Full Meridian of Glory

Author: Paul Murdin
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9780387755342
Format: PDF
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[the text below needs editing and we must be careful not to say things about Dan Brown's book that could get Springer in legal trouble] Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, was first published in 2003; its sales have reached 40 million worldwide. The book mixes a small spice of fact into a large dollop of fiction to create an entertaining novel of intrigue, adventure, romance, danger and conspiracy, which have been imaginatively worked together to cook up the successful bestseller. Most interest in the book’s origins has centred on the sensational religious aspects. Dan Brown has written: ‘All of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical fact.’ This gives an air of authenticity to the book. Brown has, however, made up the religious doctrines, or based them on questionable accounts by others. The locations of the actions of The Da Vinci Code are not, however, made up. The present book is the scientific story behind the scene of several of the book’s actions that take place on the axis of France that passes through Paris. The Paris Meridian is the name of this location. It is the line running north-south through the astronomical observatory in Paris. One of the original intentions behind the founding of the Paris Observatory was to determine and measure this line. The French government financed the Paris Academy of Sciences to do so in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. It employed both astronomers – people who study and measure the stars – and geodesists – people who study and measure the Earth. This book is about what they did and why. It is a true story behind Dan Brown’s fiction. This is the first English language presentation of this historical material. It is attractively written and it features the story of the community of scientists who created the Paris Meridian. They knew each other well – some were members of the same families, in one case of four generations. Like scientists everywhere they collaborated and formed alliances; they also split into warring factions and squabbled. They travelled to foreign countries, somehow transcending the national and political disputes, as scientists do now, their eyes fixed on ideas of accuracy, truth and objective, enduring values – save where the reception given to their own work is concerned, when some became blind to high ideals and descended into petty politics. To establish the Paris Meridian, the scientists endured hardship, survived danger and gloried in amazing adventures during a time of turmoil in Europe, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic War between France and Spain. Some were accused of witchcraft. Some of their associates lost their heads on the guillotine. Some died of disease. Some won honour and fame. One became the Head of State in France, albeit for no more than a few weeks. Some found dangerous love in foreign countries. One scientist killed in self defence when attacked by a jealous lover, another was himself killed by a jealous lover, a third brought back a woman to France and then jilted her, whereupon she joined a convent. The scientists worked on practical problems of interest to the government and to the people. They also worked on one of the important intellectual problems of the time, a problem of great interest to their fellow scientists all over the world, nothing less than the theory of universal gravitation. They succeeded in their intellectual work, while touching politics and the affairs of state. Their endeavours have left their marks on the landscape, in art and in literature.

Zero Degrees

Author: Charles W. J. Withers
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674088816
Format: PDF, Docs
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Charles Withers explains how the choice of Greenwich to mark 0° longitude solved problems of global measurement that had engaged geographers, astronomers, and mariners since ancient times. This history is a testament to the power of maps, the challenges of global measurement, and the role of scientific authority in creating the modern world.

Thomas Jefferson and the Science of Republican Government

Author: Daniel Klinghard
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107157366
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This biography of Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, his only published book, challenges conventional wisdom by demonstrating its core political thought as well as the political aspirations behind its composition, publication and initial dissemination. Building upon a close reading of the book's contents, Jefferson's correspondence and the first comprehensive examination of both its composition and publication history, the authors argue that Jefferson intended his Notes to be read by a wide audience, especially in America, in order to help shape constitutional debates in the critical period of the 1780s. Jefferson, through his determined publication and distribution of his Notes even while serving as American ambassador in Paris, thus brought his own constitutional and political thought into the public sphere - and at times into conflict with the writings of John Adams and James Madison, stimulating a debate over the proper form of Republican constitutionalism that still reverberates in American political thought.

New Heavens and a New Earth

Author: Jeremy Brown
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0199754799
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Jeremy Brown offers the first major study of the Jewish reception of the Copernican revolution, examining four hundred years of Jewish writings on the Copernican model. Brown shows the ways in which Jews ignored, rejected, or accepted the Copernican model, and the theological and societal underpinnings of their choices.

The Life and Science of L on Foucault

Author: William Tobin
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780521808552
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Abundantly-illustrated biography of Léon Foucault, pioneer of science, inventor of pendulum that bears his name.

Geheimnisse des Universums

Author: Paul G. Murdin
Publisher: Spektrum Akademischer Verlag
ISBN: 9783827423108
Format: PDF, Docs
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All umfassend Wie der Mensch den Kosmos entdeckte – von den ersten Mondbeobachtungen bis zur dunklen Materie Die Astronomie stellt wahrlich große Fragen: Wie ist das Universum entstanden und wie unser Heimatplanet Erde? Warum leuchten die Sterne? Gibt es Leben draußen im All? Seit jeher sucht der Mensch nach Erklärungen für kosmische Erscheinungen. Die ersten Aufzeichnungen von Mondbeobachtungen sind 25.000 Jahre alt. Und wir leben heute in einem Zeitalter großartiger astronomischer Entdeckungen. Immer ausgefeilter werden die Beobachtungs- und Untersuchungsmethoden, und Schritt für Schritt gibt das Universum seine Geheimnisse preis. Paul Murdin, einer der weltweit angesehensten Astronomen, erzählt die Geschichte der Männer und Frauen, die die vielfältigen kosmischen Rätsel lösten: ob es um die Form und Entstehung der Erde geht oder um die Existenz von Pluto, um die Prinzipien der Relativität oder um so erstaunliche Phänomene wie schwarze Löcher, interstellare Nebel oder die geheimnisvolle dunkle Materie. Immer wieder veränderte sich mit den neuen Durchbrüchen auch unsere Sicht des Universums, wenn der Blick der Forscher sich von unserem eigenen Planeten über den sternbedeckten Nachthimmel und die Milchstraße bis zu den unvorstellbaren Weiten jenseits davon weitete. Murdin erklärt die Wissenschaft hinter all diesen Entdeckungen mit außergewöhnlicher Klarheit und schildert zugleich die Leidenschaft, die Anstrengungen und die glücklichen Zufälle, die diese Forschungen begleitet haben. Der jeweilige historische und kulturelle Kontext wird ebenso deutlich wie die zunehmende internationale Zusammenarbeit in der Astronomie und Astrophysik. Speziell angefertigte Grafiken machen kosmische Phänomene anschaulich und komplexe Prinzipien leicht verständlich. Ein Glossar und eine Zeittafel helfen bei der Einordnung der Begriffe und Entwicklungen. Mit über 500 beeindruckenden Bildern – darunter spektakuläre Fotografien, hochmoderne Satellitenaufnahmen, aber auch historische Drucke und Gemälde sowie künstlerische Impressionen von Phänomenen, die existieren, aber noch nie fotografiert wurden – präsentiert dieses Buch 65 große astronomische Entdeckungen, die den menschlichen Wissensdrang ebenso dokumentieren wie seinen Erfindungsreichtum und die zahlreichen technischen Innovationen auf dem Weg zu unserem heutigen Bild des Universums.

Author: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Publisher:
ISBN: 9789603826767
Format: PDF
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