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- Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 4, Physics and Physical Technology ...
- Science and Civilization in China: eBooks
- Book reviews: Bomb, Book and Compass: Joseph Needham and the Great Secrets of China
- In Search of Chinese Science
Arthur W. Hummel, Science and Civilisation in China.
Science and Civilisation in China —present is an ongoing series of books about the history of science and technology in China published by Cambridge University Press. It was initiated and edited by British historian Joseph Needham — In , Needham—along with an international team of collaborators—initiated the project to study the science, technology, and civilisation of ancient China. This project produced a series of volumes published by Cambridge University Press.
Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 4, Physics and Physical Technology ...
Using cross-cultural comparison, Joseph Needham composed a "connected history" of Chinese science and technology in global context, so that his Science and Civilisation in China SCC offered a refreshing view of science and technology to readers. In the SCC 's subvolume on mechanical engineering vol. Needham further tried to verify the possible origin and transregional dissemination including stimulus diffusion of such inventions as the astronomical clockwork and the interconversion of rotary and rectilinear motion in Eurasia.
Although it was difficult to make satisfying arguments about the impact of Chinese knowledge on any European invention, Needham's methodologies, and even his enlightening speculations, are of real significance for present and future scholarship.
Joseph Needham — spent almost half a lifetime researching the Chinese tradition of knowledge and heading up the creation of the seminal book series Science and Civilisation in China SCC , which remains the most comprehensive work on the history of science and technology in China available in non-Chinese languages. Contrary to Eurocentric practices of his time, Needham pioneered the integration of Chinese science and technology as a sample of non-Western traditions into the history [End Page ] of world civilization.
In this sense, then, the "old-fashioned" questions and methodologies Needham focuses on are of real significance for contemporary readers.
They remain exciting areas to develop and thus deserve further analysis. Apart from the scholars who worked with Needham, Chinese historians made their own significant contributions to comprehensive research on the same subject. In the s the Chinese Academy of Sciences established the Research Department on the History of Natural Sciences the predecessor of the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences , which was committed to studying the history of science and technology in premodern China.
However, as a result of political movements and other factors, there were long delays before Chinese historians of science and technology could realize the aspiration of composing a series on the history of science and technology in the premodern era.
This set of books fully utilizes indigenous sources and archaeological materials, and conducts systematic verification and elucidation of disciplinary history, far exceeding SCC in these regards. Nevertheless, Chinese scholars are still outstripped by Joseph Needham in the overall understanding of the transregional dissemination of science and technology and comparative studies.
This article neither intends to comprehensively evaluate SCC nor attempt to discuss the so-called Needham Question. The primary purpose is to provide a discussion of Needham's methodologies in studying the history of Chinese science and technology, with his subvolume on mechanical engineering SCC 4. In the first volume of SCC , Needham alphabetically listed the attainments of science and technology in premodern China.
By referring to the categories of modern mechanical engineering, Liu identified premodern technologies but rarely made comparisons between them and machinery in other civilizations.
Unlike Liu, by drawing comparisons Needham distinguished inventions in the history of premodern China and observed that China served as the inventor or contributor of efficient harness, "Cardan" suspension, and helicopter top.
For some inventions, Needham might not be the earliest researcher to study the material, but he offered unique contributions to their identification. For instance, he stated that the water-powered armillary sphere and celestial globe tower astronomical tower for short was equipped with the earliest escapement clocks.
A typical example can be found in the identification of the gimbal or the gimbal suspension. Needham first introduced the European gimbal suspension in reverse chronological order and remarked that it was also designated as the "Cardan" suspension "because it was described by Jerome Cardan in his De Subtilitate in Needham traced this device to the "ring-suspension," which was mentioned in the Pneumatica of Philo n of Byzantium ca.
Nonetheless, the historian of science G. Sarton cautions that this claim may be "an interpolation of later Arabic compilers. Needham then shifted his attention to China. He fashioned a contrivance of rings which could revolve in all the four directions, so that the body of the burner remained constantly level, and could be placed among bedclothes and cushions.
For this he gained much renown. Needham placed a high premium on issues such as how technologies emerged and circulated, going far beyond his Chinese counterparts in this respect. Joseph Needham was particularly concerned about the invention and dissemination of technology in Eurasia. The astronomical clockwork, as the "soul" of the mechanical clock, is a special case to which Needham paid attention.
He held the belief that "The methods of later-generation of clockworks all fall into the spectrum involved in the astronomical tower. He pointed out that "celestial balance" can realize the isochronal and discontinuous operation of the waterwheel and the whole instrument. Price further judged the significance of the astronomical tower in the history of mechanical invention.
In March their article entitled "Chinese Astronomical Clockwork" stated that "It thus appears that the Chinese tradition of astronomical clock was more nearly in the direct line of ancestry of the late medieval European mechanical clocks" and emphasized that the device, which controlled the rotation of a waterwheel, was a special escapement.
Combridge constructed an operational model of the astronomical tower. Coming out in , the subvolume on mechanical engineering of Needham's SCC devoted one-sixth of its length to the discussion of "clockwork: six hidden centuries," namely the history of clocks the astronomical tower and related objects.
