A major retelling of the history of science from 1450 to the present day that explodes the myth that science began in Europe - instead celebrating how scientists from Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific were integral to this very human story
We are told that modern science was invented in Europe, the product of great minds like Nicolaus Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein. But this is wrong. Science is not, and has never been, a uniquely European endeavour.
Copernicus relied on mathematical techniques borrowed from Arabic and Persian texts. When Newton set out the laws of motion, he relied on astronomical observations made in Asia and Africa. When Darwin was writing On the Origin of Species, he consulted a sixteenth-century Chinese encyclopaedia. And when Einstein was studying quantum mechanics, he was inspired by the Bengali physicist, Satyendra Nath Bose. Horizons pushes beyond Europe, exploring the ways in which scientists from Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific fit into the history of science, and arguing that it is best understood as a story of global cultural exchange.
Challenging both the existing narrative and our perceptions of revered individuals, above all this is a celebration of the work of scientists neglected by history. Among many others, we meet Graman Kwasi, the seventeenth-century African botanist who discovered a new cure for malaria, Hantaro Nagaoka, the nineteenth-century Japanese scientist who first described the structure of the atom, and Zhao Zhongyao, the twentieth-century Chinese physicist who discovered antimatter (but whose American colleague received the Nobel prize).
Scientists today are quick to recognise the international nature of their work. In this ambitious and revisionist history, James Poskett reveals that this tradition goes back much further than we think.
'This treasure trove of a book puts the case persuasively and compellingly that modern science did not develop solely in Europe. Hugely important' Jim Al-Khalili
'Brilliant. Revolutionary and revelatory' Alice Roberts
'Remarkable. Challenges almost everything we know about science in the West' Jerry Brotton, author of A History of the World in 12 Maps
'Perspective-shattering' Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller, 'Editor's Choice'
Superb . . . Poskett rightly highlights the shamefully overlooked contributions of Indian, Chinese and Japanese scientists
A fundamental retelling of the story of science . . . Poskett deftly blends the achievements of little-known figures into the wider history of science . . . brims with clarity
An honest conversation about the history of science is therefore not just of moral importance - it is part of what makes discovery possible
A lively story of global collaboration in the study of nature from 1500 to the present day . . . rich and lucid
European scientists for centuries served the political goals of empire building, which was based on slave trading, military power, oppression and violence . . . Poskett hopes for a future where the historic truth about how scientific progress has been made is universally accepted, where all cultures are valued, and where global scientific collaboration unleashes the creativity to solve problems such as climate change
Horizons shows that the story of science has always been a planetary one: a non-linear process of cross-fertilisation, competition, cooperation and conflict . . . What makes the book so engrossing is that Poskett's grasp of historical contexts is as firm as his scientific knowledge
Generation after generation, people in western countries have been educated to believe that the history of modern science began primarily in the 17th century in western Europe. In a book of breathtaking range and high quality, Poskett dismantles that narrow version of events and produces a genuinely global history
This treasure trove of a book puts the case persuasively and compellingly that modern science did not develop solely in Europe. Hugely important
Brilliant . . . In this revolutionary and revelatory book, James Poskett not only gives us a truly worldwide history of science, but explains how international connections have stimulated scientific advances through time
Science's internationalism is well recognized. But scientists tend to regard it as a recent phenomenon that arose from the 'big science' of the twentieth century, rather than one with a history of more than 500 years going back to the Islamic science that inspired astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, and beyond, observes historian James Poskett. His revisionary "global history" boldly rebuts this