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The Day the Universe Changed: How Galileo's Telescope Changed the Truth

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,758 ratings  ·  79 reviews
In The Day the Universe Changed, James Burke examines eight periods in history when our view of the world shifted dramatically: in the eleventh century, when extraordinary discoveries were made by Spanish crusaders; in fourteenth-century Florence, where perspective in painting emerged; in the fifteenth century, when the advent of the printing press shook the foundations of ...more
Paperback, Revised Edition, 352 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Back Bay Books (first published September 1st 1986)
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4.21  · 
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 ·  1,758 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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وائل المنعم
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 استعاد 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
Douglas Bittinger
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
يتحدث الكتاب عن لحظات التغيير في العالم على مر التاريخ مظهرا لنا التطور العلمي في مختلف مجالات.
تحدث الكاتب عن العالم كيف تغيير بفعل الاحداث التاريخية ليخبرنا عن الشخصيات المهمة التي مرت بها للنهضة العلمية ليمر للانجازات القدامى للتطورات المهمة لنشر العلم و الثقافات
كتاب ممتع و استمتعت به جدا.
Mar 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolute delight, and a must-have for anyone interested in history, science, or - most importantly - the history of science.

I remember James Burke best from childhood, watching “Tomorrow’s World”, with its tag-team of Baxter, Burke, and Rodd - a sort of genteel, boffin’s equivalent of “Top Gear”’s Clarkson, May, and Hammond. From there, Burke moved on to solo series in which he abstrusely connected different discoveries to show their impact on the modern world. Prior to now, though, I had not
Jason X
Burke quickly covers a wide period of history, philosophy, religion, and science, hitting mostly highlights. Burke's closing summation is outstanding.

At the close, Burke ties everything together elegantly, leaving the reader with unanswered questions, but still satisfied. I especially connected with his observation that our current structures for explaining reality are limited by contemporary methods, truths, and instruments. That we all live a contemporary truth to be replaced is, to me, a fin
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Joseph Carrabis
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There is little doubt (to me) that James Burke is the God of How This Led To That. If you haven't seen or read Connections, add it to your must read/watch list as quickly as you can (and follow up by watching/reading). He followed up Connections with The Day the Universe Changed and it was an equally worthy read and watch.
I do not recommend Connections II and III. Marketing got involved (something Burke even mentioned in an interview).
But Connections and The Day the Universe Changed are excellen
Justyna Staroń-Kajkowska
I cannot really tell what is the purpose of this book. If you are ignorant, you won't get any better understanding, besides few anecdotes served on some surreal plate, that will try convince you, that every discovery was just blind luck without any reason (in one place of the book it is even directly stated). If you already have basic knowledge of given subject, you won't get any better information.
It is just quick jumping on various discoveries with uneven attention (indexing is explained in d
Ashley Armstrong
I grew up watching James Burke's science programmes on TV in the 1970s and 1980s, and this series from 1984 I remember particularly well.
Since embarking on a study project of my own devise last year, into Renaissance art, culture and history, I recalled one of the programmes from the aforesaid series covering the geometry of linear perspective, and after reading a book about Brunelleschi and the construction of the octagonal dome of Florence cathedral, the pieces of memory fell fully into place.
Rob Mills
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I had just read Connections, so probably just a bit too much James Burke over a two month period. Very interesting stuff, as expected, and a fairly enjoyable read. The last chapter helps contextualise the point he's driving at and I sort of feel I should have read it first! A colleague told me this was a TV series, so perhaps if I had watched it at the same time I would have understood the overal idea a bit better and read more out of all the stories. Important arguments and well documented, imp ...more
Basem Refae
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
استطاع الكاتب ان يعطي فكرة مهمة عن أهم الابتكارات او الاحداث التي ساهمت في التطور الحضاري فالبحث هنا شمل 8 اتجاهات هي الطب والهندسة والفلسفة والفلك و الجيولوجيا و غير ذلك و الملاحظ في هذا الكتاب كيف ان الكاتب لم يبرز الحروب والصراعات أبدا و إنما اكتفى بمقياس التطور الحضاري عن طريق التجربة والعلم و كان اسلوبه موجها لجميع المستويات و هذا ما جعل هضم الكتاب سهلا بالنسبة للمبتدئ و المتوسط و خصوصا عندما يتعمق في أحد الأبواب فبالنسبة لي كان موضزع الفلك أصعب موضوع لما فيه من تخصص كبير بالنسبة للكاتب وعم ...more
Maynard Handley
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Nothing new here.

