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The Book of the Cosmos Paperback – January 15, 2002
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The ancient Greeks hit the ground running, leaving us a rich conceptual legacy, which we are still exploring and exploiting even as our own work becomes more and more machine-mediated. Danielson gives us a wide base of ancient thought to give a sense of our heritage. He includes both obvious choices, such as Plato, and lesser-known writers, such as Parmenides. The often neglected Middle Ages brought us Ptolemy, Moses Maimonides, and others who set the stage for the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and the writings from these times betray an unexpected continuity of thought between the ancient and modern eras. Of course, the late-20th-century selections of such writers as Freeman Dyson and Steven Weinberg, which close the book, shouldn't imply an end to cosmological thinking. If anything, the last chapters of The Book of the Cosmos provoke a hunger for more. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
As a science buff, I'm used to reading the latest books on physics, cosmology, etc. by modern-day leading scientists. But in this book, you get to see how the best thinkers of each age took what was known and put it together to explain the universe. And you get to see it in their own words, supplemented by Danielson's concise but insightful commentary.
This seems to me a book for both non-scientist and scientist. For the non-scientist, Danielson makes even the latest physics very understandable. For example, his description of Einsteinian gravity in the Wheeler chapter is as accessible an explanation of general relativity as I have seen in any popular book, and far better than those of my old introductory physics books. Any high schooler should understand it. Danielson seems to be able to draw out the essential ideas from both modern and ancient scientists and present them in a non-technical but accurate way. He also includes some very fun contributions, such as George Bernard Shaw's hilarious toast to Albert Einstein.
And I like the way each thinker's thoughts are presented in a short chapter-sort of bite-size stories. This means a person can pick it up and put it down without losing the thread. The chapters are presented almost exclusively in historical order, but I chose to hop around from era to era. In fact, the historical order lets you hop around without losing the sense of the historical context. I found it fun picking up the book and deciding which big name I was going to read next.
I think scientists should like the book too and find it valuable.Read more ›
I was immediately entranced by The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking (Perseus Publishing) edited by Dennis Richard Danielson. This 500-page book looks at how western culture has viewed the nature of the universe down through the ages from sacred writings to modern physicists. Danielson, an English professor, brings a literary sensibility to his millennia-spanning collection. He includes writings by familiar scientists (Archimedes, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Einstein and Hawking) as well as their ecclesiastical and secular supporters and critics. More surprising, he includes the poet Dante, playwright George Bernard Shaw, and genre writers G. K. Chesterton, Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Clarke. Eighty-five brief "chapters" are organized into six chronological sections from the ancients in "Cosmological Origins" to the moderns in "Beginning and Ends." Danielson reminds us that "cosmos" comes from the Greek word that means to make order out of chaos. He succeeds in imposing his order on these myriad materials as well as "evoking the very mixture of beauty and awe that draws us to contemplate this great universe in the first place."
Ijust loved it, kept me reading until the end.
rob clode Australian high country.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to buy this book for a class. It's all excerpts from other publications. However, it is SO BORING. Read morePublished on June 7, 2013 by Veronica Brooks
Finished reading "The Book of the Cosmos" by Dennis Danielson. If I knew where this book was going, I probably would not have pushed through reading the whole thing after putting... Read morePublished on March 16, 2013 by T. Stephens
I picked this book out of the astronomy section at the local library because I wanted to learn more about the history of cosmology and because a quick glance gave me the impression... Read morePublished on August 13, 2010 by Margaret Ball
Awesome looking book, but the seller (Amazon.com) sent me a damaged book. I'm pretty disappointed. It had a huge, heavy crease through the entire book. Read morePublished on August 19, 2008 by Thomas E. Sherwood
Ever put on your favourite TV show only to find out they made a "clip" episode just full of all the old moments so the episode itself has nothing too new to say? Read morePublished on February 27, 2006 by E. Cubukgil