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Leonardo. Vol. 1I, pp. 241-257. 0Pergamon Press Ltd. 1978. Printed in Great Britain. 0024-094X/78/0701424I SO2.00/0 BOOKS Readers are invited to recommend books to be reviewed. In general, only books in English and in French can be reviewed at this stage. Those who would like to be added to Leonardo’spanel o f reviewers should write to the FounderEditor . indicating their particular interests. The Nature of Scientific Discovery. Owen Gingerich, ed. SmithsonianInstitutionPress,Washington,D.C., 1975.616pp., illus. 315.00. Reviewed by John Scott WWson* In 1973the SmithsonianInstitution and the National Academy of Sciencesorganizedan InternationalSymposiumin celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus. This book is a detailed record of the proceedings of the symposiumand of the events that took place in the associated festival.Unfortunatelythe titleis rather misleading,as it implies that science in general is to be discussed, whereas much of the book is about variousaspectsof the period in which Copernicus lived. Although relativity and cosmology are considered in detail, other aspects of modern science, such as chemistry and biology, are barely mentioned. A title that reflected this bias towardsastronomy and the Renaissancewould have been much more helpful to prospectivereaders. In the first part of the book the opening ceremonies and speechesare reported and details are given of the stamps,music and art which were produced to commemoratethe anniversary. This festival section also includes some of the text and pictures from a Charles Eames slide show depicting prints, manuscripts and buildings associated with Copernicus. The second part consistsof 10papers presentedby highly qualifiedastronomers, historians,and philosophers includingWerner Heisenbergand Jacob Bronowski. The topics range from the nature and interaction of Renaissancescience and society to the traditions influencing modem science and to the theoretical developments that may become dominant in the future. Oneessay about the identificationand implicationsof quasars is extremely illuminating, but the final paper concerning the nature of the universe is very difficult to follow. Abstracts accompanying each paper would have been useful, as many readers may miss important points by skippingover perplexing passages or by completely abandoning a paper after just a few pages. Therest of the bookconsistsof editedstenographictranscripts of the discussions between many other scholars who met in collegia during the three days of the symposium. Although Gingerichstatesthat these recordshave been severelypruned of redundancies to produce a more polished account of the proceedings,theystillcontainmany annoyingtrivialities,suchas verbatim reports of introductions, private jokes and votes of thanks. The accounts are accompanied by many illustrations that areinterestingbut arerarelydirectlyrelevantto theadjacent text. One collegium concentratedon the scienceand society of the sixteenth century. They discussed the causes of the. great expansion in innovation, the influence of church and state on publications and the roles of Rheticus, Osiander and Melanchthon in the propagation of Copernican theories. A second group analyzed the relationships between science, literatureand the arts, the processes of discovery in these fields and the misuseof the concept of revolution.Thethird collegium consideredthenatureoftruthand realityin scienceand theethics *TheManchesterGrammar School,Old Hall Lane, Manchester MI3 OXT, England. 241 involvedindiscovery and progress.Readerswho arenot familiar with philosophicalconceptssuchas nominalism,mutabilityand the principle of self-reference will find this section extremely heavy going. Indeed only those readers who have an extremely broad education will be acquainted with the complete vocabulary of the book. Many scientists will stumble over the numerousclassical quotations, while the philosophers,who use their own jargon liberally, will be puzzled by unexplained astronomical terms such as equant, epicycle and syzygy. The book will probably be purchased by many of the people who were presentat the symposiumand will be of greatvalueto other academicsconcerned with the history and philosophy of science.Studentsof astronomyand of the Renaissancewill also discoversomeusefulitemsbut, apart fromthesespecialisedareas the book will be of little interest to general readers. The Force of Knowledge: Tbe Scientific Dimension of Society. John Ziman. Cambridge University Press, London, 1976. 374 pp., illus. f7.50. Reviewed by JamesA. Goldman** His left arm resting on the shoulder of what appears to be a simian skeleton, a youthful biology student poses for a photographer. It is this portrait of H.G. Wells that has been selectedfor thefront of the bookjacket of a book whosethemeis the social relations of science and technology. Wells’soriginalfaithin theinevitableprogressof mankindwas...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 241-242
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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