- Paperback: 355 pages
- Publisher: Little Brown & Co (September 1, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316117064
- ISBN-13: 978-0316117067
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 75 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Day the Universe Changed
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In The Day the Universe Changed, James Burke examines eight periods in history when our view of the world shifted dramatically: in the eleventh century, when extraordinary discoveries were made by Spanish crusaders; in fourteenth-century Florence, where perspective in painting emerged; in the fifteenth century, when the advent of the printing press shook the foundations of an oral society; in the sixteenth century, when gunnery developments triggered the birth of modern science; in the early eighteenth century, when hot English summers brought on the Industrial Revolution; in the battlefield surgery stations of the French revolutionary armies, where people first became statistics; in the nineteenth century, when the discovery of dinosaur fossils led to the theory of evolution; and in the 1820s, when electrical experiments heralded the end of scientific certainty. Based on the popular television documentary series, The Day the Universe Changed is a bestselling history that challenges the reader to decide whether there is absolute knowledge to discover - or whether the universe is "ultimately what we say it is."
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I would definitely recommend this book to anyone curious about history and its effects on life today. It's interesting to read about events that you may have heard of, but never really considered to be as important as they are. This book also sparks a lot of "what ifs". To anyone like me, hypothetical questions regarding the past are something that can be reflected on for hours, and it really helps to show how important every single little event is. With everything mentioned, I found it entertaining to sit and reflect for a few minutes, and really think about what may be different today without it. My only issue with the book was its occasional failure to tie everything back together at the end of a chapter, which sometimes caused confusion, but the conclusion of the book was very helpful and appreciated.
This book captures more of the background material that leads to his 'Connections' through history in ways that a 60 (and sadly, later 30) minute program simply cannot.
If you liked Connections, then you *have* to get this book. I promise it won't gather dust on your nightstand.
"At any time in the past, people have held a view of the way the universe works which was for them similarly definitive, whether it was based on myths or research. And at any time, that view they held was sooner or later altered by changes in the body of knowledge." This quote best describes James Burkes novel about certain periods in our history that changed the way we view our planet today. James Burke did an amazing work on his book The Day the Universe Changed. He uses very detailed and precise events to describe and relate our world today to theirs. Most importantly, he describes these events and explains how people have a different prospective about the world today. I would rate this book three stars.
The last chapter of the book is the best and should probably be read first. In this chapter, Burke summarizes the changes in science that have happened over the past 2500 years and how the lens through which we view the world control what scientists see and study. Unfortunately, though, the book lacks the editing that would have made it a great book. Burke was too wordy and used three paragraphs to discuss a point that was adequately covered in the first one. This was a reason it was hard for me to pick out the significance of the events.
Each chapter begins with a view of the world before "The Day the Universe Changed", for example, a world in which the sun revolves around the earth and the sun, moon, planets and stars each reside on Celestial Spheres. The book then sows how this view was changed by the observations of Copernicus, Tycho, Brahe, and Kepler, then how Galileo and then Newton synthesized this data into a new view of the heavens. The same sort of approach is given to chemistry, medicine, geology, biology and other fields. The main theme of the book is that the view of the universe is not static.
James Burke's book traces history backward and conceives of progress as a series of brilliant achievements that create in their influence outstretching ripples that set off the strides humans have made throughout time. The witty Burke explores these watershed moments that took humanity forward, each setting others in motion, crafting a ladder upon which , rung leading to rung, our species has reached the places where it is today. Several key thinkers are focused upon and certain events, some overlooked by popular history, are highlighted. This book makes for an enlightening and mentally-provocative study of the achievements of the human past.
Chapter 9, Part 2
Chapter 10, Part 3
Chapter 10, Part 4 (the end)
Chapter 10, Part 1
Chapter 10, Part 2
Chapter 9, Part 3
Chapter 9, Part 1
If you copy the content of the three CDs to your iPod you can rearrange the parts as necessary, but the order as it stands is totally confusing.
I happen to think the The Day The Universe Changed video series (previously not available commercially except for a school/library version for $750, but now available at modest cost) is the finest series ever created, and the accompanying The Day the Universe Changed: How Galileo's Telescope Changed The Truth and Other Events in History That Dramatically Altered Our Understanding of the World (Back Bay Books) book is nice because it echoes the videos without repeating the exact same content. But this CD audiobook is missing three of ten chapters and has the last two chapters scrambled. It cannot really be recommended.