War, Socialism, and Quantum Mechanics

Extract from the preface to Essays in the History of Mechanics (1968)
  • C. Truesdell


If these lectures find any favor with professional historians of science, I shall be humbly thankful for their toleration of a book not intended for them. However eager to tell us how scientists of the seventeenth century used their inheritance from the sixteenth, these scholars seem to regard as irrelevant anything a scientist today might think about any aspect of science, including his own debt to the past or reaction against it. Such historians remind me of those taxonomers, perhaps of only fabulous existence, who cannot recognize a particular plant unless they see a sprig of it dead, dried, and pasted to a sheet of paper. For me, mathematical science is alive today, alive not only in its freshest leaves but also in its branches and roots that reach down to the past. I know young men who have read the words of Gibbs and Kelvin and Stokes and Cauchy, even of Euler and Newton, neither so as to decorate a paper of their own by an early reference nor to write a history, but in search of understanding and method, revealed by the speech of giants untranslated by pygmies. For such men, such scientists of our own day, these lectures were composed and are here printed.


Quantum Mechanics Classical Mechanic Seventeenth Century Massive Solidity Mathematical Science 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Truesdell
    • 1
  1. 1.The Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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