Should the story that is about to be unfolded be found to lack interest, the writers must stand convicted of unpardonable lack of art. <P> <P> Nothing but dulness in the telling could mar the story, for in itself it is the record of the growth of those ideas that have made our race and its civilization what they are; of ideas instinct with human interest, vital with meaning for our race; fundamental in their influence on human development; part and parcel of the mechanism of human thought on the one hand, and of practical civilization on the other. Such a phrase as "fundamental principles" may seem at first thought a hard saying, but the idea it implies is less repellent than the phrase itself, for the fundamental principles in question are so closely linked with the present interests of every one of us that they lie within the grasp of every average man and woman-- nay, of every well-developed boy and girl. These principles are not merely the stepping-stones to culture, the prerequisites of knowledge-- they are, in themselves, an essential part of the knowledge of every cultivated person
The studies of the present book cover the progress of science from the close of the Roman period in the fifth century A. D. to about the middle of the eighteenth century. In tracing the course of events through so long a period, a difficulty becomes prominent which everywhere besets the historian in less degree-- a difficulty due to the conflict between the strictly chronological and the topical method of treatment. <P> <P> We must hold as closely as possible to the actual sequence of events, since, as already pointed out, one discovery leads on to another. But, on the other hand, progressive steps are taken contemporaneously in the various fields of science, and if we were to attempt to introduce these in strict chronological order we should lose all sense of topical continuity.
With the present book we enter the field of the distinctively modern. There is no precise date at which we take up each of the successive stories, but the main sweep of development has to do in each case with the nineteenth century. <P> <P> We shall see at once that this is a time both of rapid progress and of great differentiation. We have heard almost nothing hitherto of such sciences as paleontology, geology, and meteorology, each of which now demands full attention. Meantime, astronomy and what the workers of the elder day called natural philosophy become wonderfully diversified and present numerous phases that would have been startling enough to the star-gazers and philosophers of the earlier epoch.
AS regards chronology, the epoch covered in the present volume is identical with that viewed in the preceding one. But now as regards subject matter we pass on to those diverse phases of the physical world which are the field of the chemist, and to those yet more intricate processes which have to do with living organisms. <P> <P> So radical are the changes here that we seem to be entering new worlds; and yet, here as before, there are intimations of the new discoveries away back in the Greek days. The solution of the problem of respiration will remind us that Anaxagoras half guessed the secret; and in those diversified studies which tell us of the Daltonian atom in its wonderful transmutations, we shall be reminded again of the Clazomenian philosopher and his successor Democritus.
This book describes the beginnings of radio - the mystery of unseen waves and the people experimenting with this new process. The book was handed down to me by my Grandfather who served in the Spanish-American War and then settled in San Francisco in 1905; just in time for the earthquake. The last few pages are ads complete with 1923 prices. One is for a book - Sergeant York and His People- later Gary Cooper stared in the movie - Sergeant York.
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