The Day The Universe Changed
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The Day The Universe Changed

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  1,051 ratings  ·  47 reviews
When people knew the earth was flat and it was the center of the universe, all life revolved around that truth. Galileo's telescope changed the truth. And with that one change, all architecture, music, literature, science, politics -- everything changed, mirroring the new view of truth. This tape is James Burke's examination of the moments in history when a change in knowl...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published 1985 by British Broadcasting Corporation (first published 1984)
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Wael Mahmoud
ليس تعليقا على الكتاب - وهو بالمناسبة كتاب رائع وممتع - ولكن فرصة لحكاية قصة حقيقية حزينة طريفة تخص نسختي من هذا الكتاب.

كنت قد أعرت نسختي لأحد أصدقائي الذي تركها بسيارته يوما وإذ بالسيارة تسرق وبعد دفع الفدية إستعاد السيارة ولكن بدون الكتاب. يبدو أن اللص المثقف أو أحمد راتب "آخر الرجال المحترمين" قرر الإحتفاظ به. ولذلك ومن هذا المنبر أوجه نداء لكل الأعضاء الأفاضل ان يساعدوني في البحث عن نسختي لدى باعة الكتب القديمة - لا أحلم بأن يكون اللص المثقف شخصيا عضو معنا هنا ويتكرم بإعادة الكتاب لي - النسخ...more
Douglas Bittinger
I absolutely *love* this book. It may well be the only non-fiction book that I have ever said this about, but I found so much entertainment as well as a wealth of education in it that it deserves this banner. Mr Burke takes historically significant moments - some I knew about and some I didn't - and shows us just how these moments turned the entire Universe of knowledge on it's ear. Even if we didn't see it at the time. It is very thought provoking and really opened my eyes to the stodgy way we...more
I believe this was the companion book to the wonderful PBS Series of the same title hosted by James Burke (in the 1980's). In it, he pinpoints pinnacle points in scientific history that changed the world as we know it (hopefully you weren't reading that last sentence aloud).

What I love most about this book is that Mr Burke understands that no Scientific "discovery" or theory actually drops from a tree like Newton's apple (no matter how tasty that apple is). He does a wonderful job rewinding from...more
I didn't like this book because James Burke has a huge underlying bias: There is no real truth. I do agree with his idea that our perspective and beliefs shape the way we see the world, and that science and knowledge of the world influences how we see the world around us. Ironically, the reason I didn't like his book is his own bias against Christianity. Burke seems to portray the idea that since our understanding of the truth is always changing, we cannot rely on our beliefs and that there is n...more
Burke is a very clear, concise and intelligent writer who carefully chooses the events he believes to be the most signal in changing our understanding of the way the universe works. He ends his book with the thesis that since all facts and information are filtered through the societal understanding of the people who look for and interpret them, truth itself is relative, and the way we understand the universe today is not necessarily the final say. In fact, history would suggest that another chan...more
The book is a companion to the 1980s BBC series by James Burke, The Day The Universe Changed. Burke episodically walks us through some of the turning points in the development and educational evolution of man. The BBC series (shown on PBS in the 80's) is enlightening, provocative, and very entertaining. The book, however, is dry by comparison, and lacks Burke's personal entertaining style and wit.
You can see the BBC series on Youtube; you can also buy the DVD set for home TV viewing, about $100...more
History is not defined by the things that happen; it is defined by what causes things to happen. The book, The Day the Universe Changed, by James Burke, explores those moments of change, that have occurred throughout history. Most of the changes examined by the author, at first glance, seem out of place, and even irrelevant. However, every change discussed in this book is part of a bigger picture: their presence in our modern world. This book explains that although our world is incredibly differ...more
Based on his TV series of the same name from the mid-1980s. It’s about the fundamental changes that have occurred in our understanding of how the world works, and the ways in which society has been changed as a result. Burke’s great gift is for connecting things (which is why I guess he called his later TV series Connections!) and I particularly like the way he weaves scientific and cultural change together in his accounts of the birth of modern medicine and the birth of modern geology and evolu...more
Pamela Deters
I give up. I made it about 2/3 of the way through before I had to throw in the towel on this one. 1) It was very poorly written. Main ideas are very poorly articulated. 2) He is either anti-religious or at least anti-Catholic. A lot of personal opinion colored his commentary to such a degree it is difficult to trust his conclusions.

Rick Ludwig
James Burke is one of my favorite non-fiction authors. I loved "Connections" and my favorite book of his was "The Pinball Effect". Unfortunately, "The Day the Universe Changed" let me down quite a bit. Oh, it still had some excellent scientific history and there were certainly no errors of fact. But the book seemed to lack some of the excitement of Burke's other works and was much less organized. The last chapter was especially nebulous and didn't seem to tie things up well at all. I will contin...more
Oct 20, 2007 James rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
non-fiction. Burke is awesome. Be careful, he looks at things from a perspective that I was not used to. Basically, he goes through history to review the series of events that led from one to another to be pivotal in creating the world we live in. I like him because he focuses on the individuals that were key and tells why they were so crucial. While this can be someone over simplifying, I tend to agree that history often boils down to specific people. Burke puts that individual face on the daun...more
Ethar Mahmoud
عندما تغير العالم
A good overview of the history of scientific development covering a broad range of history. A good read, but I enjoyed "The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science" more, but "wonder" is a more narrowly focused history. "changed" mentions some of what happens in "wonder" in passing.

