Cover image for Glimpses of ancient science and scientists
Glimpses of ancient science and scientists
Raman, Varadaraja V.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[Philadelphia, PA] : Xlibris, [1999]

Physical Description:
366 pages ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library Q124.95 .R36 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Ancient science grew from the efforts of men and women of ages long past, speaking different languages, living with world views very different from our own. All through human history, every culture has had original thinkers, creative artists, and hard working achievers. Their labors resulted in discoveries which constituted the science of the age. As we embark on the next millennium, it will be good to recognize that we are, one and all, heirs to many interesting ideas, insights and breakthroughs that were initiated by ancient peoples. Though their works were affiliated with different cultures and periods, we must learn to look upon them as humanity's heritage, rather than as the specific achievements of this group or that. The ancients made many interesting and significant contributions to scientific thought and discoveries, which we should recall, appreciate, and be grateful for. The propounders of earlier world views were men and women of keen intellect who gave what seemed to them to be the most satisfying answers to the questions they posed, within the constraints of their cultural framework and currently available data. They are deserving of our highest respect and warmest admiration. Yet, it is important to recognize that there are also fundamental differences between ancient and modern science. Even in the midst of our current civilization characterized by fast pace and countless gadgetry, it may be of some interest to look into the thoughts and achievements of ancient science. It is by knowing, however superficially, what other cultures accomplished that we develop genuine respect for them. This book should be of interest to the general reader, and it may also serve as a text in an introductory course on the history of science, for all too often such courses barely mention anything beyond ancient Greece in the context of ancient science.

Author Notes

Dr. Varadaraja V. Raman is Professor Emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Forwardp. 11
I. Perspectives on the History of Science: What it is all aboutp. 15
II. Origins: How it all beganp. 25
III. Ancient Near/Middle East: Writing, time reckoning, and star gazingp. 50
IV. Ancient India: Number system and medical lorep. 86
V. Ancient China: Harmony, duality and useful technologyp. 131
VI. Pre-Socratic Science Naturalism and intellectual conquestsp. 175
VII. Post-Socratic Science Scientific and mathematical thoughtp. 211
VIII. Interlude Roman Science and Technologyp. 244
IX. Arab Science Experimentation and transmissionp. 257
X. Later Medieval Science Universities and glimmers of modern sciencep. 291
XI. Old Science in the New World: Star gazing againp. 318
XII. The Framework of Ancient Science The good and the badp. 332

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