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Descripción de la editorial
In this fascinating and illuminating work, Leonard Mlodinow guides us through the critical eras and events in the development of science, all of which, he demonstrates, were propelled forward by humankind's collective struggle to know. From the birth of reasoning and culture to the formation of the studies of physics, chemistry, biology, and modern-day quantum physics, we come to see that much of our progress can be attributed to simple questions-why? how?-bravely asked. Mlodinow profiles some of the great philosophers, scientists, and thinkers who explored these questions-Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein and Lavoisier among them-and makes clear that just as science has played a key role in shaping the patterns of human thought, human subjectivity has played a key role in the evolution of science. At once authoritative and accessible, and infused with the author's trademark wit, this deeply insightful book is a stunning tribute to humanity's intellectual curiosity.
Mlodinow (Subliminal), a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, opens his powerful new book with a story about his father, who as a starving prisoner at Buchenwald once traded his bread for the answer to a riddle. He writes that upon hearing his father's story, he "realized then that search for knowledge is the most human of all our desires." That is the recurring theme as Mlodinow follows scientific thought from its birth in prehistoric man to its blossoming in Aristotle, Newton, Lavoisier, Darwin, Einstein, and beyond. He discusses the intransigence of belief in a natural world ruled by gods before Aristotle and the subsequent intransigence of belief in a natural world ruled by too many erroneous Aristotelean precepts. He notes the suffering that can accompany the pursuit of knowledge such as that of Galileo as well as the enormous, wordless satisfaction. Breathing new life into science history, he frames narratives of great thinkers with serial scenes of his father's great courage and curiosity, despite only having a seventh-grade education. Mlodinow's point has been made before, but rarely so well: the quality that best distinguishes and honors humankind is not an ability to answer questions, but that "after millennia of effort," nothing stops us from asking them.