This seems to be based on the bbc documentary which is available on youtube and worth watching.

This is a book my father gave me 20 plus years ago. I began reading this book about a year ago and abandoned it for months and finally scanned the last 30 pages. I found the earlier sections more interesting than the last few chapters. Burke argues that when man's views of reality are changed by knowledge, reality itself changes. It makes one wonder, what or our "reality" of today will be proven to be very different in the future.
Gary Turner
This book is excellent for what it was intended. Packed with historic facts, feats, stories and anecdotes. I just thoroughly enjoyed. I have given this book to many as a gift. I hope they will take the time to read. Do yourself a big favor and read this instead of watching the latest series of 'who done it'. On a side note, too bad 'California Chrome' had to race against those that did not participate in the 'triple crown'.
An excellent and fascinating book. It took me quite a while to read it as it is pretty heavy material, but I definitely feel smarter for having done so. It looks and reads a lot like a history text (I actually had someone on the plane ask what period in history I was studying), but an interesting one! My only complaint is the poor punctuation editing -- the book would certainly be much easier to read were there more commas.
James Burke is the very epitome of the obnoxious presenter. No question. But I did like both the TV series and book versions of "The Day The Universe Changed". The book is fun--- not analytically deep, of course, but a fun introduction to key events and key ideas that led to the construction of modernity and the modern scientific worldview. Worth reading--- and the series is worth renting, too.
This is a great recap of James Burke's take on change. Really a special book and worth a review if you're a fan of any of Burke's TV work. As a devotee of Connections (I still think its the best documentary series ever made - take that Ken Burns!) this opened my eyes to Burke's scholarship and understanding of the causes and outcomes of change in the Western world.
At times it's a bit difficult to follow, with all the names tossed around within the pages. That didn't prevent me from enjoying it. A clever dip into science that changed history-and vice versa.
Interesting reading his take on the points or times that changed the world. Reading, Mathematics, Medicine, Industrialization, and Science to name a few. Very slow reading as it has many facts and is written somewhat like a text book. I did enjoy the book. Just took me quite a while to finish it.
fills in inevitable holes in the TV script. I especially like his ending points ( no spoiler - read the book or watch the show).
This was another very good book and TV show about how science and it's application affected the world and the future. It came out after the "Connections" programs (if my memory is accurate). As before Burke is the presenter and does a very good job of it all.
My parents got a copy of this with a Nat. Geo. subscription, and BOOM!!! My life changed. Granted, I am a narcissist but this actually made me see how everything is interconnected, and how life has sped up over the past several hundred years.
Water Helen! Water!
Matthew Heil
A good book packed with lots of exciting ideas. I don't know that I agree with all of Burke's coupling of historic events and "causes" but there is plenty to stimulate the mind here. Very enjoyable and Burke is an excellent writer.
geoffrey neilsen
Once again, I cheated by 'reading' the audio book. Some interesting thoughts on the movement of ideas across time and distance. Quaint, but well worth re-visiting (it was a TV series too). Recommended by my professor at uni.
~The book which accompanies his TV series of the same name.

~Totally fantastic, although it was a bit too much work for the ol' grey-matter at times. The series is available to watch on YouTube.
Fascinating! I read this book first for AP Modern European History and I was so inspired I started reading other works by Burke! It will change the was you see the world in the most astounding ways.
Burke does a great job of exploring different aspects of science. Each chapter is a fun and fast trip. The chapters are themed, though I couldn't always tell what the point was.
School requirement. This book and video series should be required for primary school. It worked well at a college level with other readings. I recommend it for everyone!

An amazing book that opened my eyes to the extraordinary which is behind so much that we just accept. Entertaining and educational. On my must re-read list.
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Incorrect author 2 10 Jun 29, 2012 02:23PM  
  • Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages
  • The Shape of Inner Space: String Theory and the Geometry of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions
  • The Book of Nothing: Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas about the Origins of the Universe
  • Coming of Age in the Milky Way
  • The Seashell on the Mountaintop: A Story Science, Sainthood, and the Humble Genius who Discovered a New History of the Earth
  • The Day We Found the Universe
  • The Theory of Almost Everything: The Standard Model, the Unsung Triumph of Modern Physics
  • The Ascent of Man
  • Darwin's Island: The Galapagos In The Garden Of England
  • Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles
  • Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking
  • Moonshot: The Inside Story of Mankind's Greatest Adventure
  • The Dinosaur Heresies: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction
  • The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
  • The Pleasure Instinct: Why We Crave Adventure, Chocolate, Pheromones, and Music
  • Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature
  • Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System
  • A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Burke (born 22 December 1936) is a Northern Irish science historian, author and television producer best known for his documentary television series called Connections, focusing on the history of science and technology leavened with a sense of humour.

More about James Burke...
Connections The Pinball Effect: How Renaissance Water Gardens Made The Carburetor Possible - and Other Journeys Through Knowledge Circles: Fifty Round Trips Through History Technology Science Culture The Knowledge Web: From Electronic Agents to Stonehenge and Back -- And Other Journeys Through Knowledge The Axemaker's Gift

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