Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 - Science - 297 pages
In Pythagoras' Trousers, science writer Margaret Wertheim offers an astute social and cultural history of physics, from ancient Greece to our own time. Wertheim demonstrates that from its inception, physics has been an overwhelmingly male-dominated activity and continues to be so today. But what, she asks, would the world look like - what could the world look like - if men and women worked side by side in shaping the physics of the future? Wertheim puts forward the startling hypothesis that gender inequity in physics is a result of the religious origins of the enterprise. Physics, she reveals, is a science based on a conception of God as a divine mathematical creator. For most of its history, it has been intimately entwined with the institutions of Christianity, and in line with those institutions has historically been closed to women. Furthermore, physicists' world picture has evolved from a deeply "masculine" perspective.
 

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PYTHAGORAS' TROUSERS: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars

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Are physicists a priesthood excluding women on age-old grounds that women can't be ``ordained''? So argues Wertheim, Australian- educated physicist/mathematician cum science writer. Taking the long ... Read full review

Contents

ALL Is NUMBER
17
GOD AS MATHEMATICIAN
38
HARMONY OF THE SPHERES
60
THE TRIUMPH OF MECHANISM
81
THE ASCENT OF MATHEMATICAL MAN
104
GOD WOMEN AND THE NEW PHYSICS
127
SCIENCE AS SALVATION
151
THE SAINT SCIENTIFIC 775
175
QUANTUM MECHANICS AND A THEORY
200
THE ASCENT OF MATHEMATICAL WOMAN
223
Sources
253
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About the author (1997)

Margaret Wertheim is a science journalist and commentator and author of the book Pythagoras' Trousers.

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