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6
votes
1answer
118 views

Did Archimedes have any students?

We know that Archimedes learnt a lot from his father, Phidias (who was an astronomer) and most likely studied in Alexandria, alongside other great contemporaries such as Eratosthenes of Cyrene and ...
10
votes
1answer
937 views

What were Greek and Roman sails made from?

I have found that Vikings used sails made from wool: http://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/research/maritime-technology/woollen-sailcloth/#.VctQLvlVhBc But can anyone tell me what the sails of ancient ...
6
votes
1answer
126 views

How long did it take to build earth dikes with low-tech tools?

Let's say you're in charge of a group of laborers anywhere from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages. Your job is to build a dike made of earth, a couple of meters high and presumably about the same width ...
2
votes
0answers
93 views

How close did the French come to digging a canal across the Isthmus of Kra in the 1880s?

Ferdinand de Lesseps is known to history as the man who pushed through the construction of the Suez Canal in the 1860s. Later (from 1880 onward) he led an attempt to dig a canal through Panama, but ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Are steam engines still in regular use anywhere in the world?

Are there any countries in which steam engines have a regular purpose, or are still dominant on the railway? When did they officially fade out of use in the western world? In Australia at least, they ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

What is the history of Research and Development laboratories?

When did Research and Development laboratories (R&D labs) emerge? What was the institutional and intellectual context? Have they undergone major changes in their nature? What role have R&D ...