History of the Sciences

A History of the Sciences
by Stephen F. Mason

P F Collier
1962, 1953 (Originally Main Currents of Scientific Thought)
Bibliography; Index


Order Online


As a clear and informative presentation of the development of scientific observations and theories, the Main Currents of Scientific Thought represents a notable addition to the small number of short histories of science. In comparison with similar previous works, the exposition of such important. subjects as Aristotle's mechanics, Copernicus, Newton and universal gravitation, Naturphilosophie and geology is unusually satisfactory. The bibliography provides an ample guide to further reading. I noted no major errors of fact,but in the discussion of Paul Kammerer (p. 437) I do question the omission of any hint that his specimen, purportedly showing Lamarckian adaptation, had been injected with India ink, and that Kammerer chose to kill himself rather than to repeat his experiments.

The author does not claim to have written a text book, but since there are as yet no short histories available which were clearly designed as texts for students with a negligible background in science, it is reasonable to consider Mason's book also from the viewpoint of the average American student. In many ways this is the most instructive short history available so far. For a broad survey, the coverage is extensive and original.

--Reviewed by Robert C. Stauffer in ISIS, 45 (1954), p. 201.