"A magisterial comparative sociology of the relationship between specific social contexts and scientific creativity in seventeenth-century Europe, the Ottoman Empire, Mughal India, and China. With a remarkable eye for detail, Huff elegantly poses the big questions about the past, present, and possible future of modern science in a globalized world." - Zaheer Baber, University of Toronto
"Using the invention and dispersal of the telescope as a probe, Toby Huff examines the initial impact of this discovery machine in Europe compared with the Ottoman and Mughal empires and Ming China. He then turns to other scientific discoveries of the West and their surprisingly absent influence elsewhere. Huff's carefully documented research brings this material together in an altogether new way. His fascinating and lucid historico-sociological investigation casts brilliant light on the preeminence of the West today." - Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
"Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution disseminates genuine information about the crucial role played by the West in the history of science, showing that after many centuries of near scientific inactivity, the West, beginning in the twelfth century, saw the virtue of absorbing science and natural philosophy from Greco-Islamic sources. For the numerous reasons Huff presents, the culture of the West, with its corporations, universities, and other features, made it feasible for science to emerge as a powerful force. Huff presents this entire process in a lucid and engaging manner, using the telescope as the instrument that most vividly reveals the striking differences between Europe and the civilizations of China, the Mughals, and the Ottomans. I believe his book will have a significant impact on the history of science, and on history generally." - Edward Grant, Indiana University
"This is a well-researched, objectively written, eminently readable book. Anyone interested in any dimension of modern science and technology will find it useful." - Rajesh Kochhar, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali
"...essential reading for all historians of science..." -James Hannam, Quodlibeta
"Toby E. Huff's project in Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution: A Global Perspective is to explore what happened after 1500 to trigger this singular convergence and climax." -J. B. Shank, Journal of World History
This study begins with the Dutch-invented telescope of 1608 and then casts Galileo's discoveries with it into a global framework. Although the telescope was soon transmitted to China, Mughal India, and the Ottoman Empire, those civilizations did not respond as Europeans did to the new instrument. These and subsequent unique developments in modern science, technology, and educational practice suggest why the West experienced a singular scientific and economic ascendancy of at least four centuries.