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The First Scientist: Anaximander and His Legacy
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The First Scientist: Anaximander and His Legacy

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  172 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
“Marvelous. . . . A wonderful book.”—Humana.Mente

“Rovelli is the dream author to conduct us on this journey.”—Nonfiction.fr

“At this point in time, when the prestige of science is at a low and even simple issues like climate change are mired in controversy, Carlo Rovelli gives us a necessary reflection on what science is, and where it comes from. Rovelli is a deeply origina
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 10th 2011 by Westholme Publishing
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Manny
Jun 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in the faith/science debate
The premise of this short book seemed unpromising: a physicist with no formal training in classics or history was apparently claiming that Anaximander, a Greek philosopher about whom almost nothing is known, is the spiritual father of modern science. But, in the event, it was much better than I'd expected. Rovelli is certainly not a historian, but he appears to know Latin and Greek, has read widely, and had enough interesting things to say that he kept me thoroughly entertained. I started this a ...more
Maria Rita
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, reread
Si fa sempre più chiaro che i buoni scienziati riescono a parlare della storia della cultura infinitamente meglio dei cosiddetti umanisti. La conoscono fin nei più reconditi accessi e ne sono dei grandi estimatori. Mi vengono in mente per esempio oltre a Carlo Revelli, parlando di italiani viventi, Edoardo Boncinelli e Piergiorgio Odifreddi. Attraverso le loro parole si intravvede una sorta di cartone dell'affresco rappresentato da noi, dalle nostre culture nella organicità delle loro diverse ma ...more
Juxhin Deliu
Tra tutte le rivoluzioni scientifiche che hanno caratterizzato la storia, il noto fisico teorico ci illumina la figura del filosofo pre-socratico Anassimandro, a sua detta il primo vero scienzato. Le sue intuizioni cosmologiche e non (soprattutto la visione della terra come un masso sferico sospeso nel vuoto e il ciclo dell'acqua), per quanto oggi risultino elementari, erano d'avanguardia per l'epoca e addirittura per il millennio a venire, soprattutto perché non si basavano su convinzioni misti ...more
Meltem SAGLAM
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Çok etkilendim. Okumanızı şiddetle tavsiye ederim.
Kyle Bunkers
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not really sure what I was expecting when I ordered this book. I knew that Anaximander has few surviving writings (all of which are either quotes from more recent authors or a couple phrases here or there). What I got was an interesting exploration of science by a scientist as well as an informed history of Anaximander.

I primarily was expecting a good explanation of the history of Anaximander, and Rovelli does a great job of explaining what we know, and also what he thinks are the important
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Gina Scioscia
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
A slim but interesting volume on the history of scientific thinking. Rovelli awards Anaximander the laurels of first scientist not because of a body of work, but because he was among the first thinkers to try and understand the world without recourse to gods.
Rovelli states, "Contrary to a common image, scientific thinking is never established: it is constantly subversive, visionary, and evolutionary. The aspect of science that I seek to illuminate in this book is its critical and rebellious abi
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M. J.
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good history of history of science. Anaximander was an original thinker who attributed thunder and rain to natural causes instead of to Zeus. Unlike some religions, science is based on physical evidence and its conclusions are always subject to change in view of new discoveries. Rovelli states, "Anaximander embodies a step in this process of freeing ourselves from ancient forms of thought."
Emanuela
Dopo Sette brevi lezioni di Fisica e L'ordine del tempo, anche questo libro merita la mia ammirazione per la capacità di questo intellettuale di riuscire così bene a divulgare problematiche complesse.
Non c'è una semplificazione dei concetti, che rimangono impegnativi, ma è l'uso della lingua comune declinata su ambiti specifici, ma non settoriali ed esclusivi, a rendere la lettura fluida e comprensibile.

Il contenuto riguarda soprattutto la filosofia della scienza, delle sue finalità primarie e
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James F
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rovelli, a contemporary physicist, uses the accomplishments of Anaximander of Miletus, the pre-Socratic thinker who is credited with writing the first prose work and whom Rovelli describes as the first scientist, as a springboard for meditations on the nature of science and its history. The book is well-written, and although Rovelli is not a historian or philosopher of science I didn't find anything which was obviously wrong, as I often do with books about ancient philosophy.

