Isaac Newton on Mathematical Certainty and Method

Author: Niccolò Guicciardini
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262013177
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An analysis of Newton's mathematical work, from early discoveries to mature reflections, and a discussion of Newton's views on the role and nature of mathematics.

Science and Technology in the Global Cold War

Author: Naomi Oreskes
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262526530
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The Cold War period saw a dramatic expansion of state-funded science and technology research. Government and military patronage shaped Cold War technoscientific practices, imposing methods that were project oriented, team based, and subject to national-security restrictions. These changes affected not just the arms race and the space race but also research in agriculture, biomedicine, computer science, ecology, meteorology, and other fields. This volume examines science and technology in the context of the Cold War, considering whether the new institutions and institutional arrangements that emerged globally constrained technoscientific inquiry or offered greater opportunities for it. The contributors find that whatever the particular science, and whatever the political system in which that science was operating, the knowledge that was produced bore some relation to the goals of the nation-state. These goals varied from nation to nation; weapons research was emphasized in the United States and the Soviet Union, for example, but in France and China scientific independence and self-reliance dominated. The contributors also consider to what extent the changes to science and technology practices in this era were produced by the specific politics, anxieties, and aspirations of the Cold War.ContributorsElena Aronova, Erik M. Conway, Angela N. H. Creager, David Kaiser, John Krige, Naomi Oreskes, George Reisch, Sigrid Schmalzer, Sonja D. Schmid, Matthew Shindell, Asif A. Siddiqi, Zuoyue Wang, Benjamin Wilson

The Psychophysical Ear

Author: Alexandra Hui
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262018381
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In the middle of the nineteenth century, German and Austrian concertgoers began to hear new rhythms and harmonies as non-Western musical ensembles began to make their way to European cities and classical music introduced new compositional trends. At the same time, leading physicists, physiologists, and psychologists were preoccupied with understanding the sensory perception of sound from a psychophysical perspective, seeking a direct and measurable relationship between physical stimulation and physical sensation. These scientists incorporated specific sounds into their experiments--the musical sounds listened to by upper middle class, liberal Germans and Austrians. In The Psychophysical Ear, Alexandra Hui examines this formative historical moment, when the worlds of natural science and music coalesced around the psychophysics of sound sensation, and new musical aesthetics were interwoven with new conceptions of sound and hearing. Hui, a historian and a classically trained musician, describes the network of scientists, musicians, music critics, musicologists, and composers involved in this redefinition of listening. She identifies a source of tension for the psychophysicists: the seeming irreconcilability between the idealist, universalizing goals of their science and the increasingly undeniable historical and cultural contingency of musical aesthetics. The convergence of the respective projects of the psychophysical study of sound sensation and the aesthetics of music was, however, fleeting. By the beginning of the twentieth century, with the professionalization of such fields as experimental psychology and ethnomusicology and the proliferation of new and different kinds of music, the aesthetic dimension of psychophysics began to disappear.

Heredity Explored

Author: Staffan Müller-Wille
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262034433
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Investigations of how the understanding of heredity developed in scientific, medical, agro-industrial, and political contexts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Rational Action

Author: William Thomas
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262324180
Format: PDF, Kindle
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During World War II, the Allied military forces faced severe problems integrating equipment, tactics, and logistics into successful combat operations. To help confront these problems, scientists and engineers developed new means of studying which equipment designs would best meet the military's requirements and how the military could best use the equipment it had on hand. By 1941 they had also begun to gather and analyze data from combat operations to improve military leaders' ordinary planning activities. In Rational Action, William Thomas details these developments, and how they gave rise during the 1950s to a constellation of influential new fields -- which he terms the "sciences of policy" -- that included operations research, management science, systems analysis, and decision theory. Proponents of these new sciences embraced a variety of agendas. Some aimed to improve policymaking directly, while others theorized about how one decision could be considered more rational than another. Their work spanned systems engineering, applied mathematics, nuclear strategy, and the philosophy of science, and it found new niches in universities, in businesses, and at think tanks such as the RAND Corporation. The sciences of policy also took a prominent place in epic narratives told about the relationships among science, state, and society in an intellectual culture preoccupied with how technology and reason would shape the future. Thomas follows all these threads to illuminate and make new sense of the intricate relationships among scientific analysis, policymaking procedure, and institutional legitimacy at a crucial moment in British and American history.

Newton s Principia for the Common Reader

Author: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019852675X
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Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica provides a coherent and deductive presentation of his discovery of the universal law of gravitation. It is very much more than a demonstration that 'to us it is enough that gravity really does exist and act according to the laws which we have explained and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies and the sea'. It is important to us as a model of all mathematical physics. Representing a decade's work from a distinguished physicist, this is the first comprehensive analysis of Newton's Principia without recourse to secondary sources. Professor Chandrasekhar analyses some 150 propositions which form a direct chain leading to Newton's formulation of his universal law of gravitation. In each case, Newton's proofs are arranged in a linear sequence of equations and arguments, avoiding the need to unravel the necessarily convoluted style of Newton's connected prose. In almost every case, a modern version of the proofs is given to bring into sharp focus the beauty, clarity, and breath-taking economy of Newton's methods. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar is one of the most reknowned scientists of the twentieth century, whose career spanned over 60 years. Born in India, educated at the University of Cambridge in England, he served as Emeritus Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, where he has was based from 1937 until his deathin 1996. His early research into the evolution of stars is now a cornerstone of modern astrophysics, and earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983. Later work into gravitational interactions between stars, the properties of fluids, magnetic fields, equilibrium ellipsoids, and black holes has earned him awards throughout the world, including the Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society in London (1953), the National Medal of Science in the United States (1966), and the Copley Medal from the Royal Society (1984). His many publications include Radiative transfer (1950), Hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability (1961), and The mathematical theory of black holes (1983), each being praised for its breadth and clarity. Newton's Principia for the common reader is the result of Professor Chandrasekhar's profound admiration for a scientist whose work he believed is unsurpassed, and unsurpassable.

1697 1722

Author: Isaac Newton
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521045916
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This last volume of Newton's mathematical papers presents the extant record of the investigations which he pursued during the last quarter of his life.

Conjectures and Refutations

Author: Karl Popper
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135971374
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Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error.