In the Light of Science
by Demetris Nicolaides

Price at time of review: $19.00
266 pp.
Prometheus Books
Amherst, NY
ISBN: 9781615922253

Grade Level: College

Reviewed by Marc Zucker
Assistant Professor

In the Light of Science is a wonderful new book relating ancient science to modern theories. Demetris Nicolaides starts from a general discussion of society as a whole: the development of societies and views on religion. Nicolaides spends significant time discussing the Pre–Socratics, but it is not simply the discussion of their theories that stands out. It is his constant discussion of modern scientists and theorists and how their ideas relate to those of the Pre–Socratics with physicists such as Schrodinger, Einstein, and Maxwell.

A major theme throughout is how the questions of modern science are not localized, but rather large–scale philosophical and often theological problems. A case in point is his discussion of the debate between a geocentric universe and a heliocentric one, as well as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity’s role in this conversation. Quantum Entanglement is discussed in the light of Parmenides and of course Zeno’s paradoxes are given their space for exposition.

This book should serve as an excellent resource for teachers and college students alike and can be used as a text within a class on the history of science or as a supplement to one on modern physics. This will allow students to get a bit of a glimpse of the larger philosophical issues at play and the role they played in the foundations of science, only to re–emerge in the modern world.

You will find that this engaging book has a decent collection of notes (more like a reference section) that should allow students to reach a jumping off point to delve into some of the original texts. The book itself is not very glossy, there being neither pictures nor images. But that should not stop anyone from finding much within this book that will start one thinking about issues that are now once again being grappled with in the largest universities. What do you think?

Review posted on 2/10/2015

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