Science: A Four Thousand Year History rewrites science's past. Instead of focussing on difficult experiments and abstract theories, Patricia Fara shows how science has always belonged to the practical world of war, politics, and business. Rather than glorifying scientists as idealized heroes, she tells true stories about real people - men (and some women) who needed to earn their living, who made mistakes, and who trampled down their rivals in their quest for success. Fara sweeps through the centuries, from ancient Babylon right up to the latest hi-tech experiments in genetics and particle physics, illuminating the financial interests, imperial ambitions, and publishing enterprises that have made science the powerful global phenomenon that it is today. She also ranges internationally, illustrating the importance of scientific projects based around the world, from China to the Islamic empire, as well as the more familiar tale of science in Europe, from Copernicus to Charles Darwin and beyond. Above all, this four thousand year history challenges scientific supremacy, arguing controversially that science is successful not because it is always right - but because people have said that it is right.
Published by OUP Oxford on 02/11/2010
Book details: 424 pages.
Written by the prize-winning author Patricia Fara, this is a book packed with differences. Its main character is Dr Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles, but Erasmus Darwin is more original and innovative than a straightforward biography. Inviting her readers to accompany her on a tour of the past, Fara describes the impact that Erasmus Darwin had on his eighteenth-century colleagues, impressing many with his poetry but scandalizing others by puttingforward ideas about evolution before his grandson had even been born. Based in the Midlands, this ebullient yet compassionate doctor influenced contemporary society as well - as the science of the future.
Published by Oxford University Press on 09/13/2012
Book details: 322 pages.
Many extraordinary female scientists, doctors, and engineers tasted independence and responsibility for the first time during the First World War. How did this happen? Patricia Fara reveals how suffragists, such as Virginia Woolf's sister, Ray Strachey, had already aligned themselves with scientific and technological progress, and that during the dark years of war they mobilized women to enter conventionally male domains such as science and medicine. Fara tells the stories of women such as: mental health pioneer Isabel Emslie, chemist Martha Whiteley, a co-inventor of tear gas, and botanist Helen Gwynne Vaughan. Women were now carrying out vital research in many aspects of science, but could it last? Though suffragist Millicent Fawcett declared triumphantly that 'the war revolutionised the industrial position of women. It found them serfs, and left them free', the outcome was very different. Although women had helped the country to victory and won the vote for those over thirty, they had lost the battle for equality. Men returning from the Front reclaimed their jobs, and conventional hierarchies were re-established even though the nation now knew that women were fully capable of performing work traditionally reserved for men. Fara examines how the bravery of these pioneer women scientists, temporarily allowed into a closed world before the door clanged shut again, paved the way for today's women scientists. Yet, inherited prejudices continue to limit women's scientific opportunities.
Published by Oxford University Press on 01/05/2018
Book details: 304 pages.
Isaac Newton is now universally celebrated as a genius of science, renowned for his innovatory work on gravity and optics. Yet Newton did not always enjoy such legendary status. His posthumous reputation has constantly changed and is riddled with contradictions. NEWTON investigates the different ways in which Newton's life and works have been interpreted at different times. It charts his transformation into a scientific genius, explaining the changing attitude of the scientific community towards Newton's ideas, from Berkeley to Einstein. It also explores the making of Newton the national hero, through the myths that surround him and the many artistic and literary descriptions of him. NEWTON tells the fascinating story of Newton's reputation, shedding light on the growth of science generally and on our changing attitude towards our intellectual heritage. 'Fara's brilliant book is not so much a biography as the story of a phenomenon . . . fascinating' Scotsman 'Fara does not debunk Newton as recent novelists have but delivers him more whole and greater than ever' Sunday Herald
Published by Pan Macmillan on 07/06/2011
Book details: 368 pages.
'Had God intended Women merely as a finer sort of cattle, he would not have made them reasonable.' Writing in 1673, Bathsua Makin was one of the first women to insist that girls should receive a scientific education. Despite the efforts of Makin and her successors, women were excluded from universities until the end of the nineteenth century, yet they found other ways to participate in scientific projects. Taking a fresh look at history, Pandora's Breeches investigates how women contributed to scientific progress. As well as collaborating in home-based research, women corresponded with internationally-renowned scholars, hired tutors, published their own books and translated and simplified important texts, such as Newton's book on gravity. They played essential roles in work frequently attributed solely to their husbands, fathers or friends.
