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49

Architecture: Roman Cement Concrete was widely used throughout antiquity by the Persians, Egyptians, Assyrians, and Romans. The Romans technique in creating concrete allowed them to build the Pantheon, Colosseum, aqueducts, and spectacular baths (big ones, awesome ones). Amazingly many structures built with this Roman Cement are still standing. The recipe ...


38

Edit: I've added some headers and retracted factually incorrect information. The Status of the Metric in the United States Strictly speaking, the US has been "metric" since the Mendenhall Order, issued in 1893. The inch is defined as exactly 2.54 centimeters, the pound (mass) is exactly 0.45359237 kilograms, the pound force is exactly 4.4482216152605 ...


33

Another simple but important reason besides economic changes starting at this time is the spread of printing technique. A scientific community really only works when scholars can cite each other and share their ideas in a cheap and fast way, thats why internet boosted scientific progress in our time. If you study the link, the Gutenberg printing technique ...


32

Edit: As pointed out in the comments, I realize this answer doesn't deal with the history of metrication in America. I intended it only as an answer to "why does the US keep using their systems?" However, other answers here do a very good job outlining the history, and I encourage everyone to check those out too. As a non-American, I've always found it ...


27

It is actually a bit of a myth that everyone believed the world to be flat until Columbus. It is true that a lot of ancient societies believed that as a matter of cultural mythology. This was true both for the ancient Greeks as well as the ancient Indians. However, any ancient navigator who looked to the horizon on the sea on a calm day could clearly see ...


26

The observation that apples fall to the ground is not significant in itself. What matters is the conceptual jump that Newton performed, while (as he reports) sitting in his garden. Before Newton, the conundrum was expressed as: "if apples fall, why does the Moon stay in the sky ?". The breakthrough was Newton suddenly realizing that it was the wrong ...


25

Anaxagoras (500 BCE–428 BCE): Anaxagoras brought philosophy and the spirit of scientific inquiry from Ionia to Athens. His observations of the celestial bodies and the fall of meteorites led him to form new theories of the universal order. He attempted to give a scientific account of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the sun, which he described as a mass ...


20

I'm afraid any answer to this question must begin by considering what is understood to be the 'Renaissance' and the 'Scientific Revolution'. And that consideration, in turn, inevitably reveals a number of historiographical difficulties. The first of these is that neither of these were 'events', at least, not in the sense of a war or an assassination. They ...


20

There are many reasons, and I'm going to present the materialistic one championed by the Marxists (collective thud as the audience of History.SE falls off their chairs and faints). One of the requirements for having scientific progress is economic - you need enough surplus to enable the resources devoted to scholarship. This was enabled at the beginning of ...


20

There doesn't need to be any particular event in 1914. The starting and ending dates of historical periods are, to varying extents, generally somewhat arbitrary. It is relatively easy to point at the peak of a movement. At which does its rise constitutes the start of an era, and by which point can we classify its decline as an end, is much more opinion ...


18

(This is an incomplete answer since I don't know which eclipse specifically was predicted, nor how it compares to the rest of the world. But it is s too long for a comment.) Because of their cultural association of governmental legitimacy with astronomical / geophysical omens, ancient China was rather obsessed with predicting eclipses. Attempts to do so ...


18

One possible term for the situation you described is technological lock in. This is more commonly associated with the development of sustainable energy (vs cheap oil), so it is probably not the specific name you were looking for. It does however refer to a similar situation where non-optimal (for a given definition thereof) technology becomes dominant, and ...


16

With regard to imperial measurement, there is actually an interesting reason (at least in my opinion) why the US was not an early adopter of it. Thomas Jefferson had actually developed his own base-10 system of measurement (I believe he even attempted a base-10 system of time), and, had US relations been better with post-Revolution France, we may well have ...


15

All the mathematical works of Hypatia of Alexandria for example were lost. From the secondary sources we do have, she was an amazing mathematician. Her death could be argued as the end of the classical times and the decent into the Dark Ages...


14

In Dutch this is known as wet van de remmende voorsprong, which has been translated to Law of the handicap of a head start on Wikipedia. The page has a few examples similar to yours. That a page with such an awful name exists plus the number of discussions I find about how to translate the Dutch phrase makes me think that there is no exact name for this ...


