The Giant’s Shoulders #42 — History of Science Blog Carnival
Posted by Darin Hayton on 12/16 at 10:07 PM
Welcome to the 42nd edition of The Giant’s Shoulders. Today is the anniversary of the death of Ali Qushji, who died on 16 December 1474. Ali Qushji was a Persian astronomer and mathematician from Samarkand who died in Istanbul. He is remembered most for trying to establish an astronomical physics that was independent of Aristotelian physics. He rejected a stationary earth and, instead, tried to offer evidence for the earth’s daily rotation. It seems appropriate, then, that we begin this month’s carnival with the early modern posts.
Early Modern: The early modern period was well represented in this month’s carnival, with posts ranging from Renaissance astrology and prophecy to Edmond Halley’s efforts to improve the diving bell.
- William Eamon gives us a preview of his essay for the forthcoming volume Astrology in the Renaissance: Renaissance Astrology and the Vagaries of Markets.
- Stephen Gertz at Booktryst Tycho Brahe’s Sculpture Garden of Scientific Instruments.
- Scott Weingart at the scottbot irregular is excited about the new automated Latent Semantic Analysis available over at The Chymistry of Isaac Newton of Isaac Newton’s entire alchemical corpus: Alchemy, Text Analysis, and Networks! Oh my!.
- Stephen Bates at The Guardian | Science news draws attention to Sir Isaac Newton’s own annotated Principia Mathematica goes online. The The Cambridge Digital Library has actually put quite a lot of Newton material online: Newton Papers.
- Ian Lawson offers up a guest post at Early Modern Experimental Philosophy on Hooke’s Knowledge of Optics.
- Dr. SkySkull at Skulls in the Stars points out that Edmond Halley’s interests extended from comets down to diving bells: Sir Edmond Halley takes a dive! (1714).
- Alberto Vanzo, another member of the Early Modern Experimental Philosophy group, writes about the difference difference Experimental vs. Speculative Philosophy in Early Modern Italy
- Not technically a blog post, rather an article, Alun Withey presents ‘Persons That Live Remote from London’: Apothecaries and the Medical Marketplace in Seventeenth-and Eighteenth-Century Wales.
Medicine: It is nice to see some posts about the history of medicine this month, and welcome to Lindsey Fitzharris at The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice who is, I think, contributing for the first time.
- Over at the Memoirs of a Defective Brain we learned “about dancing fever and the swashbuckling scientist who first described it:” History of Scarlet Fever : Dancing fever, Civil War and a Revolutionary Scientist posted at Memoirs of a Defective Brain.
- Lindsey Fitzharris at The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice offered a couple posts on medicine and death in early modern England: Lancets and Leeches and Cupping! Oh, My! Bloodletting Practices in Early Modern England and Beyond the Grave: Concepts of Death in Early Modern England.
- Whipple Library Blog brings us this look at Insanity by J.G. Spurzheim.
- Christine at that amusingly quirky Atlas Obscura looks at the Chelsea Physic Garden: London’s Healing Garden.
Books: This month saw an interesting range of posts on books, book reviews, beautiful examples of old books, and thoughts on book reviews. Newton’s own Principia could have gone here too, but was slotted in under Early Modern.
- Over at The Public Domain Review Julie Gardham takes a look at John Bate’s The Mysteries of Nature and Art. Bate’s book is reported to have prompted Isaac Newton to study the natural world.
- Kind of Curious has been reading about museums as well as visiting them. Here is a review of Richard Fortey’s Dry Storeroom No. 1
- A nice post at Smithsonian Collections Blog looks at A Book With Some Very Unusual Leaves: Martin Hering’s Minen-Herbarium (1929-1938).
- Darin at PACHS has been thinking about books and reviewing books in two posts: Musing on Book Reviews and On Medieval Sundials and Scholarly Publishing.
- And finally, a post at the Board of Longitude project wonders: When is a book really published?.
Maths, Physics, and Computing: Maths this month represent an amazing spread from Babylonian clay tablets to Feynman’s 1988 headstone.
- John Baez and Richard Elwes “learn a lot from an old piece of clay” in their post Babylon and the Square Root of 2 over at Azimuth.
- Dr. SkySkull at Skulls in the Stars brings us another of his analyses of historical papers in physics, this one by the soon-to-be-a-household-name Amos Dolbear’s early efforts to determine the energy-mass equivalence: On matter as a form of energy? (written in 1881).
- Tim Jones makes a pilgrimage to Richard Feynman’s Grave in the Southern California foothills, posted at Comments for Zoonomian.
- Kevin Hess summarizes Alan Turing’s “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” at The Evolution of Computing and its Impact on History.
- Thony C. at The Renaissance Mathematicus takes the The Daily Mail to task for shoddy reporting on Alan Turing in The Cult of St Alan of Bletchley Park.
Miscellany of Links: And the catchall category for those posts that didn’t really find a home elsewhere.
- No carnival is complete without a Darwin post. History Today provides this one: Darwin and his Disciples. Philip Ball weighs on the the Darwin plagiarized Wallace issue in Shipping timetables debunk Darwin plagiarism accusations, posted at NatureNews. Teaching Biology tells us about “Darwin’s favourite pen pal,” the botanist Joseph Hooker: Joseph Dalton Hooker.
- Kind of Curious reminds us that The Chemical Heritage Foundation is more than just a sleek conference center. Along with exhibition space, there is even a Museum at the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
- Emily at Science, I am just that into you reflects on how changes in science—in particular the numbers of scientists—probably means There will never be another Curie...and that’s a good thing.
- Darin at PACHS offered some thoughts on various panels at this year’s HSS Annual Conference, 2011. It seems no history of science conference is complete without a gesture to The Antikythera Mechanism at HSS 2011 (And while we are talking about it, see the wristwatch-sized version from Hublot Holiday Gift Guide: For the Watch Enthusiast). Then there was the panel on Early Astronomy and Astrology at HSS 2011. Moving up chronologically, there was a panel on Putting Science on Display at HSS 2011.
- Victoria Johnson at The Awl brought us A Survey Of Moon Maps Since the 17th Century.
There were a handful of other interesting posts that didn’t quite fit the “history of science” rubric and so were omitted from this list. As always, a generous thank you to the organizers, Dr. SkySkull at Skulls in the Stars and Thony C. at The Renaissance Mathematicus. In addition, thanks to the other people who submitted posts for inclusion this month. Stay tuned for next month’s edition.