Needham asserted that the "water-wheel linkwork escapement" of the eleventh-century astronomical tower marked the world's earliest escapement. Needham was of the opinion that "the Chinese escapement constitutes an intermediate stage between the time-measuring properties of liquid flow and those of mechanical oscillation. On one hand, he believed that "The weight-drive descended from the floats of the Hellenistic anaphoric clocks and mechanical puppet theatres. Given the scarcity and incompleteness of the remaining ancient historical materials, it is no easy task for any historian to provide complete and satisfying arguments about the origin and avenues of dissemination of technologies.
Attempting to do so therefore incurs some risk. One opinion has it that Needham's view of the global history of science, which emphasizes cross-cultural dissemination, is flawed. The "anticipations" and disseminations he posited are in various cases problematic. Regarding the inference of Needham, Wang, and Price that Su Sung's astronomical clock could have influenced the West by stimulus diffusion, scholars such as David S.
Landes considered it unreasonable. For European clocks, the escapement is indispensable, allowing the weight or spring to drive the gear system slowly. For the Chinese mechanisms, the steady flow of water from clepsydra is channeled into scoops to produce the torque that drives the water-wheel. The escapement exerts direct control over the waterwheel, which is made to periodically rotate.
Evidently, "the major part of the time-keeping was effected by the constancy of the flow of the water. It seems unlikely that the astronomical tower influenced the Europeans who invented mechanical clocks. To take another example, Needham believed European efforts to convert the direction of motion in machinery happened during "the fundamental [End Page ] revolution" in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe but claims that the Chinese did so much earlier. He pointed out that Chinese first made the piston-bellow and the combination of eccentric, connecting-rod and piston-rod during or even prior to the Song Dynasty ca.
In light of the time difference, he suggested it was probable that a direct genetic connection existed between the European "expiston" and the Chinese "adpiston. However, his claim is uncorroborated by the evidence, leading to the suspicion that Needham's claims probably exaggerated the influence of Chinese inventions on the West.
Indeed, comparative research on knowledge in different regions and traditions may be one of the most complicated and difficult issues a historian can undertake, and the results usually provoke hot debates, as was the case with Needham's research. Nevertheless, it is still one of the most effective methods for developing a global understanding of the history of technology and science.
In the CAS Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, a group of scholars concentrates specifically on comparative research of science and technology, starting with the study of selective cases. This group seeks a deep understanding of the multilinear development and dissemination of knowledge. Such research requires detailed analyses of relevant sources, accurate models of the development and dissemination of knowledge, as well as knowledge of different cultural and social contexts of science and technology.
A global picture of the history of science and technology needs international collaboration and interdisciplinary research. Needham's Science and Civilisation in China significantly advanced the comprehension of Chinese cultural traditions and offered a fresh take on the history of science and technology through the approach of "connected histories.
Not only did he develop in-depth understandings of Chinese traditions of science and technology, his work also yielded multiple credible and illuminating conclusions.
As the "chief designer" of SCC , Needham utilized categories of modern science as a reference to identify China's scientific discoveries, technological inventions, and innovations. Considering the consistency or similarity of knowledge, he inferred or concluded the cross-cultural knowledge relevance [End Page ] and knowledge dissemination, and proposed the origins of knowledge and possible paths or means.
It was his predilection to illustrate the spread of certain technologies with the concept of "stimulus diffusion. Needham's collaborators were integral to the composition of the SCC. The subvolume on mechanical engineering was accomplished with the aid of Wang Ling. Wang did not substitute for his authorship but sought sources and literature for him, especially within Chinese historical texts.
Indeed, SCC shows their valuable appreciation for technical details. A fly in the ointment is the obvious shortage of knowledge about manufacturing technology in the context of the whole discipline of mechanical engineering. Admittedly, some of Needham's arguments reveal that his assumptions might have been a little too bold, with insufficient evidence provided to verify them. Nevertheless, the virtues cannot be obscured by the defects.
As great a scholar as he was, Needham left SCC as a tremendous academic legacy, which remains an important resource for international scholars to comprehensively understand the traditions of Chinese science and technology.
His questions and attempted answers are enlightening, and his methodologies for cross-cultural comparative research merit emulation. Price, "Chinese Astronomical Clockwork," Nature , , — Beijing, , Blue, "Science s , Civilization s , Historie s.
David S. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.
Institutional Login. LOG IN. Technology and Culture. Zhang Baichun bio and Tian Miao bio. Introduction Joseph Needham — spent almost half a lifetime researching the Chinese tradition of knowledge and heading up the creation of the seminal book series Science and Civilisation in China SCC , which remains the most comprehensive work on the history of science and technology in China available in non-Chinese languages. Identification of Inventions in Premodern China through Comparison In the first volume of SCC , Needham alphabetically listed the attainments of science and technology in premodern China.
Judgment of the Historical Status of Inventions and Inference of Technology Dissemination Joseph Needham was particularly concerned about the invention and dissemination of technology in Eurasia.
