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The Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century

Thomas Henry Huxley

Book Overview: 

Thomas H. Huxley, an English biologist and essayist, was an advocate of the theory of evolution and a self-proclaimed agnostic. A talented writer, his essays helped to popularize science in the 19th century, and he is credited with the quote, “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” In The Advance of Science in the Last Half Century, he presents a summary of the major developments in Physics, Chemistry and Biology during the period 1839-1889 and their impact on society, within the historical context of philosophical thought and scientific inquiry going back to Aristotle. Huxley’s clear and readable prose makes this subject equally enjoyable for both the student of scientific history and the casual listener alike

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .te provinces, yet the method of investigation and the ultimate object of the physical inquirer are everywhere the same.

the discovery of the rational order of the universe

The object is the discovery of the rational order which pervades the universe, the method consists of observation and experiment (which is observation under artificial conditions) for the determination of the facts of nature, of inductive and deductive reasoning for the discovery of their mutual relations and connection. The various branches of physical science differ in the extent to which at any given moment of their history, observation on the one hand, or ratiocination on the other, is their more obvious feature, but in no other way, and nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third.

It is based on postulates

All physical science starts from certain postulates. One of them is the. . . Read More

Community Reviews

"The most obvious and the most distinctive features of the History of Civilisation, during the last fifty years, is the wonderful increase of industrial production by the application of machinery, the improvement of old technical processes and the invention of new ones, accompanied by an even mor...more

A past look at the present progress

It was interesting to read about the modern advances from a past view point. It gave me some insight into the history of what I have learned.