Pythagoras’ Trousers

Why are there so many books about physics with “God” in their titles? In Pythagoras’ Trousers Margaret Wertheim argues that from its inception physics has been a mystically inspired activity – a science rooted in a conception of God as a divine mathematical creator. Tracing the story of physics from Pythagoras to Stephen Hawking by following the evolution of the idea that the universe has been created according to a set of mathematical harmonies  – the famous"'music of the spheres" – Wertheim offers an astute cultural history of physics from ancient Greece to our own time. Here she explores how the Pythagorean idea of a divine cosmic “harmonia” inspired Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and their heirs today to search ever-deeper for mathematical laws of the physical world. Additionally she suggests that the priestly ethos of physics has served through the ages as a obstacle to the entry of women into this fundamental science.

W.W. Norton paperback (USA, 1997)
ISBN: 0-393-31724-2
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“An intelligent and highly readable account of the rise of the rise of physics from its origins in Pythagorean number mysticism through the refolding of that mysticism into modern physics at its birth in the seventeenth century, and its continued presence since.” – Brian Rotman, [TLS.]

“A rare and welcome mix in science writing, combining impressively detailed historical knowledge with a delightful readability and fueling it all with that rarest of ingredients in this genre, a deeply felt moral and feminist passion.” – Susan Faludi