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Science: A Four Thousand Year History rewrites science's past. Instead of focussing on difficult experiments and abstract theories, Patricia Fara shows how science has always belonged to the practical world of war, politics, and business. Rather than glorifying scientists as idealized heroes, she tells true stories about real people - men (and some women) who needed to earn their living, who made mistakes, and who trampled down their rivals in their quest for success. Sweeping through the centuries, from ancient Babylon right up to the latest hi-tech experiments in genetics and particle physics, Patricia Fara illuminates the financial interests, imperial ambitions, and publishing enterprises that have made science the powerful global phemen that it is today.
Patricia Fara lectures in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and is the Senior Tutor of Clare College. Her major research speciality is eighteenth-century England, but she has published a range of academic and popular books on the history of science, increasingly with an emphasis on analysing scientific imagery. These include Sympathetic Attractions: Magnetic Practices, Beliefs, and Symbolism in Eighteenth-Century England (1996), Newton: The Making of Genius (2002), Sex, Botany and Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks (2003) and Pandora's Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment (2004). She has written many reviews and articles for academic journals as well as for general publications, including History Today, New Scientist, Nature, The Times and New Statesman; she writes a regular column on scientific portraits for Endeavour. She is currently working on a biography of Erasmus Darwin.