Second Edition of ‘Science and Society: Selected Essays’ explores the history of scientific thought, examines current dilemmas

Dr. Alexander Vavoulis

First published in 1966, “Science and Society: Selected Essays from the Archaic to the Sublime,” compiled by Dr. Alexander Vavoulis and Dr. A. Wayne Colver, takes an in-depth look at the interplay between the study of the material world and humanity. The second edition ebook, published by The Press at California State University, Fresno, adds essays that examine the issues of global warming and nuclear war, two scientific problems that have the potential to devastate and even end society if not addressed from a humanistic perspective.

The Kindle Edition is available online for $9.99.

“The issues of climate warming and nuclear war are not getting sufficient attention by the media today, yet our lives depend on controlling both,” said Vavoulis. “Professor Thanasis M. Maskaleris makes clear in essay 16 that the primary concern of all humanists should be how to achieve quality in human life by harmonizing the material and spiritual in ourselves.”

The series of 18 essays assembled by Vavoulis and Colver demonstrate the historical impact science has had on civilization and, conversely, the imprint civilization has had on the progression of science. From the early discoveries of Kepler and Galileo to the modern age with the findings of Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi, scientific discoveries have challenged the norms of civilization. At the same time, the norms of society and the forces of political power have influenced both the direction and depth of scientific exploration.

“What Professors Vavoulis and Colver have done in this book is to carefully collect and select essays from scholars in diverse fields, ranging from psychology and physics to philosophy and history including some of the giants from their areas such as Polanyi and Schroedinger,” said Dr. James Ciula, Fresno State chemistry lecturer.

The second edition provides timely insight into scientific issues facing society and arms readers with philosophical and ethical context as they delve into future advancements in science.

“In modern societies, it is important to have an educational system that meets the needs of a democratic society,” said Vavoulis. “Virtue and knowledge are necessary qualities to avoid ignorance, prejudice and demagoguery to determine policy for the country or the state.”

Vavoulis is a professor emeritus in chemistry at Fresno State. He received B.A. and M.A. degrees in chemistry at Brooklyn College, and earned a teaching doctorate in chemistry at the University of the Pacific. He has publications in chemistry, algebra, teaching and higher education, and is the author of “Chemical Calculations: With a Focus on Algebraic Principles.”

Dr. A. Wayne Colver (1923-1987) was an associate professor of philosophy at Fresno State. He received a B.A. with highest honors from UCLA, where he majored in philosophy, minored in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Gamma Mu. He earned a M.A. and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University.

For more information, contact Dr. Alex Vavoulis at 559.353.2653 or

Photo by Bruce Gilbert, courtesy of Boys & Girls Harbor, “Diamonds in the Rough” by Richard Firstman.

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