Part of human activity related to gaining, classifying and improving knowledge about the world. There exist commonly adopted rules and requirements to make a method scientific. The history itself is one of humanity sciences.

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Why does the United States keep using “old” date representations and imperial system, while being in the minority?

Other than the US (and a few other countries), the vast majority of countries use International System of Units (SI). Celsius temperature scale. DMY or YMD date format¹. 24-hour clock when written². ...
43
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9answers
2k views

History of scientific regression

Throughout history, humans have made many subtle and many substantial scientific advancements. Humans have explored, examined, learned, applied and at times seemingly "forgotten" and/or were unable ...
32
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8answers
5k views

What were the reasons for the Renaissance / scientific revolution in Europe?

One of the common reasons given for the Renaissance and the subsequent scientific revolution is the rediscovery of classical works by scholars in Europe and the social change that the study of those ...
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5answers
2k views

What was the first Solar Eclipse that was demonstrably predicted in advance?

There is a famous story going back to Herodotus according to which Thales of Miletus predicted the solar eclipse of May 28, 585 BC, which interrupted a battle. Given that we have not a single ...
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3answers
2k views

Why was Newton's observation of the falling apple significant?

As described in this article at Wikipedia, in 1666, Newton was in a garden when he noticed an apple falling. Surely, Newton could not have been the first person to notice that things fell when ...
18
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6answers
1k views

How accurately could ancient astronomers find latitude and longitude?

In classical times (let's say 200 BC to 400 AD), how accurately could a Greek/Roman/Babylonian/etc. astronomer determine their location on the earth by coordinates like latitude/longitude? Could they ...
15
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1answer
536 views

Was there any theological opposition to the lightning rod?

Apparently, there was some opposition to the lightning rod at the time of its invention because lightning was seen as "the wrath of God" and should not be controlled. I'd like to find some citations ...
13
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3answers
256 views

How did the “Standard Model” physics theory get that name?

I want to know how the Standard Model theory got such "generic" name. (I've made this question in Physics StackExchange, but it was considered off-topic, and someone suggested to reask it here.)
12
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2answers
822 views

Did the Tamil People discover that the earth was round 2000 years ago?

I heard "Tamil People found that the earth was round 2000 years ago. They named the planets 2000 years ago." Is this true? The Tamil poet Manikkavachakar wrote about the earth in Tiruvacakam: By ...
12
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5answers
1k views

When was it discovered that the stars are not all lying on the same plane?

In Ptolemy and Copernicus' systems, the stars were believed to rest upon a single plane, the 'celestial sphere'. People thought they were all the same distance away from earth. Kepler's insight was ...
12
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1answer
185 views

Was the State of Indiana's legislation changed to fix the value of Pi?

Is the following an anecdote? Mathematicians describe Pi as an irrational number, that is, a number that cannot be expressed as the ratio of any two integers. This was an irksome fact to the State ...
12
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1answer
299 views

What were the responses to Copernicus' heliocentric theory?

Popular explanations often mention that the "Catholic Church" had a problem with Copernicus and his heliocentric theory, neglecting that even a scientific disagreement at that period would likely have ...
10
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2answers
385 views

Have the current polar ice caps receded further than those that existed before the beginning of the last Ice Age?

Has science been able to determine from the geologic record how our current ice caps compare to those that existed before before the beginning of the last Ice Age? If so, how do they match up? (I ...
10
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1answer
69 views

How was birth control realized in ancient times? [closed]

In ancient days, there were no birth control methods like condoms or contraceptive pills available. How did they control pregnancy?
9
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1answer
3k views

Who discovered first that the Moon does not have its own light?

Who (and when) discovered first that the Moon does not have its own light?
9
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1answer
375 views

What corrections did the Catholic church make to the Copernicus work “De revolutionibus”?

Catholic encyclopedia says: On 5 March, 1616, the work of Copernicus was forbidden by the Congregation of the Index "until corrected", and in 1620 these corrections were indicated. Nine sentences, ...
9
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1answer
158 views

Has the strength of the historical-archaeological method ever been tested experimentally?

