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Classics in Science

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Title: Classics in Science
Author(s): Downs, Robert B.
Subject(s): Libraries --Special collections --Science
Abstract: In common with most readers, excepting the fanatical culture seekers, the concept of a list of "great books, " which every educated man or woman must read, strikes me as dreary and dull. Despite Robert Hutchins 1 and Clifton Fadiman's exhortations, nothing could induce me to wade through such sleep-producers as a majority of the titles urged upon us in The Lifetime Reading Plan and the Great Books Foundation list. Far more rewarding, significant, and exciting, in my view, is to try to single out those books that over the centuries have made the most profound impact on the history, economics, culture, civilization, and science of our time. Admittedly, some works of prime importance are intangible in their influence. That is especially true in such fields as literature, philosophy, and religion. Most measurable in their effect are certain seminal works in sciencethe trail-blazers, creating new frontiers, often dramatically extending man's knowledge of the visible and invisible universe around him. Often these books represent the culmination of the efforts of many minds. William Harvey on blood circulation built upon the researches of sixteenthcentury anatomists and physiologists; Linneaus came at the end of two centuries of systems of classifying plants. Sir Isaac Newton, after acknowledging his indebtedness to Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and other predecessors, remarked, "If I have seen further than other men, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
Issue Date: 1960
Publisher: Graduate School of Library Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info: In F.B.Jenkins (ed). 1960. Collecting science literature for general reading; papers presented at an institute conducted by the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library Science, November 6-9, 1960. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library Science: 1-22.
Series/Report: Allerton Park Institute (7th : 1960)
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/1484
ISSN: 0536-4604
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Rights Information: Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1959.
Date Available in IDEALS: 2007-07-16
 

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