A draft extract from my book using narrative to teach the big ideas of physics:
These are the utterly false and disgraceful tales of the writers.
William Gilbert, 1600
I will start my history of electricity with an utterly false and disgraceful lie: amber, when rubbed, will not attract dried basil.
The ancient Greek philosophers had a method for finding the truth: they used reason. The method produced excellent mathematics but dodgy science. They claimed that amber would not attract basil.
This outrageous claim could not be proved wrong by reason alone. Medieval scholars could not…
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