way to deeper philosophical, mythological, and religious curiosity--which used the mathematical tools of its predecessors to great effect. The lives and works of Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton are all thoroughly explored, and it is easier to see the continuity between them and their contemporaries in the breadth of this writing. Published in 1962, The Fabric of the Heavens was one of the first postmodern studies of the development of physical science; even were it not such a pleasure to read, it would still merit careful study. --Rob Lightner

Kiadó:
Harper Torchbooks
Kiadás éve:
1965
Kiadás helye:
New York
Kötés típusa:
ragasztott papír
Terjedelem:
285
Nyelv:
angol
Méret:
Szélesség: 13.50cm, Magasság: 20.00cm
Kategória:
Contents

Acknowledgements 9
Authors' Foreword
GENERAL INTRODUCTION: COSMOLOGY 15
PART I: THE SOURCES OF THE OLD ORDER
I CELESTIAL FORECASTING 23
The Sources 24
The Problems 26
The Background of the Problems 3o
The Solution to the Problems 34
The Wider Issues 41
How the Babylonians Computed Conjunctions 48
2 THE INVENTION OF THEORY 52
The Sources 52
The Background 54
The Character of Greek Theory 58
The First Theories 64
From Ingredients to Axioms 6g
Plato's Geometrical Astronomy 79
3 THE PREMATURE SYNTHBSIS 90
Aristotle's Programme 91
Motion and Change 93
The Celestial Mechanism 105
The Size ot. the Earth's Sphere II2
4 DOUBTERS AND HERETICS 115
Patching up the Dynamics I 17
Amending the Astronomy 119
Aristarchos' Heliocentric Theory 122
7


5 PHYSICS LOSES MOMENTUM 128
Four Questions 129
The Political Background to Late Greek Astronomy 131
The Scientific Background: The Retreat from Physics 133
The Scientific Background: An Acquisition 136
Ptolemy's Mathematical Astronomy 137
The Wider Revolt against Philosophy 145
Archimedes and the Circle 149
PART II: THE NEW PERSPECTIVE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
6 THE INTERREGNUM 153
The Roundabout Joumey 153
The Mediaeval Revival 158
The Background to Copernicus 161
Mediaeval Arguments about the Moving Earth 165
Copernicus: His Aim and his Theory 169
Copemicus: His Achievement 175
7 PREPARING THE GROUND 182
The Background of the New Science 182
The Work of Tycho Brahe 184
Galileo's Telescopic Discoveries 189
Johann Kepler's Astronomical Physics 198
8 THE CREATION OF MECHANICS 210
The Change from Aristotle to Newton 211
Treating Motion Mathematically 213
Motion and Force 221
The New Ideal: Straight-Line Motion 225
9 THE NEW PICTURE TAKES SHAPE 228
The Man and his Task 229
Newton's Argument 232
The Character of Newton's Achievement 238
The Unity of Craft and Theory 245
10 THE WIDENING HORIZON 250
The Loose Ends: (1) Planetary Inequalities 25o
The Loose Ends: (2) The Mechanism of Gravity 256
The Larger-Scale Picture 261
The Wider Influences of Newton 264
Certainty and Scientific Theory 268
Index 273
A section of illustrations appears hetween pages 96 and 97.


Stephen Toulmin

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