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The Fabric of the Heavens

The Development of Astronomy and Dynamics

Conceived as three companion volumes that form an introduction to the central ideas of the modern natural sciences, these books—intelligent, informative, and accessible—are an excellent source for those who have no technical knowledge of the subject.

Praise for The Fabric of the Heavens:

"I cannot remember when I last went through a book, any book, with such all-devouring zest. What is more, even the most complex technicalities are reduced to a positively crystalline clarity: If I can understand them, anyone can. The Fabric of the Heavens is, in every sense of the word, an eye-opener."—Peter Green, The Yorkshire Post

"Not until the last chapter of the book is [the reader] allowed to think again wholly as a modern man has become accustomed, by common sense, to think. The discipline is admirably suited to the authors’ task, and cunningly devised for the reader’s edification—and, indeed, for his delight."—Physics Today

Praise for The Architecture of Matter:

"The Architecture of Matter is to be warmly recommended. It is that rare achievement, a lively book which at the same time takes the fullest possible advantage of scholarly knowledge."—Charles C. Gillespie, New York Times Book Review

"One is impressed by the felicity of the examples and by the lively clarity with which significant experiments and ideas are explained. . . . No other history of science is so consistently challenging."—Scientific American

Praise for The Discovery of Time:

"A subject of absorbing interest . . . is presented not as a history of science, but as a chapter in the history of ideas from the ancient Greeks to our own time."—Times Literary Supplement

294 pages | 12 halftones, 4 line drawings, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1961

History of Science

Table of Contents

Authors’ Foreword
General Introduction: Cosmology
Part I: The Sources of the Old Order
1. Celestial Forecasting
The Sources
The Problems
The Background of the Problems
The Solution to the Problems
The Wider Issues
How the Babylonians Computed Conjunctions
2. The Invention of Theory
The Sources
The Background
The Character of Greek Theory
The First Theories
From Ingredients to Axioms
Plato’s Geometrical Astronomy
3. The Premature Synthesis
Aristotle’s Programme
Motion and Change
The Celestial Mechanism
The Size of the Earth’s Sphere
4. Doubters and Heretics
Patching up the Dynamics
Amending the Astronomy
Aristarchos’ Heliocentric Theory
5. Physics Loses Momentum
Four Questions
The Political Background to Late Greek Astronomy
The Scientific Background: The Retreat from Physics
The Scientific Background: An Acquisition
Ptolemy’s Mathematical Astronomy
The Wider Revolt against Philosophy
Archimedes and the Circle
Part II: The New Perspective and Its Consequences
6. The Interregnum
The Roundabout Journey
The Mediaeval Revival
The Background to Copernicus
Mediaeval Arguments about the Moving Earth
Copernicus: His Aim and his Theory
Copernicus: His Achievement
7. Preparing the Ground
The Background of the New Science
The Work of Tycho Brahe
Galileo’s Telescopic Discoveries
Johann Kepler’s Astronomical Physics
8. The Creation of Mechanics
The Change from Aristotle to Newton
Treating Motion Mathematically
Motion and Force
The New Ideal: Straight-Line Motion
9. The New Picture Takes Shape
The Man and his Task
Newton’s Argument
The Character of Newton’s Achievement
The Unity of Craft and Theory
10. The Widening Horizon
The Loose Ends: (1) Planetary Inequalities
The Loose Ends: (2) The Mechanism of Gravity
The Larger-Scale Picture
The Wider Influences of Newton
Certainty and Scientific Theory

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