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.
The Sun is nowadays observed using di?erent techniques that provide an almost instantaneous 3-D map of its structure. Of particular interest is the studyofthevariabilityinthesolaroutputproducedbythedissipationofm- netic energy on di?erent spatial and temporal scales – the so-called magnetic activity. The 11-year cycle is the main feature describing this phenomenon. Apart from its intrinsic scienti?c interest, this topic is worth studying because of the interaction of such processes with the terrestrial environment. A ?eet of space and ground-based observatories are currently monitoring the behaviour of our star on a daily basis. However, solar activity varies not only on this decadal time-scale, as has been attested mainly through two methods: (a) records of the number of sunspots observed on the solar surface from 1610, and (b) the records of 14 10 cosmogenic isotopes, such as Cand Be, measured in tree-rings and i- cores, respectively. The study of the long-term behaviour of solar activity may be comp- mented by the study of historical accounts describing phenomena directly or indirectly related to solar activity. Numerous scienti?c and non-scienti?c d- uments have reported these events and we can make use of them as a proxy of solar activity in past times.
The discovery of a gradual acceleration in the moon’s mean motion by Edmond Halley in the last decade of the seventeenth century led to a revival of interest in reports of astronomical observations from antiquity. These observations provided the only means to study the moon’s ‘secular acceleration’, as this newly-discovered acceleration became known. This book contains the first detailed study of the use of ancient and medieval astronomical observations in order to investigate the moon’s secular acceleration from its discovery by Halley to the establishment of the magnitude of the acceleration by Richard Dunthorne, Tobias Mayer and Jérôme Lalande in the 1740s and 1750s. Making extensive use of previously unstudied manuscripts, this work shows how different astronomers used the same small body of preserved ancient observations in different ways in their work on the secular acceleration. In addition, this work looks at the wider context of the study of the moon’s secular acceleration, including its use in debates of biblical chronology, whether the heavens were made up of æther, and the use of astronomy in determining geographical longitude. It also discusses wider issues of the perceptions and knowledge of ancient and medieval astronomy in the early-modern period. This book will be of interest to historians of astronomy, astronomers and historians of the ancient world.
Here, at last, is the massively updated and augmented second edition of this landmark encyclopedia. It contains approximately 1000 entries dealing in depth with the history of the scientific, technological and medical accomplishments of cultures outside of the United States and Europe. The entries consist of fully updated articles together with hundreds of entirely new topics. This unique reference work includes intercultural articles on broad topics such as mathematics and astronomy as well as thoughtful philosophical articles on concepts and ideas related to the study of non-Western Science, such as rationality, objectivity, and method. You’ll also find material on religion and science, East and West, and magic and science.
Long before astronomy was a science, humans used the stars to mark time, navigate, organize planting and dramatize myths. This encyclopaedia draws on archaeological evidence and oral traditions to reveal how prehistoric humans perceived the skies and celestial phenomena.
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.