The History of Science: 1700-1900 : The Great Courses: History of Science

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Frederick Gregory
  • Series: The Great Courses: History of Science
  • 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

The scientific theories that were first discovered and made public in the years 1700-1900 are some of the most pivotal in history. Landmark theories of planetary motion, the workings of nature, and the speed of light were all ideas that took the world by storm.
Now you can share in that story of discovery in a series of 36 lectures designed to give you a rock-solid understanding of the great discoveries of Newton, Darwin, Franklin, Pasteur, and so many others. You’ll see clearly how these great thinkers brought their ideas into a world and a time that resisted them, gaining a new admiration for their achievements in an atmosphere where scientific advancement had to struggle against established ways of both scientific and religious thinking.
While many presentations of scientific history often neglect to consider its context - the societies and cultures in which our most influential "natural philosophers" (the term scientist didn’t exist until the mid-19th century) made their contributions - these lectures put that context in the forefront where it belongs, exploring how dynamics of time and place help determine the questions that get asked and the directions scientists pursue in response.
The result is a series that adds invaluable historical depth and dimension to your study of science. As much about history as science - and often far more so, with the focus on the climate and process of scientific discovery rather than the science itself - this course will enhance your ability to see contemporary scientific events in a vividly informed context.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

My dream school would use these

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

It is just a small minority who are interested (or who have to study) history of physics. So this is not an audiobook for great audiences. But for people like me this is A DREAM COME TRUE. I really enjoyed this clear history in an audible form, which allowed me to listen to it where ever. I only wish I could be examined on these instead of cumbersome paper books.

What did you like best about this story?

Carnot process was explained in a manner which was easy to follow.

What about Professor Frederick Gregory’s performance did you like?

I like the way how he made reference to future parts or different professors lecturers.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?


Any additional comments?

I sure wish future "school" would better utilize these kind of learning tools.

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- Juha

Excellent Narrative for History of Science

If you could sum up The History of Science: 1700-1900 in three words, what would they be?

Narrative, Educational, Thought-provoking

What other book might you compare The History of Science: 1700-1900 to and why?

There is another book called "A Little History of Science" by William Bynum...only this lecture series was much longer and provided greater detail.

Which character – as performed by Professor Frederick Gregory – was your favorite?

Not sure I understand the question. He's a lecturer.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No extreme reaction, but many thought-provoking questions.

Any additional comments?

This was an excellent summary of science and highlights of major milestones in scientific discoveries throughout the 1700 & 1800's. Prof. Gregory has put together an incredible lecture series that provides the audience with an illustrative narrative that did not feel like reading through a dull history book, but instead felt like a moving story with key players.

Something unexpected was that he was able to work into his narrative the religious perspectives of nearly every philosopher and scientist that was highlighted. One key factor I gained from this presentation was how easy we tend to overlook religious and cultural differences when studying history, and I am guilty of this myself, but rarely do I ever consider the historical figure's time as it was relative to their way of thinking. As Prof. Gregory points out, we tend to apply our own prejudices and understanding on people of the past and ask why how they did or why they did not arrive at the "obvious" conclusions for areas that have since been made well known to us.

Overall, this was an incredible series on the history of science and truly covered all aspects of the major disciplines: astronomy, biology, geology, physics, medicine, etc.

Pros: the religious perspective offered with each influential scientist/philosopher
Cons: would have been interesting to keep going into the 1900's; however I recognize that for scope (and length) purposes this was not feasible.
Bottom line: a great read for anyone interested in the realm of science or anyone who as ever questioned how we ever got to our present day understanding.

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- Kevin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses