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The Genius of China



Pub. Date:
Inner Traditions
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This is the edition with a publication date of 11/1/2007.

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Revised, full-color illustrated edition of the multi-award-winning, international bestseller that charts the unparalleled and astounding achievement of ancient China

• Brings to life one hundred Chinese “firsts” in the fields of agriculture, astronomy, engineering, mathematics, medicine, music, technology, and warfare

• Based on the definitive work of the world’s most famous Sinologist, Joseph Needham (1900-1995), author of Science and Civilisation in China

• Organized by field, invention, and discovery for ease of reference

Undisputed masters of invention and discovery for 3,000 years, the ancient Chinese were the first to discover the solar wind and the circulation of the blood and even to isolate sex hormones. From the suspension bridge and the seismograph to deep drilling for natural gas, the iron plough, and the parachute, ancient China’s contributions in the fields of engineering, medicine, technology, mathematics, science, transportation, warfare, and music helped inspire the European agricultural and industrial revolutions.

Since its original publication, The Genius of China has won five literary awards in America and been translated into 43 languages. Its Chinese edition, The Spirit of Chinese Invention, was approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education for use in connection with the national secondary curriculum in China. Based on the immense, authoritative scholarship of the late Joseph Needham, the world’s foremost scholar of Chinese science, and including a foreword by him, this revised full-color illustrated edition brings to life the spirit and excitement of the unparalleled achievements of ancient China.

Author Biography

Robert Temple is a visiting professor of the history and philosophy of science at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He also is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society; member of the Egypt Exploration Society, Royal Historical Society, Institute of Classical Studies, and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies; and visiting research fellow of the University of the Aegean in Greece. He is the author of 10 books, including The Sirius Mystery and Oracles of the Dead, and lives in England with his wife, Olivia.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 7
Forewordp. 8
The West's debt to Chinap. 11
Row cultivation and intensive hoeingp. 14
The iron ploughp. 16
Efficient horse harnessesp. 20
The rotary winnowing fanp. 24
The multi-tube ('modern') seed drillp. 25
Astronomy and Cartography
Recognition of sunspots as solar phenomenap. 28
Quantitative cartographyp. 30
Discovery of the solar windp. 34
The Mercator map-projectionp. 36
Equatorial astronomical instrumentsp. 37
Spouting bowls and standing wavesp. 42
Cast ironp. 44
The double-acting piston bellowsp. 46
The crank handlep. 49
The 'Cardan suspension'; or gimbalsp. 50
Manufacture of steel from cast ironp. 53
Deep drilling for natural gasp. 56
The belt-drive (or driving-belt)p. 59
Water powerp. 62
The chain pumpp. 63
The suspension bridgep. 64
The first cybernetic machinep. 70
Essentials of the steam enginep. 72
'Magic minors'p. 74
The 'Siemens' steel processp. 76
The segmental arch bridgep. 77
The chain-drivep. 81
Underwater salvage operationsp. 82
Domestic and Industrial Technology
Lacquer: the first plasticp. 84
Strong beer (sake)p. 87
Petroleum and natural gas as fuelp. 89
Paperp. 92
The wheelbarrowp. 95
Sliding callipersp. 97
The magic lanternp. 98
The fishing reelp. 100
The stirrupp. 101
Porcelainp. 103
Biology pest controlp. 107
The umbrellap. 108
Matchesp. 110
Chessp. 111
Brandy and whiskyp. 113
The mechanical clockp. 116
Printingp. 123
Playing-cardsp. 130
Paper moneyp. 131
'Permanent' lampsp. 134
The spinning-wheelp. 134
Medicine and Health
Circulation of the bloodp. 136
Circadian rhythms in the human bodyp. 139
The science of endocrinologyp. 141
Deficiency diseasesp. 145
Diabetesp. 146
Use of thyroid hormonep. 147
Immunologyp. 149
The decimal systemp. 152
A place for zerop. 154
Negative numbersp. 155
Extraction of higher roots and solutions of higher numerical equationsp. 156
Decimal fractionsp. 156
Using algebra in geometryp. 158
A refined value of pip. 159
'Pascal's' trianglep. 160
The first compassesp. 162
Dial and pointer devicesp. 166
Magnetic declination of the Earth's magnetic fieldp. 168
Magnetic remanence and inductionp. 169
The Physical Sciences
Geo-botanical prospectingp. 172
The First Law of Motionp. 175
The hexagonal structure of snowflakesp. 175
The seismographp. 177
Spontaneous combustionp. 181
'Modern' geologyp. 182
Phosphorescent paintp. 186
Transportation and Exploration
The kitep. 188
Manned flight with kitesp. 191
The first relief mapsp. 195
The first contour transport canalp. 197
The parachutep. 199
Miniature hot-air balloonsp. 201
The rudderp. 204
Masts and sailingp. 205
Watertight compartments in shipsp. 211
The helicopter rotor and the propellerp. 212
The paddle-wheel boatp. 213
Land sailingp. 216
The canal pound-lockp. 218
Sound and Music
The large tuned bellp. 220
Tuned drumsp. 223
Hermetically sealed research laboratoriesp. 228
The first understanding of musical timbrep. 231
Equal temperament in musicp. 234
Chemical warfare, poison gas, smoke bombs and tear gasp. 240
The crossbowp. 244
Gunpowderp. 250
The flame-throwerp. 254
Flares, fireworks, bombs, grenades land mines and sea minesp. 256
The rocket, and multi-staged rocketsp. 262
Guns, cannons, mortars and repeating gunsp. 266
Chinese dynastiesp. 275
General map of Chinap. 276
Charts showing time lags between Chinese inventions and discoveries and their adoption or recognition by the Westp. 278
Indexp. 282
Author's acknowledgementsp. 286
Picture creditsp. 288
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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