Man's physical universe

xanabras

VI

PREFACE

the origin and evolution of the universe and the relation of man to the

universe, to review briefly the present status of the nature and distribution

of the resources which supply human needs and man's ability to

utilize them, and to show how man is gaining control over the forces of

nature and harnessing them to do his work.

I have attempted to explain the more important principles and the

relationships which have been found to aid in an understanding of

them. Continuity and panoramic completeness have been attempted

by integrating the material both with problems and principles, as

well as by the historical approach. Breadth is striven for, rather

than depth. I have attempted to present much more than mere

"tidbits" of knowledge.

A great neurologist showed me how he did his work. In the study

of the brain he first prepared very thin slices which he could study in

minute detail under the microscope.

After making these studies his

next great task was to trace the relationships from one slice to another,

and not until he did this could he arrive at any meaning in his work.

Science has done a beautiful job in preparing individual slices of

knowledge; but until these slices are fitted together to form a whole

again, they will have little meaning. It is the purpose of the survey

course to try to fit these slices together and to discover a pattern

running through all of the sciences that will provide not only intelligible

but useful knowledge.

It has been one of my great concerns that the student be led to

develop open, critical, and cultural attitudes of mind that will lead

him to attempt to use the scientific method in solving the important

problems of life.

A large portion of the class periods in the author's course in which

the text is used are devoted to visual aids and lecture demonstrations

which supply the experimental data needed to complete the scientific

approach. Lack of space made it necessary in many cases to present

theories or generalizations without referring to the experimental data

on which they were based. Teachers should keep in mind that one of

their main functions is to present this experimental material. A

few well-chosen experiments will be found to be much more convincing

than thousands of words telling about them.

I recognize how far short of my goal I have fallen, but I have made

an honest attempt and now place the results of my labors in your

hands, hoping that I will receive much helpful criticism.

I do not apologize for including some discussions of the social

consequences of the development of physical science. The material

presented must have meaning to be of lasting value, and meaning is

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