Wolf, F. 1989, Taking the Quantum Leap: The New Physics for
Non-Scientists (Harper & Row: New York).
The story of how we struggled, resisted, and ultimately accepted the modern view of physical reality is beautifully told in this readable account of 20th century physics. We'll use this book primarily in the last third of the course, though the first two chapters will be covered earlier.
Recommended Books (On Reserve at the Library Center)
Lindberg, D. 1992, The Beginnings of Western Science: The European
Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context,
600 B.C. to A.D. 1450 (The University of Chicago Press: Chicago).
A unique work that will closely parallel the first part of this course. Though it looks dangerously like a dry textbook, don't be fooled: Lindberg writes with a broad perspective and a passionate vision. For a nice, coherent read, I highly recommend paging through this book.
Morrison, D., Wolff, S., & Fraknoi, A. Abell's Exploration of the
Universe (Saunders: Philadelphia).
The 7th edition of the classic, comprehensive astronomy text by George Abell. Contains a thorough treatment of the history of astronomy in addition to the latest discoveries.
Ferris, T. 1988, Coming of Age in the Milky Way (Doubleday: New York).
A nice, easygoing work, the first two chapters on the Greeks being especially good. Though the later chapters delve a bit further into modern physics than we will, the first dozen chapters provide a good overview of topics up to the twentieth century.
Koestler, A. 1989, The Sleepwalkers: A history of Man's Changing Vision of
the Universe (Penguin: New York).
A thorough, irreverent work, with especially good descriptions of Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. Very amusing and filled with Koestler's opinions.
Kuhn, T. 1957, The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the
Development of Western Thought (Harvard University Press: Cambridge).
A classic work on the history of science, with a very good account of the ancient celestial models that were replaced in the Renaissance. The first four chapters are especially relevant, and well worth reading.
Munitz, M. K. 1957, Theories of the Universe: From Babylonian Myth to
Modern Science (Macmillan: New York).
Provides additional primary source material and commentary.
Toulmin, S. & Goodfield, J. 1961, The Fabric of the Heavens: The
Development of Astronomy and Dynamics (Harper & Brothers: New York).
Exhaustive account, from the ancients through Newton, addressing implications for the modern era of the early thinkers. Unlike most works of its kind, this one allows the original thinkers to do much of the talking.