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Science Firsts: From the Creation of Science to the Science of Creation

Robert E. Adler

A fascinating collection of stories about key firsts in science. Tells the stories of 35 of the most important firsts in the history of science. Reveals how these incredible minds ventured into previously unseen territory to satisfy their hunger for knowledge and, in doing so, changed the course of history.

Throughout the history of science, there have always been men and women whose curiosity and intellect led them to explore uncharted territories and seek new explanations for the way the universe works. Among those are the privileged few who were the first to glimpse new ideas, break new ground, and make unprecedented discoveries'many of which changed the course of history.

Science Firsts tells the engaging and inspiring stories of 35 landmark scientific discoveries. From the first accurate prediction of an eclipse in 585 b.c. to the cloning of Dolly the sheep, science writer Robert Adler clearly explains the context and importance of these discoveries, allowing the reader to peer over the shoulders of the great scientists as they first set eyes on new worlds.

The journey begins in ancient Greece, where philosophers such as Thales and Leucippus became the first to demand explanations about nature that did not depend on the whims of gods. Focusing on key scientists'many well-known, others often overlooked'in a wide range of disciplines, Adler profiles such pathfinders as:

  • Anaximander of Miletus'showman, politician, and philosopher, the first to map the world
  • Johannes Kepler'a brilliant mystic, the first to place the planets into their true orbits
  • Sir Isaac Newton'whose luminous mind made him the first to grasp the basic laws of the universe
  • Humphry Davy'a poet and self-made scientist, the first to precisely define chemical elements
  • Alfred Wegener'an Arctic explorer, the first to understand the origin of continents and oceans
  • Raymond Dart'a maverick anatomist, the first to discover our ancient African roots
  • Barbara McClintock'a true visionary, the first to see the inner dynamics of the genetic system
  • Claude Shannon'the unicycle-riding mathematician who brought us the Information Age

Science Firsts captures the essence of these gifted explorers and their hard-won discoveries. Without their sense of mystery, diverse talent, and stubborn dedication, the world as we know it would not exist.

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