[ Read Online Kosmos. Entwurf einer physischen Weltbeschreibung ¶ zombies PDF ] by Alexander von Humboldt µ bricksnboho.co.uk

[ Read Online Kosmos. Entwurf einer physischen Weltbeschreibung ¶ zombies PDF ] by Alexander von Humboldt µ Hervorragender Reprint dieses Klassikers von Alexander von Humboldts aus dem 19 Jahrhunderts.

I ve always been an avid reader of science popularizations, and I ve read many especially in the past two years so eventually I had to go back to one of the first, the most comprehensive, and certainly the most successful popularizations of all time Alexander von Humboldt s Kosmos This book is a summary of early nineteenth century science After an introductory section giving von Humboldt s conception of science and explaining what he intends to cover and what he wants to accomplish not an encyclopedic collection of facts or theories but a view of the interconnections of phenomena, the first volume the general Weltgemalde or world picture is divided into an astronomic part and a telluric part The first part begins with nebulas and the galaxy, and narrows down to the stars, the solar system, the planets, comets and meteors, and then describes the Earth in its general form as a planet The second part deals with the structure of the Earth, earthquakes, volcanoes, mountains, rocks, the oceans, the atmosphere and weather, organic life, and physical anthropology The most extensive sections are the geological ones the biological and especially the human sections are short I believe the second, third, and fourth volumes are detailed accounts of astronomy and geology he never got to the detailed views of biology and anthropology, which however are covered in many of his specialized books Kosmos was one of the major best sellers of its time, despite its length and difficulty it represents what the educated non scientist could be expected to know about the sciences for most of the nineteenth century, and for that reason alone is worth reading for anyone interested in the thought of the period.
Although science was and is always changing, and any science popularization is somewhat outdated by the time it is even published the later volumes make an effort to keep up with the latest developments, and a posthumously published fifth volume is made up entirely of such corrections and additions, along with the index to all five , von Humboldt seems curiously modern compared to many other figures of the time The general view of astronomy here didn t change much until the time of Hubble in the 1920 s the geology was essentially except for the Ice Ages, which had only recently been suggested about this time and might be in the later volumes the same paradigm as what I learned in grade school the new view of plate tectonics didn t come until I was in high school The biology on the other hand was superceded the year Humboldt died, with the publication of The Origin of Species, which relies on von Humboldt s discoveries in plant and animal geography for its most convincing arguments The anthropological section, though only a few pages at the end and censored out of the early American translations was especially modern, as he emphasizes his belief in the unity of the human species and makes the case against racial theories with ideas that were only recovered in the 1940s and 1950s, after a century of racist anthropology the facts that traits such as dark skin, wooly hair, and so forth do not vary together but separately in different groups, that various traits are a result of adaptation to the climate and other factors, that language groups and ethnic groups are not the same, and so forth He ends up with a sharp attack on slavery, and unambiguously states that all races have the same rights to freedom If von Humboldt s work is worth reading, the same however cannot be said for the Kindle version While, unlike many free or low cost e books, it is adequately proofread, the formatting is terrible the original endnotes are inserted in the text without any indication of where they begin or end, so that a sentence will break off in the middle, and resume a page or two later without warning This makes the book very confusing to read there are long notes on every page and is especially damaging in German, where verbs and separable prefixes come at the end of sentences My view is that printed books should never have endnotes, and e books should always have endnotes with links from the text Given that von Humboldt was a pioneer in scientific illustrations, inventing isotherms, isoclines, etc as well as geological sections, it is surprising that the book had no illustrations although just as well in the Kindle version, since e books don t generally do well with illustrations the one chart included here was cut off at the end Apparently there was an atlas published by someone else at the same time which contained illustrative material for the book.
I will add my reviews for the subsequent volumes as I finish them Volume 2The second volume of Humboldt s Kosmos, this was not what I expected it to be a detailed version of the general sketch in the first volume it was actually a history of the development of overall views of the physical world, from the time of the early Greeks to the beginning of the eighteenth century The first few chapters deal with the view of the world as expressed in art and literature and emphasize the Indian over the European works the rest deals with the major events which changed humanity s view of the Cosmos the discovery of the Black Sea, the discovery of the Indian Ocean, the expeditions of Alexander, the Roman Empire, the development of Arab science, the discovery of America, and the scientific revolution from Copernicus to Newton This is one of the most interesting histories of science I have read, despite its age especially impressive in its relative freedom from Eurocentrism he considers the modern scientific worldview to be essentially a product of the Arab world As with the first volume, this was very hard to read due to the poor formatting of the Kindle edition and despite my enjoyment of the book I think I will skip the third and fourth volumes until either fixes the Kindle version or I manage to find a print edition.
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