BooksHistory of Science

Atomic Philosophies

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Science  28 Aug 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5381, pp. 1293-1294
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5381.1293b

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The Atom in the History of Human Thought. By Bernard Pullman. Translated by Axel Reisinger. Oxford University Press, New York, 1998. 414 pp. $30, £25. ISBN 0-19-511447-7.

A history of concepts of the atom, traced primarily through the works of philosophers and other intellectual critics rather than those of scientists. Beginning with the notion of an indivisible fundamental constituent of matter first formulated by the pre-Socratic Greek thinkers, Pullam follows ideas that have and have not survived from the ancients and the pre-moderns into our own contemporary conceptions.