If you're unfamiliar with the history of science, I guess this is a fairly quick summary. But for anyone who knows anything about this material, there's nothing new here --- no original insights, no unexpected reframing of issues. A reasonable book to give to a friend who wants to know this material, but nothing more than that.
ندى محيي الدين
أمضيت فترة طويلة حتى أنهيته
عانيت معه من فتوري في القراءة وملل في بعض فصول الكتاب التي لا تهمني كتفاصيل عمارة الكنائس كوني غير مغرمة بأساليب العمارة0
يعطي فكرة مجملة عن تطور العلم والتفكير على مدى عصور الأنسانية حتى الان0
Todd Gilbert
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this book absolutely changed the way I perceived the Universe and humanity. One of the top three most influential books in my life.
Andrey Voev
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great overview and insights

The only issue I've had with this book is that sometimes gets hard to read, and it seems convoluted.

Great content and conclusions though, I loved it.
Glenda Osnach
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We have this in hard cover, I'll have to re read. This was a fantastic BBC TV Series with the same name we watched in the '80's.
Ashraf Ali
طريقة جديدة في دراسة التاريخ تاريخ الفكر والعلم منذ الثورة الصناعية حتى بداية القرن التاسع عشر
Victoria Haf
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Me gusta como está unido este libro que va de ciertos descubrimientos importantes para el occidentalismo y lo va tejiendo con la mentalidad que lo genero y lo que siguió después. Por ejemplo, el mundo que usaba la Biblia como libro histórico antes de Wallace/Darwin y luego, cuando la teoría de la selección natural fue aceptada, se usó como argumento para el nazismo y la eugenética.
Me gustó la parte de la evolución de la medicina donde el paciente va perdiendo protagonismo y la medicina se va hac
kartik narayanan
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“The Day the Universe Changed” examines the history of science. James Burke talks us through various periods in our history starting from the 11th century on and shows us the evolution of science in various fields. These fields range from medicine to astronomy, relativity to natural history and so on.
The chapters/subjects covered are below.
The Way We Are: It Started with the Greeks
In the Light of the Above: Medieval Conflict – Faith & Reason
Point of View: Scientific Imagination in the Renais
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Sep 30, 2015 rated it liked it
A good read, and is right in line with what I was hoping for.

The book itself is a history of science, and looks at various moments in history when some event either shaped subsequent history, or how larger changes came about.

For example, there's a section on medicine and physicians. Initially, physicians are highly educated experts who horde their private knowledge of remedies, and have limited to no accountability for their talent in treating various diseases and ailments. Fast forward to a cou
Janet Zehr
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
James Burke has a view of history as a web of discoveries rather than a linear progression. This book follows that pattern. He takes us from the dark ages all the way to today. Progress is very limited at first, as people are isolated after the fall of the Roman Empire. There is no exchange of knowledge, and the Bible is the authority for belief in nature. Most people cannot read, so hearsay is how they obtain information.
Gradually, there is more interchange of information as one after another,
John Doyle
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The Day the Universe Changed is a companion book to a BBC series of the same name that was first aired in the mid-1980's. The stories of Galileo, the printing press, perspective in art and others that mark turning points in human history are fascinating to me every time I read about them so I enjoyed the book. However, the most striking takeaway this time was really the acceleration of change in just the last several hundred years. Our brains are wired to deal with (or impose) ordered, unchangin ...more
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
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
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.

Oct 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
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Incorrect author 2 12 Jun 29, 2012 02:23PM  
  • Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages
  • The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution
  • The Day We Found the Universe
  • Darwin's Island: The Galapagos in the Garden of England
  • Edison and the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death
  • The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars
  • The Book of Nothing: Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas about the Origins of the Universe
  • Science: Good Bad, and Bogus
  • Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution
  • Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America
  • Darwin Slept Here: Discovery, Adventure, and Swimming Iguanas in Charles Darwin's South America
  • The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention that Changed the World
  • Spineless Wonders: Strange Tales from the Invertebrate World
  • A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos
  • Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West
  • Creations Of Fire: Chemistry's Lively History From Alchemy To The Atomic Age
  • Coming of Age in the Milky Way
  • The Man Who Found Time: James Hutton And The Discovery Of Earth's Antiquity
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

James Burke 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.
“we in the modern world expect that tomorrow will be better than today.” 7 likes
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