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A History of Science — Volume 2 by Williams

Produced by Charles Keller

A HISTORY OF SCIENCE

BY HENRY SMITH WILLIAMS, M.D., LL.D.

ASSISTED BY EDWARD H. WILLIAMS, M.D.

IN FIVE VOLUMES

VOLUME II.

CONTENTS

BOOK II

CHAPTER I. SCIENCE IN THE DARK AGE

CHAPTER II. MEDIAEVAL SCIENCE AMONG THE ARABIANS

CHAPTER III. MEDIAEVAL SCIENCE IN THE WEST

CHAPTER IV. THE NEW COSMOLOGY--COPERNICUS TO KEPLER AND GALILEO

CHAPTER V. GALILEO AND THE NEW PHYSICS

CHAPTER VI. TWO PSEUDO-SCIENCES--ALCHEMY AND ASTROLOGY

CHAPTER VII. FROM PARACELSUS TO HARVEY

CHAPTER VIII. MEDICINE IN THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES

CHAPTER IX. PHILOSOPHER-SCIENTISTS AND NEW INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING

CHAPTER X. THE SUCCESSORS OF GALILEO IN PHYSICAL SCIENCE

CHAPTER XI. NEWTON AND THE COMPOSITION OF LIGHT

CHAPTER XII. NEWTON AND THE LAW OF GRAVITATION

CHAPTER XIII. INSTRUMENTS OF PRECISION IN THE AGE OF NEWTON

CHAPTER XIV. PROGRESS IN ELECTRICITY FROM GILBERT AND VON GUERICKE TO FRANKLIN

CHAPTER XV. NATURAL HISTORY TO THE TIME OF LINNAEUS

APPENDIX

A HISTORY OF SCIENCE

BOOK II. THE BEGINNINGS OF MODERN SCIENCE

The studies of the present book cover the progress of science from the close of the Roman period in the fifth century A.D. to about the middle of the eighteenth century. In tracing the course of events through so long a period, a difficulty becomes prominent which everywhere besets the historian in less degree--a difficulty due to the conflict between the strictly chronological and the topical method of treatment. We must hold as closely as possible to the actual sequence of events, since, as already pointed out, one discovery leads on to another. But, on the other hand, progressive steps are taken contemporaneously in the various fields of science, and if we were to attempt to introduce these in strict chronological order we should lose all sense of topical continuity.

Our method has been to adopt a compromise, following the course of a single science in each great epoch to a convenient stopping-point, and then turning back to bring forward the story of another science. Thus, for example, we tell the story of Copernicus and Galileo, bringing the record of cosmical and mechanical progress down to about the middle of the seventeenth century, before turning back to take up the physiological progress of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Once the latter stream is entered, however, we follow it without interruption to the time of Harvey and his contemporaries in the middle of the seventeenth century, where we leave it to return to the field of mechanics as exploited by the successors of Galileo, who were also the predecessors and contemporaries of Newton.


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