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The Oxford Guide to the History of Physics and Astronomy [Kindle Edition]

John L. Heilbron
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Print List Price: £23.99
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Book Description

With over 150 alphabetically arranged entries about key scientists, concepts, discoveries, technological innovations, and learned institutions, the Oxford Guide to Physics and Astronomy traces the history of physics and astronomy from the Renaissance to the present. For students, teachers, historians, scientists, and readers of popular science books such as Galileo's Daughter, this guide deciphers the methods and philosophies of physics and astronomy as well as the historical periods from which they emerged. Meant to serve the lay reader and the professional alike, this book can be turned to for the answer to how scientists learned to measure the speed of light, or consulted for neat, careful summaries of topics as complicated as quantum field theory and as vast as the universe.
The entries, each written by a noted scholar and edited by J. L. Heilbron, Professor of History and Vice Chancellor, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, reflect the most up-to-date research and discuss the applications of the scientific disciplines to the wider world of religion, law, war, art and literature. No other source on these two branches of science is as informative or as inviting. Thoroughly cross-referenced and accented by dozens of black and white illustrations, the Oxford Guide to Physics and Astronomy is the source to turn to for anyone looking for a quick explanation of alchemy, x-rays and any type of matter or energy in between.

Product Description

About the Author

John L. Heilbron is Professor of History and Vice Chancellor, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley. His most recent books include The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science, The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories, and Geometry Civilized: History, Culture, Technique.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1816 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0195171985
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (7 April 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00590X5PS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #714,454 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stars in my eyes 3 April 2006
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
'The Oxford Guide to the History of Physics and Astronomy', edited by John Heilbron, is a wonderful reference resource, but also an interesting book to read. It is organised as an encyclopedic dictionary, with over 200 entries that range in size from half a page to several pages in length. This covers history from the a little past the Renaissance to the present (with occasional references to earlier discoveries and events), including entries in other sciences such as geography and oceanography and how they relate to the issues in physics and astronomy.
Entries include topics, biographies, short essays, inventions and concepts. The biographical entries are generally paired - figures such as Einstein and Newton warrant their own entries (as does Benjamin Franklin for some inexplicable reason), but sometimes the pairings don't quite seem to fit (Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, for example, are both popularisers of physics and astronomy, but perhaps deserve somewhat better pairings). For the concept of the pairings, inspiration seems drawn from Plutarch, whose magnum opus 'Lives' paired biographies of notable figures.
The overall organisation is alphabetical, but there is also a complex hierarchy of entries as well that includes primary articles for comprehensive disciplines, principle subdivisions within the disciplines, and third level entries on specific items within the subdivisions (including biographies). There are extensive cross-references as well, in addition to supplemental reading lists.
In some ways, this book is a subset of the greater work, 'The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science' - there is a complete listing of entries for that work included in this text, to show how this area of science fits within the greater whole (for one thing).
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stars in my eyes 3 April 2006
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
'The Oxford Guide to the History of Physics and Astronomy', edited by John Heilbron, is a wonderful reference resource, but also an interesting book to read. It is organised as an encyclopedic dictionary, with over 200 entries that range in size from half a page to several pages in length. This covers history from the a little past the Renaissance to the present (with occasional references to earlier discoveries and events), including entries in other sciences such as geography and oceanography and how they relate to the issues in physics and astronomy.

Entries include topics, biographies, short essays, inventions and concepts. The biographical entries are generally paired - figures such as Einstein and Newton warrant their own entries (as does Benjamin Franklin for some inexplicable reason), but sometimes the pairings don't quite seem to fit (Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, for example, are both popularisers of physics and astronomy, but perhaps deserve somewhat better pairings). For the concept of the pairings, inspiration seems drawn from Plutarch, whose magnum opus 'Lives' paired biographies of notable figures.

The overall organisation is alphabetical, but there is also a complex hierarchy of entries as well that includes primary articles for comprehensive disciplines, principle subdivisions within the disciplines, and third level entries on specific items within the subdivisions (including biographies). There are extensive cross-references as well, in addition to supplemental reading lists.

In some ways, this book is a subset of the greater work, 'The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science' - there is a complete listing of entries for that work included in this text, to show how this area of science fits within the greater whole (for one thing).

One thing I found about this book, however, is that it is a compelling read. When I first received the book, I stopped to look up a few items, and found myself still reading through articles and following the cross-references more than an hour later. Despite being a reference book, it is an accessible and inviting text to for the reader, which is the mark of a good history text. For anyone interested in physics, astronomy, or the history of science, this is a text to be prized.
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Edition is very bad 1 Aug. 2014
By Rafael J. P. dos Santos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Kindle Edition is terrible. There is no real Table of Contents, making it very hard to browse for the content you wish. Also, the Index shows page numbers that do not match the Kindle Edition. Not worth the price.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. A terrific reference book 25 July 2014
By Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent. A terrific reference book.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Rounded Overview 5 Aug. 2006
By Tom Hannigan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I saw this book while browsing at Borders. I've been finding that I need more reference material in my home library, especially with a renewed interest in Anstronomy and a sudden curiousity with Physics. I find the book as much entertaining as it is informative. And, its become a real pleasure to sit down with it for 30 minutes at a time and read about the human as well as the mechanical aspects of these two fascinating subjects.
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