Historians routinely draw quite far-reaching conclusions about all aspects of society from archaeological artifacts and textual documents that – naturally – represent only a minuscule fraction of all ...
8
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4answers
285 views

The Needham Question: What stunted China's technological and proto-scientific advancement?

According to Joseph Needham Why did modern science, the mathematization of hypotheses about Nature, with all its implications for advanced technology, take its meteoric rise only in the West at ...
8
votes
1answer
59 views

Where would I find Graham Bell's kite experiment data?

I'm looking for experimental data (lift, drag, pull, etc...) of Graham Bell's tetrahedral kite. As he was a scientist and inventor I thought that he might have written some quantitative data down on ...
8
votes
1answer
148 views

How were heavier objects weighed in antiquity/middle ages?

How were heavier objects weighed in antiquity or the middle ages? Were balances simply scaled up in size with appropriately larger weights? Did people know how much an elephant or even an ox actually ...
7
votes
2answers
279 views

Why did Stalin deem Quantum Mechanics 'counter-revolutionary'?

I've read that in the late 1940s Stalin planned to hold a conference to discuss the ideological difficulties of physics in the Soviet Union, but called it off (presumably because of the successful ...
7
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1answer
109 views

When did man begin to understand the science behind hail?

When did man begin to understand the science behind hail? And most importantly what were some misconception associated with hail? For example "Wrath of God"?
7
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1answer
97 views

When did home weather thermometers become popular/common?

Today we look online to determine the weather. When I was little, I remember people had big thermometers hanging outside, or suctioned to the outside of, for example, the kitchen window. But when did ...
6
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2answers
374 views

Why did science flourish in Germany after the First World War?

It occurred to me that Germany was extremely productive in (at least) physics in the first thirty years of the twentieth century, and especially in the period between the end of the First World War ...
6
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1answer
171 views

Has anyone scanned ancient structures with x-rays or similar? And if so, were any major discoveries made by doing so?

Inspired by curious' question; I now have my own: Has anyone actually* scanned the pyramids or similar ancient structures with x-rays, gamma-rays, muons, ultrasound, thermal diffusion, gravity waves ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and the Science [closed]

For someone who is born in India, some of the few mythological stories we watch on tv/hear from our grandparents are Ramayana, excerpts from Mahabharata or other Vedic stories of gods, the vedic way ...
6
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2answers
168 views

Why was A.K.Gastev purged in 1939?

Gastev was the chief Soviet proponent of Taylorism, aka scientific management: In the Soviet Union, Taylorism was advocated by Aleksei Gastev and nauchnaia organizatsia truda (the movement for ...
5
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2answers
366 views

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? [closed]

What was the "state of the art" in engineering, science, and mathematics in Ancient Egypt when the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids were built during the Third and Fourth Dynasties? How did they ...
5
votes
2answers
702 views

Prominent examples of scientific racism in ancient Greece

Benjamin Isaac in his book The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity provides a prime example of scientific racism in ancient Greece: The idea that dark people are cowards, and light people ...
5
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4answers
144 views

When did scientists first postulate that Earth's atmosphere might have an upper limit?

In plenty of myths and stories from ancient (and not-so-ancient) history, people are able to fly or climb all the way up to the "dome of the sky," breathing all the way. But even once science had ...
5
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0answers
69 views

What was the character of the Sylva Sylvarum that differentiated it from previous works?

The Sylva Sylvarum (1627) is recognized as the first 'treatise on natural history'. Some regard it as the most-complete work, for its day. But as early as 70AD, other works existed, such as Pliny's ...
4
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1answer
190 views

When did we discover air?

I'm certain that ancient man knew of wind and of our need to breathe, but when did air as a distinct material become obvious? I notice that the four classical elements are water, wind, fire, and ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

How much did we know about heredity pre-Mendel?

