The Day the Universe Changed presents a sweeping view of the history of science, technology, and human civilization and examines the moments in history when a change in knowledge radically altered man's understanding of himself and the world around him.
James Burke examines eight periods in history when our view of the world shifted dramatically:
- In the eleventh century, when extraordinary discoveries were made by Spanish crusaders.
- In fourteenth-century Florence, where perspective in painting emerged.
- In the fifteenth century, when the advent of the printing press shook the foundations of an oral society.
- In the sixteenth century, when gunnery developments triggered the birth of modern science.
- In the early eighteenth century, when hot English summers brought on the Industrial Revolution.
- In the battlefield surgery stations of the French revolutionary armies, where people first became statistics.
- In the nineteenth century, when the discovery of dinosaur fossils led to the theory of evolution.
- In the 1820s, when electrical experiments heralded the end of scientific certainty.
Based on the popular television documentary series, The Day the Universe Changed
is a bestselling history that challenges the reader to decide whether there is absolute knowledge to discover-or whether the universe is "ultimately what we say it is."