Brush Talks From Dream Brook (2 Vol.s)
-Library of Chinese Classics Chinese-English
Author: (Song)Shen Kuo; Translators: Hu Daojing, etc.
Publisher: Sichuan People's Publishing House, 1/2008
Language: Text, Chinese and English
Library binding: Hardcover, 2 volumes, 1065 pages; 9.8 x 7.2 x 2 inches
Brush Talks From Dream Brook was an extensive book written by the polymath Chinese scientist and statesman Shen Kuo (1031-1095) by 1088 AD, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) of China. Although Shen was previously a highly renowned government official and military general, he compiled this enormous written work while virtually isolated on his lavish garden estate near modern-day Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province. He named the book after the name he gave to his estate, the "Dream Brook". The literal translated meaning is Brush Talks from a Dream Brook, and in his biography in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography (New York 1970-1990), Shen Kuo is quoted as saying "Because I had only my writing brush and ink slab to converse with, I call it Brush Talks."
The existing Brush talks from the dream brook contains 26 volumes, the content of which involves astronomy, mathematics, geography, physics, biology, medicine, military, literary, history, archaeology and music. It is recognized as an important masterpiece in the history of Chinese scientific and technological development.
Brush talks from the dream brook shows that the scientific achievements of Shen Kuo are extensive. He studied astronomy and advocated a new calendar alike to the current calendar. In terms of physics, he recorded the principle of compass and various methods of making it. He discovered the existence of geomagnetism deflection, which was 400 years earlier than that of Europe. He also researched the imaging principle of concave mirror and the resonance discipline. In mathematics, he established "Interval Accumulating Method" (the sum acquisition method of two-class arithmetical progression) and "circle meeting method" (to obtain the length of arched string and arc as the diameter of the circle and the height of the bow are given). In geognosy, he researched the formation of alluvial plain and the corroding effect of water. The word "petroleum" in Chinese was firstly put forward by Shen Kuo and used till today. In medicine, he recorded a great number of important medicine books as well as some effective prescriptions. Besides, he settled down many situations relating to scientific development and agricultural technology at that time, such as the invention of type printing and the method of metal smelting.
A lot of scientific achievements recorded in this book reached the highest level throughout the world at that time. Dr. Joseph Needham, a famous scientist from British, remarked that the Brush talks from the dream brook was the "coordinate in the history of Chinese science". The Brush talks from the dream brook is an academic treasury in ancient China; meanwhile, it possesses an important position in the history of the global science and technology.
作者：（北宋）沈括 英译：胡道静 金良年 胡小静 等