Published by Random House on 01/18/2011
Book details: 288 pages.
Electricity was the scientific fashion of the Enlightenment, 'an Entertainment for Angels, rather than for Men'. By demonstrating their control of the natural world, Enlightenment philosophers hoped to gain authority over society. And their stunning electrical performances provided dramatic evidence of their special powers. Using contemporary illustrations, Patricia Fara vividly portrays how Franklin and his colleagues struggled to understand the strange and exciting effects their experiments were producing.
Published by Icon Books on 09/03/2009
Book details: 192 pages.
In this interdisciplinary study of eighteenth-century England, Patricia Fara explores how natural philosophers constructed magnetism as a science, appropriating the skills and knowledge of experienced navigators. For people of this period, magnetic phenomena reverberated with the symbolism of occult mystery, sexual attraction, and universal sympathies; in this maritime nation, magnetic instruments such as navigational compasses heralded imperial expansion, commercial gain, and scientific progress. By analyzing such multiple associations, Fara reconstructs cultural interactions in the days just prior to the creation of disciplinary science. Not only does this illustrated book provide a kaleidoscopic view of a changing society, but it also portrays the emergence of public science. Linking this rise in interest to the utility and mysteriousness of magnetism, Fara organizes her discussion into themes, including commercialization, imperialism, instruments and invention, the role of language, attitudes toward the past, and the relationship between religion and natural philosophy. Fara shows that natural philosophers, proclaiming themselves as the only true experts on magnetism, actively participated in massive transformations of English life. In their bids for public recognition as elite specialists, they engaged in controversies that resonated with religious, economic, moral, gender, and political implications. These struggles for social and scientific authority in the eighteenth century provide the background for better understanding the cultural topography of modern society. Originally published in 1996. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Published by Princeton University Press on 07/14/2014
Book details: 342 pages.
"Enticing ... with a sharp eye for 18th-century mores, this is an engrossing exploration of the growth of the British Empire." Good Book Guide
Published by Icon Books on 01/01/2004
Book details: 176 pages.
This engaging volume for the general reader explores how individuals and societies remember, forget and commemorate events of the past. The collection of eight essays takes an interdisciplinary approach to address the relationships between individual experience and collective memory, with leading experts from the arts and sciences. We might expect scientists to be concerned with studying just the mental and physical processes involved in remembering, and humanities scholars to be interested in the products of memory, such as books, statues and music. This collection exposes the falseness of such a dichotomy, illustrating the insights into memory which can be gained by juxtaposing the complementary perspectives of specialists venturing beyond the normal boundaries of their disciplines. The authors come from backgrounds as diverse as psychoanalysis, creative writing, neuroscience, social history and medicine.
Published by Cambridge University Press on 09/03/1998
Book details: 201 pages.
Giuliano Pancaldi sets us within the cosmopolitan cultures of Enlightenment Europe to tell the story of Alessandro Volta--the brilliant man whose name is forever attached to electromotive force. Providing fascinating details, many previously unknown, Pancaldi depicts Volta as an inventor who used his international network of acquaintances to further his quest to harness the power of electricity. This is the story of a man who sought recognition as a natural philosopher and ended up with an invention that would make an everyday marvel of electric lighting. Examining the social and scientific contexts in which Volta operated--as well as Europe's reception of his most famous invention--Volta also offers a sustained inquiry into long-term features of science and technology as they developed in the early age of electricity. Pancaldi considers the voltaic cell, or battery, as a case study of Enlightenment notions and their consequences, consequences that would include the emergence of the "scientist" at the expense of the "natural philosopher." Throughout, Pancaldi highlights the complex intellectual, technological, and social ferment that ultimately led to our industrial societies. In so doing, he suggests that today's supporters and critics of Enlightenment values underestimate the diversity and contingency inherent in science and technology--and may be at odds needlessly. Both an absorbing biography and a study of scientific and technological creativity, this book offers new insights into the legacies of the Enlightenment while telling the remarkable story of the now-ubiquitous battery.
Published by Princeton University Press on 06/05/2018
Book details: 201 pages.