EARTH: From Myths to Knowledge

Book number: 91459 Product format: Hardback Author: HUBERT KRIVINE

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Bibliophile price £5.00
Published price £20

To understand the Universe we must first comprehend the language and read the letters in which it is composed, the language of mathematics. The book is not merely a history of scientific learning but a stirring defence of Enlightenment values in the quest for human advancement, and how mankind discovered the size, trajectory and age of the Earth. Our planet's elliptical orbit around the Sun and its billions-of-years existence are facts we take for granted, but humanity's struggle towards these scientific truths have lasted millennia. Krivine tells the story of the thinkers and scientists whose work allowed our species to put an age to the planet and pinpoint our place in the solar system. It is a history of bold innovators - not only Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler, but Halley, Kelvin, Darwin and Rutherford among many others. Courage, iniquity, religious dogmatism, genius and blind luck all played a part of freeing the mind from the constraints of cant, ideology and superstition. Chapters include The 20th Century and Radio Activity, The Construction of Heliocentrism and The Battle Over It. The crucial question of knowing whether earth really is immobile, the centre of the universe lay at the root of the battle between the Catholic Church and Galileo, and like many historical battles it has often been simplified. Until the 18th century, scientists (intellectuals) were all believers, even men of the church. Galileo was far from being isolated or misunderstood. Just like Kepler, with whom he corresponded, he was honoured as one of the leading mathematicians of his time and the protégé of the future Pope Urban VIII, who nonetheless had him condemned in 1633. Giordano Bruno and Tycho Brahe, the first a mystic obsessed by a vision of the cosmos, the second a meticulous observer of the positions of the heavenly bodies, were totally different individuals on different paths. Both helped to shatter Ptolemy's construction. Page turning history, beautifully told. 282pp, dozens of diagrams.

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ISBN 9781781687994

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