The History of Science

  • by Michael Shermer
  • Narrated by Michael Shermer
  • 25 hrs and 28 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

This is a sweeping look at science, its history and philosophy from the Middle Ages to the present, with special emphasis on defining science within the cultural context of the age, who was doing science at the time, and what their goals were in conducting science. This course reflects Dr. Shermer's doctoral training at Claremont Graduate School.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A very long listen

This is in 3 parts and spans about 24 hours. These are Shermer's lectures recorded in the classroom (it does not seem to be a lecture theater as there is an intimacy with the class. He sometimes makes mistakes (due to the virtue of a live recording) on values and data but these are just verbal trips and are not intended. They are however enjoyable, but the listener will not have access to his pictoral material which he uses. I e-mailed Shermer about this and he does not have the images to give, he also said I was the first reviewer to get in touch as the lectures had only been just released. If anything you will learn the inter-connectedness between known and unknown scientists throughout the last few centuries. His lectures on Einstein are very revealing. I would strongly recommend this title to those interested in science and how it works.
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- Lesley

Dreadful ! A real let-down...

When buying this book I expected something akin to Bill Bryson's "Short History of Everything" - perhaps more detail and less humourous but, given the length and cost, something well-researched and well-presented. In fact this is a series of lectures given by Schermer, the structure, clarity and editing of which is significantly inferior to the standards set by the "Modern Scholar" series. Structurally the lectures are full of digressions and, at times, Schermer shows he has little grasp of some of the topics being discussed. The clarity of the recordings is awful and I lost count of the times when discussions were taking place with the audience and it was impossible to hear the questions being asked or the contributions being made. However, it is perhaps in the editing that this series is at it's weakest. "Chapter" breaks are often made when Schermer is in full flow, digressions and barely decipherable audience discussions - completely off-topic - could, and should, have been edit out.

Finally the title of the book is misleading as, given it's poor structure, it tries to span philosophy and religion as well as science and does poor justice to all three subjects. As an alternative I would recommend any potential purchaser to buy the following:
"A Short History of Everything" - Bill Bryson
"The Story of Philosophy" - Will Durrant
"The God Delusion" - Richard Dawkins
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- Product user

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-02-2009
  • Publisher: Michael Shermer/John Wagner Studios