Difficulties in the Argumentation of Knowledge Dissemination and the Risk of Error Given the scarcity and incompleteness of the remaining ancient historical materials, it is no easy task for any historian to provide complete and satisfying arguments about the origin and avenues of dissemination of technologies.
Conclusion Needham's Science and Civilisation in China significantly advanced the comprehension of Chinese cultural traditions and offered a fresh take on the history of science and technology through the approach of "connected histories. Footnotes 1. Needham, SCC , 4. Previous Article. Next Article. Additional Information. Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
Science and Civilization in China: eBooks
This is the old United Nations University website. Joseph Needham's contribution to the history of science and technology in China. Gregory Blue. Notes References. One of the greatest needs of the world in our time is the growth and widespread dissemination of a true historical perspective, for without it whole peoples can make the gravest misjudgements about each other. Since science and its application dominate so much our present world, since men of every race and culture take so great a pride in man's understanding and control over her, it matters vitally to know how this modern science came into being. Was it purely a product of the genius of Europe, or did all civilizations bring their contributions to the common pool A right historical perspective here is one of the most urgent necessities of our time.
Reviewed by: Science and Civilisation in China. Volume 7, The Social Background. Science and Civilisation in China. Volume 7 , The Social Background. Part 2 , General Conclusions and Reflections.
One of the great synoptic works of human developmental biology is a three-volume work that was published by Cambridge University Press in Over pages long, Chemical Embryology provides not only an exhaustive account of changes in the embryo and placenta osmotic pressure, pH, respiratory gradients, metabolic processes but a descriptive history of the egg from its earliest mythic beginnings. Leading light of the Cambridge Biochemical Laboratory, he was already being hailed as the new Erasmus, so impressive were his intellectual reach and vigour. He did have the benefits of a photographic memory. Needham liked bringing things between covers, and it wasn't always writings on developmental biology. Wayward driver of an Armstrong Siddeley tourer, brazen nude-bather, radical activist, liberal Anglo-Catholic, and keen morris dancer, he was also acquiring a considerable reputation as a skirt-chaser. Being an eccentric in Cambridge went with the turf; being unsound was to invite social ostracism.
Book reviews: Bomb, Book and Compass: Joseph Needham and the Great Secrets of China
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. Published by Pew Research Center, July 18, The latest volume in Joseph Needham's magisterial revelation of China's premodern scientific and technological traditions introduces medicine.
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In Search of Chinese Science
Вижу, - сказал Бринкерхофф, стараясь сосредоточиться на документе. - Это данные о сегодняшней производительности. Взгляни на число дешифровок. Бринкерхофф послушно следил за движениями ее пальца.
Сьюзан взглянула ему в. - Вы хотите отправить его домой. - Нет. Пусть остается. - Стратмор кивнул в сторону лаборатории систем безопасности. - Чатрукьян уже, надеюсь, ушел.
Хотя смерть Энсея Танкадо спасет в будущем тысячи жизней, Сьюзан никогда не примет ничего подобного: она убежденная пацифистка. Я тоже пацифист, - подумал Стратмор, - я просто не могу позволить себе роскошь вести себя как пацифист. У него никогда не возникало сомнений по поводу того, кто убьет Танкадо. Танкадо находился в Испании, а Испания - вотчина Халохота. Сорокадвухлетний португальский наемник был одним из лучших профессионалов, находящихся в его распоряжении. Он уже много лет работал на АНБ. Родившийся и выросший в Лиссабоне, он выполнял задания агентства по всей Европе.
Arthur F. Wright; Science and Civilisation in China. By Joseph Needham, with the research assistance of Wang Ling. (Ne. Article PDF first page preview.
В подавленном настроении Сьюзан приняла ванну. Она окунулась в мыльную пену и попыталась забыть о Стоун-Мэнор и Смоки-Маунтинс. Куда его понесло? - думала. - Почему он не звонит. Вода из горячей постепенно превратилась в теплую и, наконец, холодную.
Вы хотите приделать к Цифровой крепости черный ход. Его слова встретило гробовое молчание. Хейл понял, что попал в яблочко. Но невозмутимость Стратмора, очевидно, подверглась тяжкому испытанию.
Энсей Танкадо… родился в январе… - Пожалуйста, - вежливо сказал Беккер. - Положите на место. Офицер еще какое-то время разглядывал паспорт, потом положил его поверх вороха одежды. - У этого парня была виза третьего класса.
Если мистер Хейл не образумится, снайперы должны быть готовы стрелять на поражение. Всю ответственность я беру на. Быстрее. Хейл выслушал все это, не сдвинувшись с места и не веря своим ушам.
Ну и полет, придурок, - издевательски хмыкнул парень с тремя косичками. Беккер прищурился от внезапной вспышки яркого света. Это был тот самый парень, за которым он гнался от автобусной остановки. Беккер мрачно оглядел море красно-бело-синих причесок.
Я думаю… - Вы протестуете? - переспросил директор и поставил на стол чашечку с кофе. - Я протестую. Против вашего присутствия в моем кабинете. Я протестую против ваших инсинуаций в отношении моего заместителя, который якобы лжет.