In Medieval Science and Technology, UNLV history professor Dr. Elspeth Whitney seeks to shed light on a little-known aspect of the Middle Ages.
“When I tell people that I study medieval science and technology, the response is often, ‘Oh, I didn’t know there was any,’” Whitney says. “I wrote this book in part to rectify this false impression and to convince readers that science and technology in the Middle Ages were vital, innovative enterprises that helped create the modern world.”
Her book, which is intended for a general audience, is the first to include an examination of both the history of medieval science and the history of medieval technology. In addition to discussing individual sciences from alchemy to zoology, Whitney presents an overview of the medieval scientific worldview and the social context of the practice of science and technology. The volume also contains biographies of important scientists and philosophers and a selection of representative scientific writing.
She asserts in the book that although medieval scientific methods were significantly different from those of modern science, it was in the Middle Ages that the institutional, technological, and intellectual frameworks responsible for the later success of western science were first developed.