Early Chinese Work in Natural Science
A Re-examination of the Physics of Motion, Acoustics, Astronomy and Scientific Thoughts
(中國古代自然科學:動力學、聲學、天文學與科技思想)
Chen Cheng-Yih
March 1996
300 pages
6.5" x 9.5"
Hardback 978-962-209-385-0
This edition is no longer available.

This book re-examines the nature of early Chinese work in natural science, on the basis of original records analysis and artifacts discovered in recent decades by archaeological explorations of China’s past. It presents a concise account of early scientific ideas and thoughts of nature, and their effect on the development of natural science. It is suggested that the traditional characterization of early Chinese work in natural science requires substantial modification. The absence of early Chinese participation in the development of ‘modern’ science is not, as commonly assumed, a consequence of lacking early scientific tradition in ancient China. It is argued that the concept of ‘inhibitive’ factors is dubious without taking their dynamical relationships into account, and that socio-economical and political influence has to be considered when seeking answers to the major setbacks in science and technology in China. The book also shows that there is no basis for the claims saying that acoustics and astronomy in China have their roots in Babylon.

Chen Cheng-Yih is a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. His research interest has been in atomic and molecular physics, and the history and philosophy of science. He is Director of the Wei-Kung Institute and Editor of the Wei-Kung book series on the History of Science and Technology in East Asia.

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