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Thematic origins of scientific thought : Kepler to Einstein

Author: Gerald James Holton
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 1973.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
By means of case studies of the growth of ideas of Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Bohr, and others, Gerald Holton shows that our traditional view of how the scientific mind works must be changed and supplemented. He introduces the new concept of the thematic content of science, a dimension that can be conceived as independent of the empirical and analytical content, and demonstrates that themata play a crucial role in  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gerald James Holton
ISBN: 0674877454 9780674877450 9780674877467 0674877462
OCLC Number: 702850
Description: 495 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction --
I. On the thematic analysis of science --
The thematic imagination in science --
Johannes Kepler's universe: Its physics and metaphysics --
Thematic and stylistic independence ---
The roots of complementarity --
II. On relativity theory --
On the origins of the special theory of relativity --
Poincaré and relativity --
Influences on Einstein's early work --
Mach, Einstein, and the search for reality --
Einstein, Michelson, and the "Crucial" experiment --
On trying to understand scientific genius --
III. On the growth of science --
The duality and growth of physical science --
Models for understanding the growth of research --
The changing allegory of motion --
IV. On education --
Modern science and the intellectual tradition --
Physics and culture: Criteria for curriculum design.
Responsibility: [by] Gerald Holton.

Abstract:

By means of case studies of the growth of ideas of Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Bohr, and others, Gerald Holton shows that our traditional view of how the scientific mind works must be changed and supplemented. He introduces the new concept of the thematic content of science, a dimension that can be conceived as independent of the empirical and analytical content, and demonstrates that themata play a crucial role in the initiation and acceptance of individual scientific insights. Drawing on his work in the unpublished documents in the extensive Nachlass of Einstein, he examines the origins of relativity theory in depth. Mr. Holton identifies three respects in which Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought may have consequences beyond the study of the history of science itself: It should provide the philosopher of science with the kind of raw material on which some of the best work in that field is based. It should help the intellectual historian to redefine the place of modern science in contemporary culture by identifying the contributions to the scientific imagination owing to influences ranging from the general literary and epistemological currents to the social ecology governing group work in the laboratory. And it may prompt the educator to re-examine conventional concepts of education in science. -- from dust jacket.

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