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Showing: 1-10 results of 5668

This is the first comprehensive study of an ingenious number-notation from the Middle Ages that was devised by monks and mainly used in monasteries. A simple notation for representing any number up to 99 by a single cipher, somehow related to an ancient Greek shorthand, first appeared in early-13th-century England, brought from Athens by an English monk. A second, more useful version, due to Cistercian monks, is first attested in the late 13th century... more...

On January 5, 1845, the Prussian cultural minister received a request by a group of six young men to form a new Physical Society in Berlin. In fields from thermodynamics, mechanics, and electromagnetism to animal electricity, ophthalmology, and psychophysics, members of this small but growing group—which soon included Emil Du Bois-Reymond, Ernst Brücke, Werner Siemens, and Hermann von Helmholtz—established leading positions in what... more...

In modern life, technology is everywhere. Yet as a concept, technology is a mess. In popular discourse, technology is little more than the latest digital innovations. Scholars do little better, offering up competing definitions that include everything from steelmaking to singing. In Technology: Critical History of a Concept, Eric Schatzberg explains why technology is so difficult to define by examining its three thousand year history,... more...

If the twentieth century saw the rise of “Big Science,” then the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were surely an age of thrift. As Simon Werrett’s new history shows, frugal early modern experimenters transformed their homes into laboratories as they recycled, repurposed, repaired, and reused their material possessions to learn about the natural world.   Thrifty Science explores this distinctive culture of experiment... more...

Knowledge matters, and states have a stake in managing its movement to protect a variety of local and national interests.  The view that knowledge circulates by itself in a flat world, unimpeded by national boundaries, is a myth. The transnational movement of knowledge is a social accomplishment, requiring negotiation, accommodation, and adaptation to the specificities of local contexts.  This volume of essays by historians... more...


Critically exploring medical thought in a cultural milieu with no discernible influence from the European Enlightenment, Being Human in a Buddhist World reveals an otherwise unnoticed intersection of early modern sensibilities and religious values in traditional Tibetan medicine. It further studies the adaptation of Buddhist concepts and values to medical concerns and suggests important dimensions of Buddhism's role in the development of Asian and... more...

“Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.” Since Niels Bohr said this many years ago, quantum mechanics has only been getting more shocking. We now realize that it’s not really telling us that “weird” things happen out of sight, on the tiniest level, in the atomic world: rather, everything is quantum. But if quantum mechanics is correct, what seems obvious and right in our everyday world is built... more...

Is it possible for the economy to grow without the environment being destroyed? Will our lifestyles impoverish the planet for our children and grandchildren? Is the world sick? Can it be healed? Less than a lifetime ago, these questions would have made no sense. This was not because our ancestors had no impact on nature―nor because they were unaware of the serious damage they had done. What people lacked was an idea: a way of imagining... more...

Asked to name a great physicist, most people would mention Newton or Einstein, Feynman or Hawking. But ask a physicist and there’s no doubt that James Clerk Maxwell will be near the top of the list. Maxwell, an unassuming Victorian Scotsman, explained how we perceive colour. He uncovered the way gases behave. And, most significantly, he transformed the way physics was undertaken in his explanation of the interaction of electricity... more...

The unusual ambition of this volume is to engage scientists, historians, and philosophers in a common quest to delineate the structure of the creative thinking responsible for major advances in physical theory. The topic does not fit anyone discipline's proprietary interests, and can only be pursued cooperatively. This volume was conceived in the hope that the importance of learning something general about how theories are developed and what makes the... more...