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41

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 ...


32

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 ...


30

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 ...


25

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 ...


23

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 ...


18

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 ...


17

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 ...


15

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 ...


14

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 ...


12

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...


11

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 ...


10

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 ...


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 ...


9

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 ...


9

Modern scientific and mathematical knowledge was not necessary for building structures that would last a long time. For that, empirical knowledge, based on experience, was sufficient. History of structural engineering: Pyramids were the most common major structures built by ancient civilizations because the structural form of a pyramid is inherently ...


9

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 ...


9

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): ...


8

Yes, there was such a bill, known as Indiana Pi Bill, but it was never approved by the State. You can find a very interesting article on the matter, written by Arthur E. Hallerburg, in the text of Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science. Search for the phrase House Bill No. 246 Revisited. The whole affair started in 1894, when American Mathematical ...


8

I've finally found the exact sentences, so I'm putting here a new answer instead of the yesterday's one. As it's written in official materials of Copernikus' Museum in Frombork, Poland, such corrections were done simply by striking out some parts of the text and it happened only with something like 8% books that survived until recent times. It was their ...


8

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 ...


8

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 ...


8

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 ...


7

Perhaps this is what you are looking for. In particular, look at the bottom graph in red, which is an estimate of global ice volume. The data was taken from oxygen measurements in Antarctic ice cores. Assuming they have their data and estimates close to right, it looks like our current worldwide volume of ice is not a record low for the Pleistocene. ...


7

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 ...


7

The answer is a big "oh yes, definitely". And not just the Pyramids, Geophysics is a standard technique in modern archaeology. Just some random things discovered with geophys: The Staffordshire Hoard. Plumbing at Petra. The location and layout of Athelney Abbey. A temple complex at Saqqara.


7

My answer is more about the metric system then about dates. About dates, also consider that there are Chinese, Hebrew and Islamic calendar, which are much more different from the Christian one. According to Wikipedia: In 1866, Congress authorized the use of the metric system and supplied each state with a set of standard metric weights and ...


6

In the words of one Richard Feynman, from Chapter 28 of The Feynman Lectures in Physics Vol. 1: Maxwell noted that the equations for the laws that had been discovered up to this time were mutually inconsistent when he tried to put them together, and in order for the whole system to be consistent he had to add another term to the equations. With this new ...


6

I'll start with about the only place actual history comes into this: why it started. In English there are two ways to say dates: America's official birthday is on the fourth of July, seventeen seventy-six. and America's official birthday is July fourth, seventeen seventy-six. You may notice that the second way is far shorter. It requires no ...


5

E.g. Parts 1 and 2 of Volume 2 in Joseph Needham's Science and Civilization in China series contain relevant information. Chapter (c) (2) in Volume 2, Part 1 is titled The Mohists, the lever and the balance and mentions the steelyard as e.g. in use in the 11th century CE. This device for measuring weights uses two arms of unequal length, and as such would ...


5

Aristachus of Samos (310 BCE - ca. 230 BCE, and thus many centuries before Copernicus) held the view that the Earth revolved around the Sun. This is also mentioned in footnote 24 (chapter titled Copernican Revolutions) in John D. Barrow's The Book of Universes (2011).



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