You are cordially invited to a book signing of Dr. C. Barber Mueller’s new book, Excalibur, The Sword of Science That Reshaped the World. Complimentary refreshments. The Great Hall of McMaster University’s University Club.
Why, you may ask, did I choose “Excalibur” for the title of a book about science?
In English legend, Excalibur was a sword that possessed immense powers. Its blade, however, was lodged deep in a huge stone. After many attempts had been made by ordinary men to remove it from the stone, the sword was finally drawn by a knight of extraordinary valour, Sir. Arthur. This mighty feat established him as the first king of England. The sword gave Arthur the power to coerce barons and chieftains of neigbhoring clans and tribes to form a fellowship, which gathered at the legendary Round Table in Camelot. These knights and chieftains became the progenitors and ancestors of the Kingdom of England, of Great Britain, and finally of a British Empire on which the sun never set.
The great sword Excalibur serves as an apt metaphor for the ever-enlarging scope of scientific facts and technology that have shaped (and continue to shape) the western world. Just as the sword carved out England’s domain and led to a universal language, so has a “scientific Excalibur” carved out a new worldwide culture and new ways of thought. The sword of science has created its own immense realm of knowledge. In doing so, it has reshaped the world.