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Ezra Long
Ezra Long

Science And Civilisation In China, Volume 4: Ph...


After graduation, Needham was elected to a fellowship at Gonville and Caius College and worked in Hopkins' laboratory at the University Department of Biochemistry, specialising in embryology and morphogenesis. His three-volume work Chemical Embryology, published in 1931, includes a history of embryology from Egyptian times up to the early 19th century, including quotations in most European languages. Including this history reflected Needham's fear that overspecialization would hold back scientific progress and that social and historical forces shaped science. In 1936, he and several other Cambridge scientists founded the History of Science Committee. The Committee included conservatives but also Marxists like J.D. Bernal, whose views on the social and economic frameworks of science influence Needham.[7]




Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 4: Ph...


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In addition to supporting periphery nations, Needham incorporated his desire for a non-Eurocentric record of science in UNESCO's mission. To this end, Huxley and Needham devised an ambitious scholarly project they called The History of Scientific and Cultural Development of Mankind (shortened to History of Mankind). The goal of this project was to write a non-ethnocentric account of scientific and cultural history; it aimed to synthesize the contributions, perspectives, and development of oriental nations in the East in a way that was complementary to the Western scientific tradition. This vision was partly influenced by the political climate of the time of its planning in the late 1940s - the "East" and "West" were seen as cultural and political opposites. Working from the belief that science was the universal experience that bound humanity, Huxley and Needham hoped that their project would help ease some of the animosity between the two spheres.[17] The project involved hundreds of scholars from around the globe and took over a decade to reach fruition in 1966. The work is still continued today with new volumes published periodically.[18]


His own research revealed a steady accumulation of scientific results throughout Chinese history. In the final volume he suggests "A continuing general and scientific progress manifested itself in traditional Chinese society but this was violently overtaken by the exponential growth of modern science after the Renaissance in Europe. China was homeostatic, but never stagnant."[20] 041b061a72


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