The God Particle) has combed the literature to catalogue the scientific advances made by early non-Western societies and to"/>
 

LOST DISCOVERIES: The Multicultural Roots of Modern Science from the Babylonians to the Mayans

Dick Teresi, Author
Dick Teresi, Author . Simon & Schuster $27 (464p) ISBN 978-0-684-83718-5
Reviewed on: 09/30/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Ebook - 464 pages - 978-1-4391-2860-2
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-7432-4379-7
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Science journalist Teresi (coauthor of The God Particle) has combed the literature to catalogue the scientific advances made by early non-Western societies and to determine their impact on Western science. His work spans millennia and encompasses the full extent of the globe. He points out, for example, that five millennia ago the Sumerians concluded that the earth was round. He also provides information on cultures of the Middle East, India, China, Africa and Oceania, as well as a host of New World cultures, predominately those of Mesoamerica. Throughout, readers learn that scientific knowledge of various sorts in diverse forms has been a part of all cultures. In chapters on mathematics, astronomy, cosmology, physics, geology, chemistry and technology, Teresi makes a convincing argument that Western science has often been indebted to advances made elsewhere (mineralogy was studied in Africa as early as 5000 B.C.). Teresi is at his strongest in the section on mathematics, where he discusses the evolution of Arabic numerals from the ancient Indians and the earliest conceptualizations of zero and infinity. Much less compelling are his assertions that early societies foreshadowed the ideas of quantum mechanics. Although a bit uneven, Teresi offers a great deal of fascinating material largely ignored by many histories of science. (Nov.)

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