The final chapter w
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Rafaël Garcia-Suarez
A very interesting little book. Carlo Rovelli is of the opinion that the pre-socratic philosopher Anaximander is the first "true" scientist, or the first man to have made a leap from the generic and dominant mytho-religious way of thinking, to the naturalistic, exploratory scientific approach. A vivid description of what remains of Anaximander's teachings allows us to appreciate what was incredibly original in it, as seen from the point of view of a scientist, and not from the one of the usual p ...more
Angian
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una breve opera divulgativa di Carlo Rovelli, il fisico autore del best-seller "Sette brevi lezioni di fisica".
Questo libro è precedente, del 2012.

Si parte da quello che l'autore considera il primo scienziato ante-litteram, Anassimandro, per allargarsi ad una riflessione più ampia sul ruolo della scienza e del pensiero critico.

Anassimandro è uno dei filosofi pre-socratici, che spesso scivola anonimo tra le prime lezioni di filosofia al liceo. Ma in questo libro (e ricordo un simile accenno nei d
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Sabina
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carlo Rovelli è uno scienziato, un fisico che si occupa di alcuni dei temi più interessanti e a me cari. Avevo già letto il suo best seller Sette brevi lezioni di fisica, trovato piacevolissimo, benché leggermente sovrastimato. Questo libro, invece, mi è stato consigliato da ben due colleghi, uno di fisica e uno di filosofia, i quali pensavano giustamente che sarei stata affascinata dal percorso qui disegnato, poiché prende le mosse dal filosofo greco Anassimandro.

Chiuque abbia studiato filosofi
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Tuco
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
In “Che cos’è la scienza: la rivoluzione di Anassimandro” Carlo Rovelli, fisico teorico divenuto famoso come divulgatore grazie a best sellers come “Sette brevi lezioni di fisica” e il recente “L’ordine del tempo”, si focalizza sull’origine del pensiero scientifico per come lo intendiamo noi oggi e in particolare ci porta a riscoprire un personaggio a lungo, e ingiustamente, sottovalutato: Anassimandro. Discepolo di Talete, Anassimandro è un libero pensatore padre di idee rivoluzionarie e sorpre ...more
Mangoo
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dal secolo scorso in particolare la pratica della scienza si accompagna a una cospicua riflessione su cosa la scienza sia, come vada fatta e quale sia la natura della conoscenza che la scienza puó fornire.
Rovelli parla di scienza da scienziato impegnato a coniugare la teoria quantistica dei campi con la relativitá generale. Difende la scienza come la miglior fonte di conoscenza di cui disponiamo, e ció nonostante il sapere fornito dalla scienza sia ad ogni momento temporaneo e in aggiornamento.
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Doctor Moss
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
It’s hard to make an assessment of this book. On its face, it seems to be a historical study of the place of Anaximander in the development of modern science. And, for the first half of the book, it really is that. But from there, Rovelli takes off into a much more loosely bound discussion of truth, reality, relativism, religion, language, and the fate of the world.

I’ll start with Anaximander. It’s a cliche that history is told by the winners. But if science is a “winner”, then Rovelli is tellin
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Bonnie_blu
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, science
Ionian Greece in general and Anaximander in particular discovered and developed the scientific method. Rovelli's book traces the evolution of Anaximander's thought to how science is done today and makes it clear that without his brilliance, scientific progress would have been seriously affected. It was amazing to me that Anaximander alone investigated natural phenomena without involving the gods or supernatural action. He insisted that there was no need for Zeus, etc. and that the world could be ...more
Bruce
Feb 23, 2013 rated it liked it
After having read Curiosity, I have now formulated the hyothesis that scientists who can write for non-sciientists are as rare as chickens with teeth. I expected a philosophy and history story, or a dry scholarly tome. Unfortunately what I got was a philosophy and history dry telling coupled with an energetic monologue on what is wrong with religion and society. The latter is at once distasteful and the only saving grace of the book. The only thing that shines is when the author lets his scienti ...more
Michele Pinto
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggistica
Splendido sia per chi ama la filosofia greca: scoprirà l'incredibile figura di Anassimandro, che per chi si chiede cosa sia la scienza e si chiede la ragione del diffondersi di tanto antiscientismo.
James
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book written by a scientist expressing his admiration for a fairly mysterious figure from Ancient Greece. The book explores what little is known about Anaximander, and goes into great detail about his theories, models and open-mindedness. The book contains illustrations of Anaximander's attempt at a world-map, and of his attempt at modelling the universe, and gives readers a very good idea of what Anaximander thought and why.

