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PREFACE A collection of about 2000 questions asked by children forms the foundation on which this book is built. Rather than decide what it is that children ought to know, or what knowledge could best be fitted into some educational theory, an attempt was made to find out what children want to know. The obvious way to discover this was to let them ask questions. The questions collected were asked by several hundred children in the upper... more...

V. GALILEO AND THE NEW PHYSICS After Galileo had felt the strong hand of the Inquisition, in 1632, he was careful to confine his researches, or at least his publications, to topics that seemed free from theological implications. In doing so he reverted to the field of his earliest studies—namely, the field of mechanics; and the Dialoghi delle Nuove Scienze, which he finished in 1636, and which was printed two years later, attained a... more...

I. THE SUCCESSORS OF NEWTON IN ASTRONOMY HEVELIUS AND HALLEY STRANGELY enough, the decade immediately following Newton was one of comparative barrenness in scientific progress, the early years of the eighteenth century not being as productive of great astronomers as the later years of the seventeenth, or, for that matter, as the later years of the eighteenth century itself. Several of the prominent astronomers of the later seventeenth century... more...

ASPECTS OF RECENT SCIENCE STUDENTS of the classics will recall that the old Roman historians were accustomed to detail the events of the remote past in what they were pleased to call annals, and to elaborate contemporary events into so-called histories. Actuated perhaps by the same motives, though with no conscious thought of imitation, I have been led to conclude this history of the development of natural science with a few chapters somewhat... more...

I. THE PHLOGISTON THEORY IN CHEMISTRY The development of the science of chemistry from the "science" of alchemy is a striking example of the complete revolution in the attitude of observers in the field of science. As has been pointed out in a preceding chapter, the alchemist, having a preconceived idea of how things should be, made all his experiments to prove his preconceived theory; while the chemist reverses this attitude of mind and bases... more...


I. PREHISTORIC SCIENCE To speak of a prehistoric science may seem like a contradiction of terms. The word prehistoric seems to imply barbarism, while science, clearly enough, seems the outgrowth of civilization; but rightly considered, there is no contradiction. For, on the one hand, man had ceased to be a barbarian long before the beginning of what we call the historical period; and, on the other hand, science, of a kind, is no less a precursor... more...

The most obvious and the most distinctive features of the History of Civilisation, during the last fifty years, is the wonderful increase of industrial production by the application of machinery, the improvement of old technical processes and the invention of new ones, accompanied by an even more remarkable development of old and new means of locomotion and intercommunication. By this rapid and vast multiplication of the commodities and... more...

I. LABORATORY REGULATIONS. The following regulations are laid down for observance in the Bacteriological Laboratories under the direction of the author. Similar regulations should be enforced in all laboratories where pathogenic bacteria are studied. Guy's Hospital. BACTERIOLOGICAL DEPARTMENT. HANDLING OF INFECTIVE MATERIALS. The following Regulations have been drawn up in the interest of those working in the Laboratory as well as the... more...

PART I THE SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY PHYSICAL MEANING OF GEOMETRICAL PROPOSITIONS In your schooldays most of you who read this book made acquaintance with the noble building of Euclid's geometry, and you remember — perhaps with more respect than love — the magnificent structure, on the lofty staircase of which you were chased about for uncounted hours by conscientious teachers. By reason of our past experience, you would... more...

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY. The Sun. The sun's position in the great field of energy is daily becoming more exalted in the estimation of philosophic minds. His labors are being revealed to us with a distinctness never before conceived. He it is that stored the coal in the bosom of the earth, and piled up the polar ice. He it is that aids the chemist, drives the engine, ripens the harvest, dispenses life and health. The study of the sun and solar... more...