Observations and Predictions of Eclipse Times by Early Astronomers

Author: J.M. Steele
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9401595283
Format: PDF
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Eclipses have long been seen as important celestial phenomena, whether as omens affecting the future of kingdoms, or as useful astronomical events to help in deriving essential parameters for theories of the motion of the moon and sun. This is the first book to collect together all presently known records of timed eclipse observations and predictions from antiquity to the time of the invention of the telescope. In addition to cataloguing and assessing the accuracy of the various records, which come from regions as diverse as Ancient Mesopotamia, China, and Europe, the sources in which they are found are described in detail. Related questions such as what type of clocks were used to time the observations, how the eclipse predictions were made, and how these prediction schemes were derived from the available observations are also considered. The results of this investigation have important consequences for how we understand the relationship between observation and theory in early science and the role of astronomy in early cultures, and will be of interest to historians of science, astronomers, and ancient and medieval historians.

A Portable Cosmos

Author: Alexander Jones
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190618582
Format: PDF, Docs
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From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Terracotta Army, ancient artifacts have long fascinated the modern world. However, the importance of some discoveries is not always immediately understood. This was the case in 1901 when sponge divers retrieved a lump of corroded bronze from a shipwreck at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea near the Greek island of Antikythera. Little did the divers know they had found the oldest known analog computer in the world, an astonishing device that once simulated the motions of the stars and planets as they were understood by ancient Greek astronomers. Its remains now consist of 82 fragments, many of them containing gears and plates engraved with Greek words, that scientists and scholars have pieced back together through painstaking inspection and deduction, aided by radiographic tools and surface imaging. More than a century after its discovery, many of the secrets locked in this mysterious device can now be revealed. In addition to chronicling the unlikely discovery of the Antikythera Mechanism, author Alexander Jones takes readers through a discussion of how the device worked, how and for what purpose it was created, and why it was on a ship that wrecked off the Greek coast around 60 BC. What the Mechanism has uncovered about Greco-Roman astronomy and scientific technology, and their place in Greek society, is truly amazing. The mechanical know-how that it embodied was more advanced than anything the Greeks were previously thought capable of, but the most recent research has revealed that its displays were designed so that an educated layman could understand the behavior of astronomical phenomena, and how intertwined they were with one's natural and social environment. It was at once a masterpiece of machinery as well as one of the first portable teaching devices. Written by a world-renowned expert on the Mechanism, A Portable Cosmos will fascinate all readers interested in ancient history, archaeology, and the history of science.

Before Nature

Author: Francesca Rochberg
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022640613X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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There is nothing self-evident about nature. We tend to assume that what we call the natural world confronts us all and always has. This book is about the almost unimaginable state of relation to the world in which there was no sense of nature, no reference or word for it. Before the concept took shapeand changed shape, across the long history of European philosophy and sciencefor an equally long period beginning roughly in the early second millennium B.C.E., the author shows, the cuneiform world engaged in activities manifestly kindred with science in its engagement with and understanding of phenomena. The first book to make sense of this, Before Nature sets out how to understand cuneiform knowledge, prediction, and explanation in relation to sciencewithout recourse to the idea of nature. Its central claim is that there was an Assyro-Babylonian tradition of knowledge about phenomena that bears relation to the history of science, regardless of the absence of a conscious category of nature around which to focus that epistemic tradition."

SCIAMVS

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ISBN:
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Publishes source materials for historical research on the exact sciences in Antiquity and the Middle Ages in original languages, with translations, notes, and commentaries.

Leadership and Creativity

Author: Dong-Won Kim
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 940172055X
Format: PDF, ePub
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Historical accounts of successful laboratories often consist primarily of reminiscences by their directors and the eminent people who studied or worked in these laboratories. Such recollections customarily are delivered at the celebration of a milestone in the history of the laboratory, such as the institution's fiftieth or one hundredth anniversary. Three such accounts of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge have been recorded. The first of these, A History of the Cavendish Laboratory, 1871-1910, was published in 1910 in honor of the twenty fifth anniversary of Joseph John Thomson's professorship there. The second, The Cavendish Laboratory, 1874-1974, was published in 1974 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the Cavendish. The third, A Hundred Years and More of Cambridge Physics, is a short pamphlet, also published at the centennial of the 1 Cavendish. These accounts are filled with the names of great physicists (such as James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Rayleigh, J. J. Thomson, Ernest Rutherford, and William Lawrence Bragg), their glorious achievements (for example, the discoveries of the electron, the neutron, and DNA) and interesting anecdotes about how these achievements were reached. But surely a narrative that does justice to the history of a laboratory must recount more than past events. Such a narrative should describe a living entity and provide not only details of the laboratory's personnel, organization, tools, and tool kits, but should also explain how these components interacted within 2 their wider historical, cultural, and social contexts.