Jurgen Renn is a director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where, together with his group, he researches structural changes in systems of knowledge. His books include The Formative Years of Relativity: The History and Meaning of Einstein's Princeton Lectures and The Road to Relativity: The History and Meaning of Einstein's The Foundation of General Relativity (both Princeton).
For a long time, historians of science have shied away from grand overarching narratives, concentrating instead on specialized microhistories. This book boldly counteracts this trend, offering a new framework for a history of knowledge able to cope with the present-day challenges of the Anthropocene. -Ana Simoes, coauthor of Neither Physics nor Chemistry: A History of Quantum Chemistry In this exceptional book, Renn provides a general and penetrating in-depth view of the evolution of human knowledge from its roots in simple daily practices to the most abstract scientific theories, offering a breakthrough in the way the history of science is understood. -Rivka Feldhay, author of Galileo and the Church How should we know the Anthropocene and its unprecedented challenges? Renn tackles this pressing question by tracing knowledge systems from antiquity. His answers lie in rejecting abstraction and infinite horizons for knowledge that takes into account localities and individual human agency. In these dark times, his magisterial history illuminates a way forward. -Julia Adeney Thomas, University of Notre Dame