More than opposable thumbs, the greatest asset to humanity, after millennia of progress, is our drive to keep asking questions. Weighing the collective human drive and ingenuity required to survive in the natural world, as well as the individual contributions of our most famous historical theorists and practitioners, Leonard Mlodinow celebrates the history of Western knowledge, finding the greatest human triumph in the progress of scientific discovery and thought.
A few million years ago, our ancestors came down from the trees and began to stand upright, freeing our hands to create tools and our minds to grapple with the world around us. Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a passionate and inspiring tour through the exciting history of human progress and the key events in the development of science. In the process, he presents a fascinating new look at the unique characteristics of our species and our society that helped propel us from stone tools to written language and through the birth of chemistry, biology, and modern physics to today's technological world. Along the way he explores the cultural conditions that influenced scientific thought through the ages and the colorful personalities of some of the great philosophers, scientists, and thinkers: Galileo, who preferred painting and poetry to medicine and dropped out of university; Isaac Newton, who stuck needlelike bodkins into his eyes to better understand changes in light and color; and Antoine Lavoisier, who drank nothing but milk for two weeks to examine its effects on his body. Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, and many lesser-known but equally brilliant minds also populate these pages, each of their stories showing how much of human achievement can be attributed to the stubborn pursuit of simple questions (why? how?), bravely asked. The Upright Thinkers is a book for science lovers and for anyone interested in creative thinking and in our ongoing quest to understand our world. At once deeply informed, accessible, and infused with the author's trademark wit, this insightful work is a stunning tribute to humanity's intellectual curiosity. (With black-and-white illustrations throughout.)
About the Author
LEONARD MLODINOW received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California, Berkeley, was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute, and was on the faculty of the California Institute of Technology. His previous books include the best sellers Subliminal (winner of the PEN/E. O. Wilson Award), War of the Worldviews (with Deepak Chopra), The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), and The Drunkard s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (a New York Times Notable Book), as well as Feynman s Rainbow and Euclid s Window. He also wrote for the television series MacGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation."