BEFORE GALILEO by John Freely

BEFORE GALILEO

The Advancement of Modern Science in Medieval Europe

KIRKUS REVIEW

A history of science in the centuries before Copernicus, Galileo and Newton.

After the Visigoth sack of Rome in 410 and the subsequent burning of the great Library of Alexandria, the ancient Greco-Roman world descended into the darkness of the early Middle Ages, writes historian Freely (Physics/Bosphorous Univ.; Light From the East: How the Science of Medieval Islam Helped to Shape the Western World, 2011, etc.). Yet fragments of classical learning survived in the keeping of a handful of scholars in monasteries. In time, the monastic movement produced the first European scientists, whose work sparked the emergence of modern science. In this revealing but plodding account, Freely traces the transmission of ancient Greek philosophical and scientific works to the Islamic world, where scholars took the lead in science and passed their knowledge on to Europe. In thumbnail portraits, he describes the work of Ibn Sina, Gerard of Cremona and others who conveyed Arab science to the West. By 1500, Europe, with 80 universities, had undergone “a tremendous intellectual revival.” Freely charts the advance of that revival, with Albertus Magnus becoming the first to use the modern scientific method based on observation and experimentation, and Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon making full use of the experimental method. In an overview of subsequent, increasingly modern science, Freely describes work on the new science of motion by 14th-century Oxford scientists; Newton’s successful explanation of the rainbow in 1714; and the astronomical observations and calculations of Copernicus, which marked the onset of the scientific revolution.

For specialists and students.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59020-607-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2012




MORE BY JOHN FREELY

NonfictionTHE GRAND TURK by John Freely
by John Freely
NonfictionALADDIN’S LAMP by John Freely
by John Freely
NonfictionTHE LOST MESSIAH by John Freely
by John Freely

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionCOPERNICUS’ SECRET by Jack Repcheck
by Jack Repcheck
NonfictionWONDERS AND THE ORDER OF NATURE, 1150-1750 by Lorraine Daston
by Lorraine Daston
NonfictionTHE HOUSE OF WISDOM by Jonathan Lyons
by Jonathan Lyons