The Genius of China

The Genius of China

3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention

Book - 1998
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It is one of the ironies of history that the Chinese, who had all the ingredients for modern science long before the Renaissance, failed to build on their immense knowledge. Today, very few people are aware of the vast body of Chinese invention. The suspension bridge, the fishing reel, the stirrup, the parachute, paper money, playing cards, the decimal system, the seismograph, negative numbers, brandy, rudders, cranks, movable type, matches, steroids as drugs, propellers, biological pest control--all these and many more were Chinese inventions. This volume traces the stunning achievements of ancient and medieval China.
Publisher: London : Prion, 1998
Edition: Paperback ed
ISBN: 9781853752926
Characteristics: 248 p. : ill. (some col.), col. map ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: China


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IndyPL_SteveB Nov 14, 2018

You probably already know that the Chinese invented fireworks, porcelain, paper, and noodles. But that ignores the dozens of other inventions invented in China, sometimes more than 2,000 years before their appearance in Western Europe. For example: the iron plow, cast iron, the belt drive, the suspension bridge, petroleum and natural gas as fuel, the wheelbarrow, the crossbow, the compass, the parachute, gunpowder, the flame-thrower, even the way we tune instruments today. This is a one volume summary of Joseph Needham’s monumental 28-volume encyclopedia, *Science and Civilisation in China.* Needham was astounded to find that many of the great discoveries in science, mathematics, astronomy, and engineering had been anticipated in China as early as 2000 BC. I was pretty astounded myself to read about it.

Very few of us are scholars willing to tackle the full work. Temple’s 1-volume summary is very readable and well-illustrated, although of necessity crowded with information. If you are interested in China or in the history of science, your mind will be expanded by this book.

Aug 10, 2015

Great book with an interesting presentation on the mathematical and physical sciences! I highly recommend the book to history buffs and people who like to know about the origin of our science.

Jul 06, 2015

Interesting overall, though tedious in places. Apparently Western culture owes more than we ever knew to ancient China!


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