Here are twelve influential books covering the history of science and mathematics. All of them have changed the world in some way:

**1**: Euclid’s

*Elements*(c. 300 BC). Possibly the most influential mathematics book ever written, and used as a textbook for more than 2,000 years.

**2**:

*De rerum natura*by Lucretius (c. 50 BC). An Epicurean, atomistic view of the universe, expressed as a lengthy poem.

**3**: The Vienna

*Dioscurides*(c. 510 AD). Based on earlier Greek works, this illustrated guide to botany continued to have an influence for centuries after it was written.

**5**: Galileo’s

*Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems*(1632). The brilliant sales pitch for the idea that the Earth goes around the Sun.

**8**: Beilstein’s

*Handbook of Organic Chemistry*(1881). Still (revised, in digital form) the definitive reference work in organic chemistry.

**9**:

*Relativity: The Special and the General Theory*by Albert Einstein (1916). An explanation of relativity by the man himself.

**10**:

*Éléments de mathématique*by “Nicolas Bourbaki” (1935 onwards). A reworking of mathematics which gave us words like “injective.”

**11**:

*Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs*by Niklaus Wirth (1976). One of the early influential books on structured programming.

**12**:

*Introduction to VLSI Systems*by Carver Mead and Lynn Conway (1980). The book which revolutionised silicon chip design.

That’s four books of biology, four of other science, two of mathematics, and two of modern IT. I welcome any suggestions for other books I should have included.

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Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica?

Good call. I thought of listing that, but I only wanted one physics book for the period, so I opted for Galileo, who was also very influential.