Cover: The Truth of Science: Physical Theories and Reality, from Harvard University PressCover: The Truth of Science in PAPERBACK

The Truth of Science

Physical Theories and Reality

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$37.00 • £32.95 • €33.95

ISBN 9780674001817

Publication Date: 05/01/2000


272 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

2 halftones, 10 line illustrations


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This is an excellent, erudite and interesting book. It portrays science as an extremely productive method and underlines the fact that the prosperity of our world is the fruit of our scientific endeavour. Newton makes you proud to be a scientist. Read this, and pat yourself on the back.—David Hughes, New Scientist

Newton offers us fascinating non-technical accounts of many physical theories and an obviously sincere and passionate defence of the standing of his discipline. As he rightly points out, much that is written in the name of social constructivism shows ignorance of and even hostility to science.—James W. McAllister, Times Literary Supplement

Much has been written…about the Science Wars. Attacks on science come from many fronts, ranging from postmodern deconstructionists to penny-pinching congressmen to Christian fundamentalists to ordinary citizens who feel confused by conflicting discoveries, intimidated by the difficulty of understanding modern theories, and threatened by a world view that seems to rob their lives of the security and comfort of religion… In The Truth of Science Newton quotes the physicist Percy Bridgman’s definition of the scientific method: ‘to use your noodle, and no holds barred.’ For those who want to pursue a better understanding and appreciation of the world of science, its methods and results, there is no better place to start than this eminently readable work by the distinguished physicist, R. G. Newton.—Lucy Horwitz, Boston Book Review

[The Truth of Science] makes very interesting reading for its analysis of how science works. It also provides for the scientist particularly a useful introduction to relativist ideas.—B. D. Josephson, Endeavour

It is, of course, useful for scientists to be reminded that others often have very different views of science and that they should be prepared to talk to them. However, such discussions are often surprisingly difficult, and this book should help scientists to have a reasonable public debate… The author says that his book is intended for anyone with some scientific education…not for professional philosophers or sociologists of science. However, I think it would be useful for both groups. It would help the former to widen their horizons and provide the latter with some professional guidance in language that is not too technical… [One] philosopher who specializes in the history of quantum theory…intends to buy the book—and I hope others like her will do so too.—Douglas Morrison, Physics World

A welcome, unpretentious exposition of a physicist’s view of how the process of science can lead to reliable results, fantastic as those results often seem to be…its level, length, and lucidity make it accessible to a broad readership that would find most current discussions of scientific epistemology to be tedious, murky, or otherwise unattractive. Newton gives a forthright, sensible response to the ‘relativistic social constructionism’ that has become remarkably pervasive and strident in many recent books dealing with ’science studies.’—Dudley R. Herschbach, Harvard University, 1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

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