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Review of Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West by Margaret C. Jacob - Book Report/Review Example

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Book Review: Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West by Margaret C. Jacob Margaret C. Jacob, the author of the book Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West is a professor at University of California, Los Angeles, and visiting faculty at l'Ecole des hautes etudes and the University of Ulster (UCLA History, n.d.)…
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Book Review of Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West by Margaret C. Jacob
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Download file to see previous pages Her recent works include a book on the influence of Newtonian science during his period of crucial scientific publications, co-editing of a book series on history of science published by Harvard University, a book on the emergence of cosmopolitanism in early modern Europe, a book on the freemasonry movement, etc. (UCLA History, n.d.). Margaret C. Jacob “has worked in British, Dutch, French and Belgian history” (UCLA History, n.d.). She took her Ph.D from University of Cornell and has held teaching positions in many major American Universities (UCLA History, n.d.). Her academic achievements also include an honorary doctorate from the University of Utrecht and membership in the American Philosophical Society and the Hollandse Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (UCLA Hostory, n.d.). The book considered for reviewing in this article also delves upon Margaret C. Jacob's favorite theme, how science, religion, economy and industry together developed the industrial West. It is this multi-dimensional approach to science and to the development of the western world that makes this author far more versatile than her many contemporaries. The intellectual foundations It was not by accident that the industrialization of the world began in Europe. The intellectual foundations for such a crucial step were already set in Europe through the development of scientific thought and enlightenment (Jacob, 1997). Jacob (1997) has begun her discourse on these developments by pointing out that “the new and internationally circulated science that begins with Copernicus (1543) and culminates in Newton's Principia (1687), performed many intellectual, ideological and utilitarian tasks (2). The renaissance thought also contributed to this newly aroused scientific zeal, according to Jacob (1997, 2). To show this, Jacob (1997) has cited the example of the renaissance era when realism in art helped Galileo “to imagine valleys and mountains on the moon when in fact, all he could see in his telescope was shadows” (2). Though this argument might seem far-stretched, in this book Jacob (1997) has woven a perfectly logical narrative that depicts how the scientific culture that influenced even art in Europe contributed to the rise of the industrial West. The basic framework for scientific thought in Europe was erected as early as in the time of Aristotle, Plato, Ptolemy and so on (Jacob, 1997, 16). Aristotle, though in a philosophical sense, had provided the world with notions of circular motion of the celestial bodies, thereby leading early astronomers like Copernicus to discover the planetary system (Jacob, 1997, 17). On the other hand, the earth-centric notion of Ptolemy and the theologians in general was an example of resistance that science had to face in that era (Jacob, 1997, 17-18). Replacing “geocentricity” with “heliocentricity” was a herculean task for science (Jacob, 1997, 18). For many practical purposes like navigation and making of calenders, the “geocentric” system worked well and this was why people resisted the “heliocentric” view put forth by Copernicus (Jacob, 1997, 16). But his refutation of the earth-centric view spread across the intellectual circles of Europe and gradually loosened the grip of religion over natural sciences (Jacob, 1997, 18-25). Copernicus had to wait in fear of criticism for many years before he published his book that presented a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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