« ÎnapoiContinuați »
It is not without some anxiety that I offer this little work to the public, for it is, I believe, the first attempt which has been made to treat the difficult subject of the History of Science in a short and simple way.
Its object is to place before young and unscientific people those main discoveries of science which ought to be known by every educated person, and at the same time to impart a living interest to the whole, by associating with each step in advance some history of the men who made it.
During the many years that I enjoyed the privilege of acting as secretary to the late Sir Charles Lyell, and was thus brought in contact with many of the leading scientific men of our day, I often felt very forcibly how many important facts and generalizations of science, which are of great value both in the formation of character and in giving a true estimate
· Mr. Baden Powell's excellent little ‘History of Natural Philo. sophy,' published in Lardner's 'Cyclopædia' in 1834, is scarcely intended for beginners, and does not extend farther than the seventeenth century. This is the only work of the kind I have been able to find.
of life and its conditions, are totally unknown to the majority of otherwise well-educated persons.
Great efforts are now being made to meet this difficulty, by teaching children a few elementary facts of the various branches of science ; but, though such instruction is of immense value, something more is required in order that the mind may be prepared to follow intelligently the great movement of modern thought. The leading principles of science ought in some measure to be understood; and these will, I believe, be most easily and effectually taught by showing the steps by which each science has attained its present importance.
It is this task which I have endeavoured to accomplish; and if teachers will make their pupils master the explanations given in these pages and, wherever it is possible, try the experiments suggested, I venture to hope that this little work may supply that modest amount of scientific information which everyone ought to possess, while, at the same time, it will form a useful groundwork for those who wish afterwards to study any special branch of science.
· The plan adopted has been to speak of discoveries in their historical order, and to endeavour to give such a description of each as can be understood by any person of ordinary intelligence. This has made it necessary to select among subjects of equal importance those which could be dealt with in plain language, and to avoid passing allusions to such as did not admit of such explanation.