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Ofer Gal – The Origins of Modern Science

14 March 2021 starting 3:30 pm for 4:00 pm

To be launched by Professors John Gagne and Ben Brown

The Origins of Modern Science is the first attempt at a synthetic account of the history of science in many decades. Providing readers of all backgrounds and students of all disciplines with the tools to study science like a historian, Ofer Gal covers a breathtaking array of topics from antiquity through the Scientific Revolution, from Pythagorean mathematics to Newton’s Principia

The narrative meanders through Islamic medicine, medieval architecture, global commerce, Mongol astronomy and scholarly and practical magic.  Richly illustrated throughout, the book introduces scientific reasoning and practices in accessible and engaging ways, with an emphasis on the complex relationships between institutions, beliefs and political structures and customs. It offers valuable new insights into the role that science plays both in history and in the world today, placing the crucial challenges to science and technology of our time within their historical and cultural context.

In the words of Andrew Gregory from University College, London:

A fascinating book dealing with the rise of modern science in a broader perspective as a human intellectual achievement, one that was contingent on the fallible thoughts and actions of real people, rather than the inevitable triumph of disembodied ideas.  The book deserves to be widely read, not only by histroians of science but by a much broader audience interested in the generation of knowledge as a human phenomenon.

And John Servos of Amherst College adds: 

Ofer Gal is a superb guide to the history of science. Students will appreciate his clarity, well-chosen illustrations and strong thematic exposition. Instructors will delight in his erudition, synthetic power and fresh historical vision. All can read this book with pleasure and profit. It is the gold standard in texts on science from antiquity to Newton.

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