A Short History of Science

A Short History of Science

Printed: 19.99 $eBook: 4.99 $
Series: Red Line History Books
Genres: Academics, Non-Fiction, Science & Nature & Philosophy Books
Publisher: e-Kitap Projesi & Cheapest Books
Publication Year: 2015
Format: (eBook + Printed)
Length: English, 6" x 9" (15 x 23 cm), 550 pages
Narrator: H. W. Tyler
ASIN: 1505927536
ISBN: 9781505927535

The present book, while in part a revision of Sedgwick and Tyler's Short History of Science, is to a great extent new. Like the earlier work, it is the outgrowth of a course of lectures given for a number of years to undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Doctor Sedgwick having died some years after the publication of the first edition, the surviving author undertook the preparation of a revised edition and invited R. P. Bigelow, who had taken part in the lecture course, to share the editorial responsibility in cooperation with colleagues verse in other fields.

About the Book

The intervening years have heightened the appreciation of the enormous difficulty of the undertaking. On the other hand, the increased interest in the subject, as exemplified in college orientation courses, and the absence of a text book of similar scope and aim have seemed to justify a second edition.  

The editors have deliberately abstained from any attempt to bring the history up to date in such matters as the new mathematical physics and the advances in the chemical and biological sciences characteristic of thetwentieth century, since the available literature on these topics is abundant, and it may be doubted if they are not stil too close to our generation for a just historical perspective. 


A history of science might be based on some more or less logical system of definitions and classification. Such systems and such points of view belong to relatively recent and mature periods. Science has grown without much self-consciousness as to how it is defined, without any great concern as to the distinction between pure and applied science, or as to the boundaries between the different sciences. 

The periods at which primitive man of different races began to have conscious appreciation of the phenomena of nature, of number, magnitude, and geometric forms can never be known, nor the time at which their elementary notions began to be so classified and associated as to deserve the name of science. Very early in any civilization, however, there must obviously have been developed simple processes of counting and adding, of time and distance measurement, of the geometry and arithmetic involved in land measurement and in architectural design and construction. 


There is no language without some numerals, though in extreme cases the range may be merely one, two, many (i.e., more-than two) ; and for most of us such a word as million is nearly equivalent to an innumerable multitude.

The process of counting is naturally facilitated by the use of fingers and toes as counters, their number 10 being the well-known anatomical basis for our decimal number system.

About the Author
William Thompson Sedgwick

William Thompson Sedgwick (1855–1921) was a teacher, epidemiologist, bacteriologist, and a key figure in shaping public health in the United States. He was president of many scientific and professional organizations during his lifetime including president of the American Public Health Association in 1915. He was one of three founders of the joint MIT-Harvard School of Public Health in 1913. In 1883, Sedgwick was appointed to the faculty at MIT. He was promoted to associate professor in 1884 and to full professor in 1891. He became head of what ultimately became known as the Department of Biology at MIT. In 1888, Sedgwick began giving lectures in bacteriology to students in the civil engineering curriculum. His students became the spokesmen and practitioners who brought the principles of public health into the practice of engineering beginning in the 1890s and lasting well into the 20th century. While he has been hailed as the first scientific American epidemiologist, Sedgwick was also described as not having a mathematical mind. He taught ideas and principles to his students.

He instilled in his students the need to develop three basic behaviors: a vision of the subject in relation to the broader world, an honest method of working to seek the truth and an enthusiasm for service to the profession the public. In 1902, he published the groundbreaking book, Principles of Sanitary Science and the Public Health, which was a compilation of his lectures from the courses he taught at MIT and a distillation of his experience working in the field. Sedgwick influenced many practitioners in the field of public health. He played a key role in Samuel Cate Prescott's choice to go into bacteriology as a career, and was instrumental in Prescott's selection in the canning research with William Lyman Underwood in 1895–6 that would lead to the growth of food technology.

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