14

They also introduced decimal angle measures (100 degrees in the right angle, each degree is 100 minutes. This explain why the kilometer was originally defined as it was: it is one decimal minute of the Earth's meridian, like the nautical mile is one ordinary minute of the same). I can name three reasons why the decimal system for time did not survive. ...


13

Computer? The Antikythera mechanism device for computing eclipses. Nothing much like it appears in history until Charles Babbage created his machines in the 1800's. The following BBC special further explores the device. Probing the secrets of the Antikythera Mechanism (Preview) The Antikythera Mechanism as it is known, is regarded as the ...


13

Stalin took ideology seriously... He started the Soviet meme "на идеологии мы не экономим" ("we don't skimp on ideology"). He also believed that "Учение Маркса всесильно, потому что оно верно" ("The teachings of Marx is omnipotent because it is true"). He also understood the critical importance of science and technology. He also continued the age-old ...


13

In 1718 Edmund Halley announced his discovery that the fixed stars actually have proper motion. (See Fixed Stars) The idea of fixed celestial spheres had a long history, with gradual changes and reinterpretation. The measurement of stellar parallax could be used to measure the Earth's orbit, but Halley (of Halley's Comet fame) showed that the stars move, ...


12

One thing readers should understand about this question (which should probably be added to the question text, hint, hint) is that lightning happens when highly charged air in the atmosphere finds a good enough conductor to the ground in order to arc there. Thus it is naturally attracted to tall pointy things. This quite well describes the steeples (or ...


12

He synchronised them to the solar zenith. Eratosthenes knew that on the day of the summer solstice, the sun passed vertically above Syene, which lies very close to the Tropics of Cancer. As the traditional account goes, the sun was directly above a vertical well at Syene, whereas at Alexandria the columns of the Library always leaves a shadow. Either way, ...


11

I'm going to add another answer specifically to address a separate part of your question: why didn't the same thing happen in Islamic world? The answer is plausibly Al-Ghazali. Quoting from Wikipedia: Others have cited his movement from science to faith as a detriment to Islamic scientific progress (source: Sawwaf, A. (1962) al-Ghazali: Etude sur la ...


11

Partly it's because you are reading the history books of those countries and a certain amount is spin. Islamic countries were the principle source of science between the Romans/Greeks and the 16C - inconvenient if you are a christian country and especially if you are a university that is essentially a religious institution. So you claim that these Arabs ...


10

Latitude can be calculated from observations of stellar objects (typically using something like an astrolabe) and a bit of math. The Greeks could do this as early as 150BC, but only on dry land. The Mariner's Astrolabe wasn't invented until around 1300 CE. Nobody had a good way to determinte longitude in realtime aboard a ship before the invention of the ...


10

Philo of Byzantium, wrote Pneumatica. Which included details of devices operated by air pressure. They knew about it far earlier than newton. He seems to be an early source for knowing about the properties of air with respect to combustion, link. But if we're talking about classical Greek elements, I thought Empedocles's four elements included air. However ...


10

They used lots of very large, very heavy stones. You will note that these constructions did not have large internal air pockets relative to volume. They qualify as monuments or fortifications more than inhabitable buildings with a decent amount of floorspace. Having arches or domes or any large enclosed internal space was considered the height of ...


10

The truth is that Germany ways de-facto the leader in the majority of sciences from the end of XIX century. In fact, German was the language of science just like English nowadays. For example even French mathematicians recognised the importance of knowing German in order to keep finger on the state recent advances in science. I'm mentioning French for two ...


10

Encouraged by the kind words about my comment, I have turned it into an answer with more details and sources. The historiography of the impact of First World War on European science contains (at least) two distinct theses that D.Aubin and C.Goldstein dub the Bourbaki thesis and the Forman thesis in [1]. The two disagree on the impact of WWI on the pure ...


10

I believe Benjamin Isaac's interpretation of the quote as racism is horse manure. The quote itself, as presented in your OP, is clearly an argument that the climate and laws prevalent in Asia at the time make for a cowardly and torpid culture, not the race of those individuals. This is bolstered by this point made with vigour by the author (my emphasis): ...


10

No Kalapas are defined as the smallest units of physical matter If we stop at wikipedia, then Hinduism, modern physics and the ancient greeks have a theory of the atom. But a definition does not really equate to a theory. Kalapas are material units very much smaller than atoms, which die out immediately after they come into being. Each kalapa is a ...



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