Despite the odd minor error (e.g., suggesting that Anaximande
...more
Voss
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggi, storia, scienza
Entusiasmante.
Cos'è la scienza, come nasce, il suo legame con la democrazia e l'alfabeto fonetico. La Grecia madre della scienza, dell'Europa e dell' Occidente inteso come civiltà. La convivenza di scienza e religione. Il trionfo dell'incertezza, del dubbio, del confronto, del'amaro studiare e correggere i propri maestri.
Senza toni messianici, affermazioni dogmatiche, verità assolute.
Che meraviglia!
Tutta un'altra cosa rispetto ai toni furiosi e rancorosi del pur preparatissimo Onfray nella sua
...more
Kerry
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it. The title might mislead a bit in that the book is not an exclusive history of Anaximander. It does say and His Legacy. But I've to admit I expected more of a biography or history. Still, If you are interested in topics that orbit the history of science or if you enjoy reading any of Richard Dawkin's books you will likely find this book illuminating too. By looking at culture through the filter of 2700 years, the author is able to segue the reader int ...more
Giuseppe Persiano
I didn't know Anaximander was such a central figure and influence on modern science. And Rovelli makes a great job of explaining how the few fragments we have from Anaximander tell us what science is.
David Kessler
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
What was the birth of science and where might it have started and what culture supported this type of thinking? This book establishes a credible amount of information to support it started in Ionia at 6BCE. And in the middle of it was Anaximander. A great book.
Jay Young
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engrossing history

Not the most flowy prose ever (possibly a consequence of translation?) but a great, interesting read nonetheless. Truly an important perspective on the world.
G.R. Reader
Nov 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
Come off it Carlo, who do you think you're kidding?
Gregg Zwillling MD
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good intro to Ancient History, & a clear and concise review of where we r now $ how far we have come
Raymonds009
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to overemphasize the importance of this book in the history of science. Here is a cogent explanation of why the Greeks were so important to the foundation of science. This book turns the whole narrative of what happened to our worldview and the worldview of every civilization that left its mark on our progress of looking at the heavens and the world around us. There is simply too much to cover in a small framework like this.

No matter your scientific background this is the book where t
...more
Sarah
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: math-science
I was initially disappointed at the lack of biographical information in what I was expecting to be a biography. Then I realized it wasn't a biography at all, but the exquisite use of a man's life as a launching point for an eloquent and witty treatise on the history and philosophy of science. I would gladly read anything Rovelli has written.
paul swift
rated it liked it
Nov 29, 2016
CharlesDwayneTandoc
rated it it was amazing
Jul 09, 2017
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646 followers
Carlo Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist and writer who has worked in Italy and the USA, and currently works in France. His work is mainly in the field of quantum gravity, where he is among the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory. He has also worked in the history and philosophy of science. He collaborates regularly with several Italian newspapers, in particular the cultural suppl ...more
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“What opens our minds and shows the limits of our ideas is an encounter with other people, other cultures, other ideas.” 8 likes
“Being aware that we may be wrong is different from claiming that it is senseless to speak of right and wrong. Recognizing diversity and taking seriously ideas that diverge from our own is different from claiming that all ideas are equally worthy. Knowing that a given judgment is born within a complex cultural context and is related to many others does not necessarily imply that we are unable to recognize it is wrong.” 3 likes
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