Over the past twenty years or so, historians of science have become increasingly sensitized to issues involved in studying and interpreting scientific and medical instruments. The contributors to this Focus section are historians of science who have worked closely with museum objects and collections, specifically instruments used in scientific and medical contexts. Such close engagement by historians of science is somewhat rare, provoking distinctive questions as to how we define and understand instruments, opening up issues regarding the value of broken (...) or incomplete objects, and raising concerns about which scientific and medical artifacts are displayed and interpreted in museums and in what manner. It is hoped that these essays point historians of science in new directions for reengaging with scientific objects and collections. (shrink)
In the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin briefly drew an analogy between languages and species, suggesting that the genealogical relationships between languages provide a model for discussing the descent and modification of species. Further, he suggested that just as languages often contain some vestige of earlier speech, for example silent, unpronounced letters, so the rudimentary organs of animals can provide clues about genealogy and descent.
This book provides a comprehensive overview of the key themes in Greek and Roman science, medicine, mathematics and technology. A distinguished team of specialists engage with topics including the role of observation and experiment, Presocratic natural philosophy, ancient creationism, and the special style of ancient Greek mathematical texts, while several chapters confront key questions in the philosophy of science such as the relationship between evidence and explanation. The volume will spark renewed discussion about the character of 'ancient' versus 'modern' science, (...) and will broaden readers' understanding of the rich traditions of ancient Greco-Roman natural philosophy, science, medicine and mathematics. (shrink)