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Science in Middle Ages

  1. Jul 14, 2011 #1
    Everyone talks about the Middle Ages to be a dark period for science, but my physics teachers strongly disagreed in high school. I want to buy a book that discusses this in a general scientific context, so not only physics.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2011 #2
    I recommend you read...

    http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo5550077.html

    ...then pick topics you're interested in from the bibliography.

    For a different kind of treatment, try

    https://www.amazon.com/Wheels-Clocks-Rockets-History-Technology/dp/0393321754
    or
    https://www.amazon.com/Medieval-Technology-Social-Change-White/dp/0195002660

    As a physics degree holder (whatever that means), I'm personally interested in the life and works of Oresme. Also this was the time of the Merton scholars (Bradwardine, Heytesbury, Swineshead, Dumbleton), the so-called "Oxford calculators". But Islamic "science" might be an even richer topic to focus on...optics was having a huge boom, among other things. Not so sure of topics outside of physics.

    edit:
    And yeah, your high school teacher was right. Very rich period, actually. Its just that the activities may not fit with a 19th century definition of "science". If you read Lindberg you will likely see what I mean.
     
  4. Jul 15, 2011 #3
    How do they feel about it now that they've finished college?

    I know a lot of people who think science began with Galileo, so I guess it depends on your definitions. There were some technological advances, like the stirrup, plow, and horse collar, but not a lot for a thousand-year period.

    But you don't want my stupid opinion, you want a book. IMO a good one for you would be "Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery," but I think all his non-fiction is out of print. You might find it on ebay or used book sites, though.
     
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