• The Story of Western Science

  • From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory
  • By: Susan Wise Bauer
  • Narrated by: Julian Elfer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (229 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

A riveting road map to the development of modern scientific thought.

Far too often, public discussion of science is carried out by journalists, voters, and politicians who have received their science secondhand. The Story of Western Science shows us the joy and importance of reading groundbreaking science writing for ourselves and guides us back to the masterpieces that have changed the way we think about our world, our cosmos, and ourselves.

Able to be referenced individually or listened to together as the narrative of Western scientific development, the book's 28 succinct chapters lead listeners from the first science texts by Hippocrates, Plato, and Aristotle through 20th-century classics in biology, physics, and cosmology. The Story of Western Science illuminates everything from mankind's earliest inquiries to the butterfly effect, from the birth of the scientific method to the rise of earth science and the flowering of modern biology.

Each chapter recommends one or more classic books and provides entertaining accounts of crucial contributions to science, vivid sketches of the scientist-writers, and clear explanations of the mechanics underlying each concept. The Story of Western Science reveals science to be a dramatic undertaking practiced by some of history's most memorable characters. It reminds us that scientific inquiry is a human pursuit - an essential, often deeply personal, sometimes flawed, frequently brilliant way of understanding the world.

In the tradition of her perennial best seller The Well-Educated Mind, Susan Wise Bauer delivers an accessible, entertaining, and illuminating springboard into the scientific education you never had.

©2015 Susan Wise Bauer (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Story of Western Science

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good text, tedious book structure

While I have no problem with the narrative per se, the choice to read all of the book citations at the end of each chapter makes the audio book rather tedious to listen to. This is something that would not be a defect in a printed work, since it is easy to skip them there. These should have been moved to an appendix.
If you decide to listen to this otherwise well written book, be prepared to skip to the end of every chapter, once the narrator gets to the point where he starts reading out the website URL.

35 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Overall good, but shallow

Very neat content and easy to grasp. With a comprehensible account of the flow over science history, it is easy to focus on the main matter. I would emphasize the word "flow" here, because that is the focus of the book and its strong point.

The downside, and kind of necessary (maybe), is the superficiality on some details, which can give or reenforce some misleading assumptions on facts. It exposed only conclusions on a myriad of people's assertions; philosophical conclusions become mere coincidence or luck, and facts supporting or undermining beliefs are overseen. While not completely wrong, it is not completely true either. Nonetheless, the book keeps its value as an overview well rendered. Even though the particularities surrounding Galileo that were against him are not present, or if why coincidences happened to work is not properly explained, or any other relevant details, this helps to focus on the historical flux rather than the historical points (with their difficulties snd blessed).

Also, there is a beautiful writing there, with good choice of words transforming what could be a dull subject into an vivid and captivating comedy and drama. Roles are played, lives are lived, tragedies and comedies unroll, while the supernatural is unveiled natural. Very pleasant reading/listening.

10 people found this helpful

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

Good but not life changing

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The book just kind of ends. There is no wrap up. It just stops

Any additional comments?

This was an OK book. The stories were good but like my title says, this is not a life changing book. Probably will not read it again. The constant reading off of the website and telling me where I can find the books mentioned was distracting and took away from the book. I know how the internet works. Give me the website once. Google is pretty good at finding stuff like that.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Definitely worth the listen

Loved the whole thing, content and performance, except for the occasional odd pronunciation by the narrator. The "recommended reading" bits at the end of each chapter are clumsy to listen to, but fortunately short.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Story of Science.

Lots of information on different scientist through history. Good narrator and interesting. Have fun listing.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good survey of the science.

Not too deep in the weeds so that a layman can't understand the science. .

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This is one I will listen to again.

Worth the time it takes to get through this book. We don't learn how the sciences developed historically. We also don't get a concept for how recent so many discoveries have been. I wish the Audio book chapters were labeled with more than numbers so it was more easy to reference back to it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great blend of historical scientific achievements

For someone with a background in science, I am glad I experienced this narrative with a foundational context. However, I would entirely recommend this story to anyone learning science at any level to fulfill an appreciation of how long the journey took to arrive at an understanding of the world we might take for granted. I listened to this on my commute to and from work, and felt comfortable stopping and starting without worrying about disrupting the flow and tone. It was captivating enough to keep me entertained and I loved the in-text reading recommendations (although odd to hear citations in an audiobook).

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good summary of Science

It was just brief on certain topics, good book in all. Short and to the point.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An interesting over view.

I will explore some of the source material.
Some of the politics and ethics made me laugh and wonder what might have been.

An afterword would have been nice.