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Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World  By  cover art

Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World

By: Steven L. Goldman,The Great Courses
Narrated by: Steven L. Goldman
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Publisher's summary

What is the greatest scientific idea of all? Because science has so dramatically altered how we live and how we think about ourselves, the answer may well be the very idea of science itself, because - just like science's most important achievements - it, too, needed to be thought about, perfected, and invented. This 36-lecture series explores the ideas that have helped form the foundation of modern life - when society has been willing to pursue them. The lectures interpret the term "scientific idea" broadly, to include the ideas that made science possible at all, as well as the ideas that make it so immensely powerful. The result will be new insights into how science shapes society, as well as the way in which society, in turn, affects the directions taken by science.

You'll learn that there is no sharp distinction between ideas that are classified as scientific and those that are classified as philosophical or mathematical, or even between scientific ideas and political, religious, or aesthetic ideas. And how for 200 years, it has been the interaction of science and technology with society that has been the primary driver of social and cultural change, first in the West, then globally, and at an accelerating rate, affecting social and personal values and relationships; social, political, and economic institutions; and cultural values and activities in ways beyond anything our great-grandparents (or sometimes even parents) would recognize.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World

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    5 out of 5 stars

This opens a door, but will you walk through it?

Professor Goldman’s collegiate vocabulary, as well as his scientific, technological, and historic knowledge, and the manner he emphasizes certain important themes result in a very enjoyable set of lectures that kept me company over the course of a few weeks’ worth of commutes.
Professor Goldman’s work here, the fruit of obvious years' scholarship, cannot be compared to anything I’ve ever read or heard from any other author or professor.
The scientific literacy of Professor Goldman is deep in most areas and unbelievably broad. It is obvious that his not merely summarizing the summaries of science he has read elsewhere, but has delved deeply and thought about the implications of many specialized areas of science, and also how to explain the ramifications to an audience who may not be technical. I highly recommend this book for any student pursuing a BS, MS, or Ph.D. in the sciences--you will obtain a valuable perspective as your knowledge becomes more focuses on one specialty. Even if you are from the liberal arts, this great course will provide a more technical yet not overly technical perspective than you might find in another course.
While professor Goldman is technically a humanities/philosophy professor, his understanding of not only the philosophy of science, but the scientific methods, as well as scientific milestones throughout history and their significance, is much deeper than you might expect.
Very even handed in his narrative, professor Goldman does not shy away from the occasional controversy, for example, within science, and also sometimes between science and culture or science and religion. He does present all sides of the argument, without taking sides.
Lastly, while not explicitly, nor even implicitly as far as I could discern, an area of focus of this course, the role of western civilization in the development of science and technology is presented in a non-political manner. This course is neither politically correct, nor politically incorrect--it merely covers the topic at hand in an even handed and non-controversial manner.

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16 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Be inspired and informed!!

Professor Goldman made me want to go back to the study of Science. His presentation, his knowledge and the love for his subject were obvious in every lecture. This is one lecture series that you cannot put down. I was lost with some of the complex scientific content, but, that just made me want to listen again and go and buy the notes that go with the series.

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10 people found this helpful

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Absorbing

Great erudition, rapidly presented. Will need several revisits to fully absorb its wide ranging content. Would love access to the written transcript for more detailed study.
Neil Brightwell

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8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ok, but not one of the better courses

Given the breadth of material this course covers I was expecting more insights into why a particular scientific ideas presented changed to world. Perhaps the course would be more interesting with a more capable and engaging presenter. I found the incessant pauses as well as references to future lectures annoying and made to discussion difficult to follow. In short, interesting material but boring presentation.

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7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Plenty for both lobes here

What made the experience of listening to Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World the most enjoyable?

Great interplay of abstract and practical, and of philosophy and technology. Professor conveyed tremendous excitement and mastery of the material.

What other book might you compare Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World to and why?

History of Ancient Rome, in that the professors had similar storytelling skills, and gracefully stepped out of the chronological narrative for thematic purposes.

Which scene was your favorite?

Relating of Einstein's Doh! moment when he added a fudge factor to the his General Relativity theory that proved extraneous.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Title is misleading.

Three lectures in and we are still talking about what is knowledge and what Socrates thought about writing down knowledge. Sure, some context may be important, but three lectures in and not even touching on science yet is a bit much. It feels that title is very misleading and that it does not represent the content, which leads to disappointment.

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4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Save your money!

Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

Yes, most are great this was not!

How could the performance have been better?

This, speaker/Auther was an idiot!

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I did not make it through the first chapter the author just rambled on and on about nothing

Any additional comments?

Terrible, Audio book A not so Great course! Truly bad! Doesn't anyone check these before sell them truly the worst audio book ever! I could go on and on but then it would be a great course in how bad this book is.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not for me.

Great speaker but boring topics at times with little to learn and grasp onto. Was wanting to learn more about the scientific topics but received more of a history lesson on view points and the thought processes behind the ideas.

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2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

picked up towards the second half

the first 3rd of the book is brutally slow and boring. the remainder was top notch

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Another excellent narration by Goldman

The quality of the information matched with the eloquence of Goldman's speech patterns makes for an unforgettable experience.

This is an audiobook that every human being should be required to listen to before interacting with the world... every single one.

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2 people found this helpful