"Science and Civilisation in China" by Joseph Needham

"Science and Civilisation in China" by Joseph Needham

Postby germanforestgump » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:37 am

By chance, i just fell over a Biography of the british Biochemist Joseph Needham:
"The Man Who Loved China", written by Simon Winchester.

Needham was send by the British Government to China during the World War II, with the Mission to support the Chinese saving most of their scientific Structures and Processes before beeing destroyed by the japanese Occupation.
Many Schools and Universities were evacuated from eastern chinese Citys to western chinese Locations and tried to preserve Science, Research and Education under very precare Circumstances.
For Example the Chinese had sheltered many fragile Instruments deep in some Caves and tried to continue the Research work there.
Needham´s Job was to collect Informations about the support needed and coordinating it.

But beside this official Mission he was fascinated by the old high civilisation of China and he collected during many long and difficult Expeditions as many Informations about the chinese Science, Technologies, Handcrafts, Agriculture and Arts as possible.

At this Time, the western People did know nearly nothing about China and had the prejudice, China were a primitive and underevolved nation.

Needham was enthusiastic about his Mission to change this and to teach the western People the Truth about the high level of Sciences and Technology China had reached in early Times.
The Results of his Research he published in his monumental Compendium "Science and Civilisation in China", growing up to 18 volumes during his lifetime and beeing added until volume 24 til now.

From this volumes we can learn which level of technology is possible to reach without modern Infrastructure like Electricity.
And from the Biography of Joseph Needham we can learn how to rescue and support Science under catastrophic Circumstances and how to discover lost Knowledge and Technologies...
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