Lost Discoveries: The Multicultural Roots of Modern Science from the Babylonians to the Maya Audiobook | Dick Teresi | Audible.com
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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 (242 )
5 star
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3.7 (53 )
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Story
3.5 (58 )
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Crai Cincinnati, OH, USA 05-27-03
    Crai Cincinnati, OH, USA 05-27-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "more political than scientific"

    This book has a very interesting premise, but does not develop it well at all. It is full of broad assertions with little concrete evidence to back them. If the author spent as much time supporting his assertions with evidence as he did repeating them this would be a great book. As it is, the author seems to want to shame and reform the modern western memory with only the strength of his own scorn. The most redeeming quality of the book is the bits of historical information about the history of science peppered though the book. If you are an advocate of or have an interest in non-western societies and their contribution to the world, you may enjoy learning about these isolated bits of scientific history. If you are looking for a rigorous history of early science, you may be disappointed.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin LaGrange, IL, USA 01-29-05
    Kevin LaGrange, IL, USA 01-29-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A worthwhile challenge"

    This is definately one of the more challenging audio books I've encountered and probably not meant for someone with simply a passing interest in the history of math and science. It took me months to finish, if only because I found myself going back and listening again to parts that required tremendous concentration. This is one of those selections that I really enjoyed, but probably should have opted for the text so that I could underline!

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl Oregon City, OR, USA 02-27-03
    Carl Oregon City, OR, USA 02-27-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
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    "Not for the faint of heart"

    This book is not for those who merely have a general interest in science and/or archaeology. The author gets extremely technical at times. I have two Master's degrees and at a couple of points he totally lost me. The author is repetative and loves to belabor the obvious. The book reads like a textbook but some of the conclusions are so far outside academic norms they stretch credulity. I wish I hadn't made the choice

    39 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Camp Morton, MB, Canada 01-20-03
    Brian Camp Morton, MB, Canada 01-20-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A little long winded and repetitive"

    This work's subject is greatly interesting to me but it's treatment in this book leaves something to be desired.

    While the information compiled in this tome is interesting and while the information may not always be new to me the conclusions are sometimes thought provoking and enlightening.

    The major drawback of the work is that the author tends to repeat information continually. It is supposed that this may add functionallity to this book if used as a reference book, but greatly takes away from from the stand point of a novel or straight-forward read.

    Distilled, the new and interesing information could have been contained within 1/4 of the space this book has taken. And therefore makes it a labour to read (ok listen to).

    The narration though as usuall is great.

    35 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Defiance, MO, USA 08-26-08
    Mike Defiance, MO, USA 08-26-08 Member Since 2003
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    17
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    "Unnecessary atonement botched"

    The apparent premise of this book, judging from the title and publishers blurb, is that non-European cultures discovered much of the underpinnings of modern science and technology and haven't gotten due credit for it. Mr. Teresi makes a valiant effort to unearth those advances and give due credit. Ultimately though, Mr. Terisi's efforts fall well short of the stated intent. Most of the examples given are based on tenuous parallels with modern scientific theories, theories that may or may not stand the test of time. The book is evidently based on very thorough research and is chock full of references to ancient oriental, pre-Columbian, Egyptian, Indian and middle eastern sources. I came away from the book with the understanding that, aside from Indian mathematics, non-European cultures have contributed very little to modern science and technology. The authors attempts to draw similarities between scientific theories and ancient texts are coincidental at best and spurious and worst. In the last century, Mr. Terisi was involved in debunking claims of an advanced civilization in ancient Africa. This book is an apparent mea-culpa for that transgression of his pan-cultural sensibilities. His romantic sincerity shines through, victimizing intellectual rigor and the whole point of the book.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Clyde, NC, USA 11-26-04
    David Clyde, NC, USA 11-26-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    213
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    13
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    2
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    Overall
    "Great work and presentation"

    This is a great book and will be rewardimg for the readers of the more scientific and mathmatical literature. If you like the works of Hawking,Einstein,and their peers, as well as the genera of articulate historical, geographical, and cosmological writings...this book is for you. If you are well read in science, math and history...Get This Book!

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Omar Port Washington, NY, USA 08-09-03
    Omar Port Washington, NY, USA 08-09-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Views the past through a contemporary lens"

    Don't bother with this book. All you will get from it are childish interpretations of old ideas. Just because an idea from a faraway era resembles some modern empirically established fact does not mean that that ancient idea has any connection at all to the currently accepted fact. All this book does is try to patronize minorities after ripping them off (it is quite overpriced for the kind of book it is).
    Yes, I believe that non european peoples may have had sophisticated intellectual traditions at times in their history, however, this book is not the way to learn about them.
    It is a misleading book that you will be better off not reading.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Igor R. Efimov St. Louis, MO, USA 10-16-09
    Igor R. Efimov St. Louis, MO, USA 10-16-09 Member Since 2007

    Daily commute and frequent travel predispose to solitude on the move, a condition treatable by a good audiobook. Addicted to audiobooks...

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Excellent reading for a history buff"

    The book is well researched, meticulous, pays attention to details, perhaps a bit too much in some parts. But it gives a broad and comprehensive review of history of ideas which led to discovery of reason and birth of science. It is not an easy reading for a sleepy traveler. But for a prepared mind it opens the history of human thought unbiased by both proponents and opponents of world domination by a single cultural tradition. Human mind has been forged by multitude of cultures and civilizations - this book tells loud and clear.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Evans, GA, USA 02-08-04
    Anne Evans, GA, USA 02-08-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent!"

    As a scientist, I am pleased to recommend this book. The science is fascinating and presented in a very clear manner. The long view of how the discoveries intersect and build on each other is very interesting. The reader is talented and keeps ones interest. The recording is very good.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Niklas Taby, Sweden 06-10-13
    Niklas Taby, Sweden 06-10-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Something for the spirituality section?"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The basic premise of the book is great and I have to say that I found it interesting and informative at first.

    Somewhat light on hard facts and full of opinions which is OK until about half way through the book when it became clear that this appear to be a selection of facts and anecdotes to build up a religious and/or spiritual message/point of view.


    What about Peter Johnson’s performance did you like?

    I liked Peter's performance, enjoyable narration.


    Any additional comments?

    Differing points of view are always welcome and even though I do not agree with the authors point of view it was a good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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