Building on the work of Foucault, Giddens, Jameson and Lefebvre, one of America's geographers argues for a rethinking of the dialectics of space, time and social being.
These are notions so basic to our view of life that we take them for granted. But in the seventeenth century they were revolutionary, heretical, even dangerous to the men who formed them. Culture, religion, and science had intertwined over the centuries to create a world view based on a stationary earth. Indeed, if the earth moved, would not birds be blown off the trees and would not an object thrown straight up come down far away?
Then came the Renaissance and with it Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Huygens, and Newton: giants who courageously remade the world into an earth which actually moves 100,000 feet a second while revolving 1,000 miles an hour around an object 93,000,000 miles away. And yet birds perch unruffled and an apple will fall straight down.
All of this we think we know. But how well do we know it? In the twenty-five years since its first publication, The Birth of a New Physics has become a classic in the history of science. Here expanded by more than one-third and fully updated, it not only offers us the best account of the greatest scientific revolution but also tells us how we can know we live in a dynamic universe.
Using simple mathematical formulas, most as basic as Pythagoras's theorem and requiring only a very limited knowledge of mathematics, Professor Huntley explores the fascinating relationship between geometry and aesthetics. Poetry, patterns like Pascal's triangle, philosophy, psychology, music, and dozens of simple mathematical figures are enlisted to show that the "divine proportion" or "golden ratio" is a feature of geometry and analysis which awakes answering echoes in the human psyche. When we judge a work of art aesthetically satisfying, according to his formulation, we are making it conform to a pattern whose outline is laid down in simple geometrical figures; and it is the analysis of these figures which forms the core of Professor Huntley's book.
For the philosopher, scientist, poet, art historian, music listener, artist, as well as the general reader who wants to understand more about the fascinating properties of numbers, this is a beautifully written, exciting account of the search for a naturally manifested aesthetic that has occupied man since he first asked the question "why?"
"This is a delightful book to read. . . . It wanders here and there through some of the most attractive byways of simple mathematics, returning always to the oddities and pleasures of the golden section. This is a browser's book -- a happy, untidy traveling or bedside book for those who know how to enjoy the charm of numbers and shapes." -- Dr. J. Bronowski, The Salk Institute.
If you think a negative charge is something that shows up on your credit card bill -- if you imagine that Ohm's Law dictates how long to meditate -- if you believe that Newtonian mechanics will fix your car -- you need The Cartoon Guide to Physics to set you straight.
You don't have to be a scientist to grasp these and many other complex ideas, because The Cartoon Guide to Physics explains them all: velocity, acceleration, explosions, electricity and magnetism, circuits -- even a taste of relativity theory -- and much more, in simple, clear, and, yes, funny illustrations. Physics will never be the same
Diane Ackerman's lusciously written grand tour of the realm of the senses includes conversations with an iceberg in Antarctica and a professional nose in New York, along with dissertations on kisses and tattoos, sadistic cuisine and the music played by the planet Earth."Delightful . . . gives the reader the richest possible feeling of the worlds the senses take in." --The New York Times
This introduction to the history of science in the seventeenth century examines the so-called 'scientific revolution' in terms of the interplay between two major themes. The Platonic-Pythagorean tradition looked on nature in geometric terms with the conviction that the cosmos was constructed according to the principles of mathematical order, while the mechanical philosophy conceived of nature as a huge machine and sought to explain the hidden mechanisms behind phenomena. Pursuing different goals, these two movements of thought tended to conflict with each other, and more than the obviously mathematical sciences were affected - the influence spread as far as chemistry and the life sciences. As this book demonstrates, the full fruition of the scientific revolution required a resolution of the tension between the two dominant trends.
Ranging from an autobiographical tour-de-force that describes a childhood spent with an alcoholic father to Looking at Women, a reflection on male yearning and confusion, to a look at the place--or absence--of nature in recent American fiction.