As is common knowledge, the founder (more-or-less) of modern genetics was Gregor Mendel, who first laid down the laws of Mendelian inheritance. In particular, he discovered the existence of dominant ...
4
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0answers
127 views

Is one of the causes behind the cultural atmosphere surrounding the Scopes trial, and the concepts about family, “children are the future”? [closed]

To start, I noticed that during the peak of the American eugenics movement (1920-1929) that anti-evolutionary bills and eugenical bills were being passed in the same 37 states (well, just about), ...
3
votes
1answer
75 views

More Scientific Discoveries Outside Academia Past 50 Years? [closed]

I heard someone claim there have been more scientific discoveries outside of academia, in industry, the past 50 years than in academia. Is this true? Has anyone tried to quantify this?
3
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2answers
97 views

Newton, Galileo, and Gravity

One of the few things I remember from my high school physics class is my teacher telling me that Newton discovered things like the universal law of gravitation simply because his initial premise was ...
3
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1answer
55 views

Is there a general term for epicycles, deferents, and eccentrics in Ptolemaic astronomy? [closed]

According to Ptolemy's (c. 150 CE) account of the motions of planets, planets moved in circular paths ("epicycles") around center points that in turn moved around the center of the earth along a path ...
3
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0answers
122 views

How did Isaac Newton support himself in the period of self-study that he conducted at 23?(after he received his B.A.)

I quote wiki : Soon after Newton had obtained his B.A. degree in August 1665, the university temporarily closed as a precaution against the Great Plague. Although he had been undistinguished ...
3
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0answers
56 views

When was the first recorded use of hospital readmissions as a summary statistic?

When was the first recorded use, or the first recorded intention of use of hospital readmissions as a summary statistic? A hospital readmission (also called a rehospitalization) is defined as a ...
2
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1answer
82 views

How long has western civilization known the body contains a significant fraction of water?

Body water is the water that makes up more than half of the average human body. Before the advent of modern physiology, humorism associated Phlegm with water, and my (relatively limited) ...
2
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3answers
261 views

Were scientists in Ancient Egypt Egyptian, or were they from other regions?

Do we have knowledge of any scientists of Ancient Egypt? If yes, were they originally from Egypt, or were they from other regions such as Europe, North Africa or Asia? Any examples?
2
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1answer
165 views

Scientists who became major political leaders [closed]

What examples can you find of these? I want the list to include people who satisfy two criteria: (a) Major political leader = king, president, prime-minister, very senior cabinet minister, mayor of ...
2
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0answers
68 views

On the epistemological repercussions of 1492

Lecture 11 of Yuval Harari's online course A brief history of humankind is titled "The discovery of ignorance." In it he presents the thesis that by arriving at a land mass entirely different from ...
2
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0answers
62 views

Was the take off of neural computing research in the 80's due to Japan? [closed]

Chow, Tommy WS, and John Sum. "Guest editorial: special issue on the emerging applications of neural networks." Neural Computing & Applications 20.7 (2011): 923-924. says: The take off of ...
1
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3answers
159 views

Did books from classical times delay scientific progress in the middle ages?

When seeing some documentary about the history of medical science in the middle ages, I got the impression that many doctors were happy to merely study the works of Galen, rather than do their own ...
1
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1answer
116 views

Is Maxwell really owner of Maxwell's Equations?

Maxwell's equations are four equations known to Maxwell; but it seems to me that they are GFAM's (Gauss-Faraday-Ampere-Maxwell's) Equations. Why are they then called only Maxwell's Equations!?
1
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1answer
207 views

Would modern aerodynamic design be recognizable to a vehicle expert 100 years ago?

Which is a stronger constraint on vehicle appearance: aerodynamic theory or manufacturing? If we gave Henry Ford a peek at our modern cars, would he fail to recognize it as a car? Or would it his ...
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1answer
105 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 ...
1
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1answer
136 views

What role did Fourcroy play in Lavoisier's execution?

Wikipedia is very sketchy and hazy on this subject: By his conduct as a member of the Convention, Fourcroy has been accused of contributing to Lavoisier's death. Baron Cuvier, in his Eloge ...
1
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1answer
61 views

Specialist for dates? [closed]

Does some branch of history as a science specialized in dates (in the sense of time, not romantic involvement)? Or is it a task too small and too important for not being everybody's business?