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Lost Discoveries: The Multicultural Roots of Modern Science from the Babylonians to the Maya | [Dick Teresi]

Lost Discoveries: The Multicultural Roots of Modern Science from the Babylonians to the Maya

In the tradition of Daniel Boorstin, the co-founder of Omni delivers an original work of history that demonstrates why modern science rests on a foundation built by ancient and medieval non-European societies. "If you think that modern science is rooted in the golden age of Greece, you owe it to yourself to [hear this] book," says Library Journal.
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Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of Daniel Boorstin, the co-founder of Omni delivers an original work of history that demonstrates why modern science rests on a foundation built by ancient and medieval non-European societies.

Lost Discoveries explores the mostly unheralded scientific breakthroughs from the ancient world - Babylonians, Egyptians, Indians, Africans, New World, and Oceanic tribes, among others, and from the non-European medieval world. By example, the Egyptians developed the concept of the lowest common denominator and the Indians developed the use of zero and negative numbers. The Chinese observed, reported, and dated eclipses between 1400 and 1200 B.C. The Chinese also set the stage for later Hindu scholars, who refined the concept of particles and the void. Five thousand years ago, Sumerians were able to assert that the earth was circular. Islamic scientists fixed problems in Ptolemy's geocentric cosmology. The Quechuan Indians of Peru were the first to vulcanize rubber.

This first comprehensive, authoritative, popularly written, multicultural history of science fills in a crucial gap in the history of science.

Lost Discoveries is also available in print from Simon and Schuster.

Executive Producer: Orli Moscowitz
Producer: David Rapkin
Adapted for audio.
©2002 by Dick Teresi
(P)2002 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"If you think that modern science is rooted in the golden age of Greece, you owe it to yourself to [hear this] book." (Library Journal)
"A reliable and fascinating guide to the unexplored field of multicultural science." (Amazon.com)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (243 )
5 star
 (62)
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3.7 (54 )
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1 star
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Story
3.5 (59 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Dara Raleigh, NC, United States 09-05-12
    Dara Raleigh, NC, United States 09-05-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Great Mix of History, Anthropology, & Science"
    Would you listen to Lost Discoveries again? Why?

    Yes. The book is a great piece of scientific history which turns many popular misconceptions of scientific history on their heads.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Peter Johnston has a great voice reminiscent of Carl Sagan. He kept me interested the whole way through and conveyed the text very clearly.


    Have you listened to any of Peter Johnson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't heard any of Mr. Johnston's other performances, but I hope to hear more in the future.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. It was too interesting to stop listening to.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend this book to anyone interested in anthropology, history, or the sciences.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Paradise, CA, USA 05-16-03
    Donald Paradise, CA, USA 05-16-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A disappointment"

    This is a read that would be best relegated to the reference section of the National Library of Congress.

    7 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffery Henagar, AL, USA 12-11-05
    Jeffery Henagar, AL, USA 12-11-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Depends on what your looking for"

    I liked the history of ancient discoveries by non-Western cultures. The problem that I had was the author's constant reference back to what Western civilization had not done. One must keep in mind that yes, indeed, Western science was a "late bloomer," but in keeping with trend of the author, don't Western science since Newton blow every other culture out of the water?

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael E. Piston Mercer Island, WA USA 10-27-04
    Michael E. Piston Mercer Island, WA USA 10-27-04 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Drones on and on"

    I don't know if it was the narration or the book itself, but after mamking some initially interesting points the book began to simple drone on and on about things I really didn't care about. Either the story bored the narrator or it was just plain boring. Either was I stopped listening about half way through.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Slidell, LA, United States 06-04-04
    James Slidell, LA, United States 06-04-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nothing new here !"

    I suppose it should be said that I'v read everything available on ancient histories. Having said that, the narrator seems to just recite lots of facts here, without much enthusiasm. If you know almost nothing about the ancients, you may enjoy this more. I found no substantial errors in the reading---it just jumps around from place to place a lot, giving you a little knowledge about many things.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kal Bayside, NY, USA 06-06-03
    Kal Bayside, NY, USA 06-06-03 Member Since 2001

    Entrepreneur with a successful background orchestrating start-ups as well as elevating organizational performance through skillful restructuring. Successful background building and leading top performing teams focused on collaboration and exceeding goals in the areas of operations, marketing, and comprehensive development.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent!!!"

    Amazing insight to the missing pieces of the puzzle; fills the vacuum left by European scholarship.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim leesburg, FL, United States 12-23-04
    Jim leesburg, FL, United States 12-23-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Lost Disciveries"

    Terrible book! To much detail and it goes nowhere. Is just a list of facts.

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David San Jose, CA, United States 01-06-14
    David San Jose, CA, United States 01-06-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Intellectually fraudulent waste of time"
    What would have made Lost Discoveries better?

    Dick Teresi loses all credibility very early in this poorly titled waste of time and money. The publisher's "review" does a grave disservice to the former Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin by comparing this schlock to his oeuvre. Be forewarned! This is not a celebration of the multicultural contributions to modern Western science and math to our modern understanding. It is yet another attempt to dismiss modernity in favor of mythology and spirituality. Sadly, Teresi demonstrates his poor grasp of his subject matter at every step. His attempt to flex his (sorely small and flaccid) intellect with an obviously invented anecdote which is based on his attempt to get a mathematician at a predominant technical university to "admit that zero is a Counting Number. I don't believe that there are any teachers of even Junior High math that don't know that zero is most assuredly NOT a Counting Number, despite Teresi's attempt to categorize it as such. And that is just one example from this jarring piece of Cognitive Dissonance.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Enrique Federal Way, WA, USA 02-20-08
    Enrique Federal Way, WA, USA 02-20-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting at first, then a little dry"

    I enjoyed listening to is for the most part. There were some parts that were dry, but overall it was fine.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
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