The Island Of Knowledge Summary

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A Review of The Island of Knowledge: The limits of science and the Search for Meaning Marcelo Gleiser is a brilliant world-renowned physicist and astronomer who was born in Brazil in the year of 1959.He has received many awards for his position as a professor at Dartmouth College. He has taught physics, astronomy, and natural philosophy. In 2014 his great knowledge and thirst for the scientific answers to nature’s wonders led him to write a book called The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the search for meaning. To be human is to be naturally inquisitive about the world around us. As humans we tend to question everything about our existence and what made that existence come about. We have been questioning everything since the …show more content…
Part I is based on a central theme of cosmology and how early scientists and philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Tycho Brahe, Isaac newton, Kepler, Galileo, Thales, Pythagoras , Copernicus, Ptolemy, and others came to discover new theories and truths about space, science, time, and the limits of knowledge. One of the key features in part I centers on the fact that discovering new truths wouldn’t be possible without direct observation, and observation would not be as informative as it is without the evolution of scientific technology. Marcelo Gleiser demonstrates this by using Galileo’s discovery of the telescope as an example. Before the invention of the telescope, all scientific discoveries relied on what we could observe with the naked eye. Which of course resulted in some inaccurate measurements and often drove scientists to theories that were not at all true. For example the initial idea that the earth was at the center of the universe was a perfect example of how a lack of proper tools to aid in observation of the planets resulted in people believing Plato and Aristotle’s inaccurate theory of a geocentric universe when in actuality we have a heliocentric (sun-centered) universe. Gleiser then goes on to inform the readers on how Galileo was able to build a telescope with a twenty-time magnification that allowed him to see further than anyone before him. With this extreme magnification Galileo was able to make three profound …show more content…
This is one factor that many cultures and religions share. No matter how the stories of origin may be we all are very interested in where we came from. With the emergence of origin comes law and natural order. One of the first tools that humans turn to receive answers about the order of things and truths about nature is mathematics. However the debate between whether mathematics was a discovery or an invention of the human brain leads Marcelo to the conclusion that mathematics is not some magical mythical realm that we are able to tap in to whenever we want. Mathematics is actually a representation of how amazing the human brain can be. We use mathematics to help us form logic, put things into groups, and describe other elements of reality. Mathematics is the result of complex concepts that we have assembled with our minds. Marcelo refers to Gödel and Alan Turing when explaining that mathematics is incomplete and the Platonist ideas of mathematical perfection are not true and if they were, we would not be able to probe and learn from mathematics the way we do because everything would already make sense. The unknown is what keeps us grounded and what gives a purposeful existence as we continue to thirst for knowledge and advance our societies with the truths that science reveals to us about the conceivable world around us. The quest for knowledge will always keep science

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