Galileo’s Finger: The 10 Great Ideas of Science

| April 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

Today let’s have a look at another science best-seller called “Galileo’s Finger: The 10 Great Ideas of Science”. In this book author Peter Atkins has an ambitious goal – to tell the story of the greatest ideas in the history of science. An ambitious goal indeed, but I think the author does a good job in general. So let’s have a closer look at the book.

Basic Info

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (September 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198609418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198609414
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Amazon Customer Review:4.5 out of 5 stars (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


About the Author

Peter William Atkins (born 10 August 1940) is a British chemist and former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Lincoln College. He has written a number of  popular chemistry textbooks, including “Physical Chemistry”, “Inorganic Chemistry, and “Molecular Quantum Mechanics”. Atkins is also the author of a number of popular science books for the general public, including “Atkins’ Molecules” and “Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science”.


About the Book

Galileo, one of whose fingers is preserved in a vessel displayed in Florence, provided much of the impetus for modern science, pointing the way out of medieval ignorance. So it’s appropriate that his finger symbolizes the start of new era in western science and culture. In accurate account of the central ideas of contemporary science, Peter Atkins tells the story behind the central ideas that transformed science.

“My intention is for us to travel to the high ridges of science,” Atkins tells us. “As the journey progresses and I lead you carefully to the summit of understanding, you will experience the deep joy of illumination that science alone provides.”

The book has 10 chapters, which tell the story of 10 great ideas of science. These chapter are:

Evolution: The Emergence of Complexity
DNA: The Rationalization of Biology
Energy: The Universalization of Accountancy
Entropy: The Spring of Change
Atoms: The Reduction of Matter
Symmetry: The Quantification of Beauty
Quanta: The Simplification of Understanding
Cosmology: The Globalization of Reality
Spacetime: The Arena of Action
Arithmetic: The Limits of Reason



1) More info about the author

2) “Galileo’s Finger: 10 Great Ideas of Science” at Amazon(paperback and kindle editions):





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Category: General Science Books

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