Notice the history of science:
The more you know, the more you notice.
The history of science can be approached either as the history of certain ideas or as the history of men who tried to understand the universe. The first way is pretty abstract, but the second suffers from a certain silliness. Men of science have made many kinds of mistakes and some are not much worth remembering.
My ideal to to follow Duhem’s approach in his history of physics found in the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913. Here he gives the history of specific and important ideas of physics as they came to us through individual men who worked them out. A good balance between the men and the ideas. Each good scientist added an insight and then inevitably got stuck — so that his thoughts after he got stuck are of mixed interest, sometimes pointing to the next step, sometimes just floundering, sometimes boldly declaring that there could be no further answers.
Pretty funny, that. You never know which things will be easy to answer and which hard. Hang around a little.
This semester, we have skipped through the disciplines, giving a week or two to each. I have not always been able to keep up the blog because of family events, sickness, and travel, but we’ve done pretty well, and as we have moved along, it has been interesting to see how each discipline has things to offer to the others. For example, progress in astronomy needed progress in glass-making and lens grinding to make the telescope; progress in geology needed the chemistry of the radioactive elements to get its best dates. And so on.
- History of Science
- a quick history up to 1600: from observation to universities to new and more precise tools
- Lavoisier Hakim 25
- Five Classical Elements: dialogue
- Atoms and Form
- More about Lavoisier — chapter 26 of Hakim
- Antimony This element was important for the invention of printing.
- History of geology: early mining
- Geology through the 17th century
- Geology 18th century
- Geology: the 19th century
- Geology: 20th century
History Books in Science
- The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes
- History of Science: Newman at the Center, by Joy Hakim