We are told that modern science was invented in Europe, the product of great minds like Nicolaus Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein. But this is wrong. Science is not, and has never been, a uniquely European endeavour. Copernicus relied on mathematical techniques borrowed from Arabic and Persian texts. When Newton set out the laws of motion, he relied on astronomical observations made in Asia and Africa. When Darwin was writing On the Origin of Species, he consulted a sixteenth-century Chinese encyclopaedia. And when Einstein was studying quantum mechanics, he was inspired by the Bengali physicist, Satyendra Nath Bose. ‘Horizons’ pushes beyond Europe, exploring the ways in which scientists from Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific fit into the history of science, and arguing that it is best understood as a story of global cultural exchange.

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‘Superb’ Sunday Times
‘Revolutionary’ Alice Roberts
‘Hugely important’ Jim Al-Khalili


A radical retelling of the history of science that foregrounds the scientists erased from history

In this major retelling of the history of science from 1450 to the present day, James Poskett explodes the myth that science began in Europe.

The blinkered Western gaze focusing on individual ‘genius’ – Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, Einstein – was only one part of the story. The reality was an utterly global, non-linear pattern of cross-fertilization, competition, cooperation and outright conflict. Each rupture in history carved fresh channels for global exchange.

Here, for the first time, Poskett celebrates how scientists from Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific were integral to this very human story. We meet Graman Kwasi, the African botanist who discovered a new cure for malaria; Hantaro Nagaoka, the Japanese scientist who first described the structure of the atom; and Zhao Zhongyao, the Chinese physicist who discovered antimatter.


‘Remarkable. Challenges almost everything we know about science in the West’ Jerry Brotton, author of A History of the World in 12 Maps

‘Perspective-shattering’ Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller, ‘Editor’s Choice’

Horizons upends traditional accounts of the history of science’ Rebecca Wragg Sykes, author of Kindred

‘Poskett deftly blends the achievements of little-known figures into the wider history of science . . . brims with clarity’ Chris Allnutt, Financial Times

Additional information

Weight 0.343 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 2.8 cm






xiv, 446 , 16 unnumbered of plates




509 (edition:23)


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