Questions tagged [science]

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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When was the first record of the idea of spherical Earth for each civilization? [closed]

Most English source I can find online only discusses the history of spherical-earth vs flat-earth in the western world. Do we know when was the first time, if ever, the idea of a spherical Earth is ...
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Was there an alchemical symbol given for pitchblende?

In 1789 Martin Klaproth isolated uranium from pitchblende for the first recorded time, however uranite was used in dying glass in the first century. Through the age of alchemy, I have not been able to ...
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27 votes
1 answer
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How did Hedy Lamarr acquire scientific education?

Hedy Lamarr was a famous actress and an inventor. According to Wikipedia, her inventions included: Improved traffic stoplight. Tablet that would dissolve in water to create a carbonated drink. ...
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What language did Brahe talk with Kepler?

What language did Tycho de Brahe use to talk with Johannes Kepler? Latin? They met in February 1600 and Brahe died in October 1601. Brahe was Danish, Kepler was German, i.e. a different nationality.
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Where can I find fully translated letters from János Bolyai and Farkas Bolyai?

The mathematicians János Bolyai occupies an interesting place in the history of mathematics for the development of hyperbolic geometry. Certain quotations from letters between him and his father (the ...
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Did Empedocles think that plants have sex?

I was reading the book Flora Unveiled: The Discovery and Denial of Sex in Plants by Lee Taiz and Lincoln Taiz published by Oxford. In Chapter 8, "Plant sex from Empedocles to Theophrastus", ...
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Will we ever be able to understand history with 100% accuracy [closed]

First of all, I am not a historian or anything of the like, but this question was bothering me for quite some time. As far as I understand, the current methodology historians use to explain our ...
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1 vote
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How much faster is the theoretical rate of progress than the historical rate of progress? [closed]

Any technological, scientific, philosophical, creative milestone had certain prerequisites before it could realistically occur. We build on the past. This doesn’t mean that once these prerequisites ...
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Are there any books on the recruitment of scientists from the Third Reich (Operation "Paperclip" and others)? [closed]

Please advise the literature on the recruitment of scientists of the Third Reich after World War II ("Paperclip" and other operations). Language: preferably Russian, but also English will do....
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When was it first noticed that airplane passengers really seemed to like tomato juice?

There is this observation/theory that during flights, people really like to drink much more tomato juice than while on the ground. "A small study" (as Wikipedia calls it) from 2015 tries to ...
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Who is "Rhadir of Seville"?

I'm studying Nicolaus Copernicus' work, and this certain website mentions multiple people who inspired his heliocentric theory. Among the people mentioned, there's Peuerbach, Heraclides, Muller and ...
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Did the US really consider demonstrating the atomic bomb to the Japanese by "blowing the top" off of Mt. Fuji?

In reading this Washington Post article titled Five myths about the atomic bomb, it's mentioned: The decision to use nuclear weapons is usually presented as either/or: either drop the bomb or land on ...
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Was there Church opposition to heliocentrism in 1600?

According to the Stanford encyclopedia (entry: Copernicus): Pope Clement VII (r. 1523–1534) had reacted favorably to a talk about Copernicus’s theories, rewarding the speaker with a rare manuscript. ...
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Race mixing, eugenics, and Fascism: What inspired differences of opinion between German, Spanish, Italian Fascists? [closed]

I have been reading about Fascism from various expert sources, presently Professor Roger Griffin's Oxford Readers book Fascism. From this, and other sources (Robert Paxton, Stanley Payne, etc) we can ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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How did Taiwan participate in the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58?

Wikipedia's International Geophysical Year begins: The International Geophysical Year (IGY; French: Année géophysique internationale) was an international scientific project that lasted from 1 July ...
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How and when did the word "nuclear" replace the word "atomic"?

In the early "Atomic Age", nuclear technology was generally termed "atomic" in English. There was "A-bomb", "atomic reactor" and "Atomic Energy Commission&...
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Did Averroes really try to bury light in an attempt to create gold, or was that invented by Victor Hugo?

In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo relates a story that supposedly Averroes buried light in order to create gold from it, as, according to him, gold is light, but that it would not be for ...
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Was Al-Tusi's observatory (1262) the first specific-purpose-driven international research institution (like CERN)?

In the biography of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (1201-1273), among other sources, we learn that: The observatory at Maragheh (Persia) became operational in 1262. The Persians were assisted by Chinese ...
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Were the first sonic booms predicted?

Applying the Doppler Effect to the breaking of the sound barrier would have allowed scientists to predict that a shockwave (a "boom") would be created before pilots began actually breaking the sound ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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When did Europeans realize Native Americans had weaker immunity to Old World diseases?

The question is fairly simple: when did Europeans come to a general knowledge that the Native Americans had weak immunity specifically to Old World diseases? I'm looking for the first person to ...
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What is the earliest recorded reference to a bubble floating in the air?

What is the earliest reference to a bubble floating in the air?
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Did ancient peoples ever hide their treasure behind puzzles?

I just saw the film Dora and the Lost City of Gold, in which there is a somewhat meta running commentary over whether so-called "jungle puzzles", intellectual challenges typically requiring explorers ...
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Where was Carl Sagan working on a plan to detonate a nuke on the Moon? Where was he applying when he leaked it?

At 18:49 in Scott Manley's video The Craziest Things You Can Do With Nuclear Weapons he says: This was an idea to… it was a number of ideas; they thought it could raise morale with the US. The idea ...
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When did the spherical shape of the Earth become common knowledge?

It's well-known that intellectuals in the West have accepted a spherical Earth since antiquity, but I'm not sure how long it took for this to become common knowledge, worldwide. So a more concrete ...
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What were the international space arrangements and scientific purposes Eisenhower spoke of in October 1957?

Background: Explorer 1 was successfully launched into orbit by the US 1958-02-01 about four months after Sputnik 1 was successfully launched by the Soviet Union 1957-10-04, and Vanguard 1 wasn't ...
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What was Richard Owen's status within the Royal Society in 1858?

I'd like to know if Sir Richard Owen was still a distinguished fellow of the Royal Society by 1858. The information I have collected is controversial. The RS website shows his being VP in 1849-1850 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Was there any politization of "hard" science (math, physics, chemistry, biology) in the Asian communist countries?

Where proven science results contradict political views, the most obvious solution is to try to discredit those results, by creating your own versions. It has been done multiple times in history, for ...
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How long did it take biologists to adopt the theory of evolution?

My textbook (Freeman, S. and Herron, J.C., 2007. Evolutionary analysis p. 66) says Before Charles Darwin published on the origin of Species in 1859, special creation was the leading explanation for ...
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When were differing hemispheric seasons first understood?

When did people - scientists or philosophers - first realise/discover/understand that the seasons in the southern hemisphere were the opposite to those in the northern hemisphere? Additionally, when ...
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24 votes
2 answers
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Did pre-Columbian Americans know the spherical shape of the Earth?

The Maya are known for their astronomy and mathematics, most notably their famous calculation of the length of a year. I was surprised to learn that they supported a flat Earth model, though to be ...
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Was Nazi science that involved human experimentation ever actually used for anything?

There is a rather ferocious debate about using Nazi human experimentation and whether citation should be given for obvious ethical reasons. What I noticed however is that most of the research on ...
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15 votes
2 answers
855 views

What happened to the undergrad students who attended the Feynman Lecture Series in 1961-63?

In the academic years of 1962-2 and 1962-3, Richard Feynman gave his celebrated series of lectures to a cohort of undergraduate physics students at Caltech. It has been claimed, probably tongue in ...
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26 votes
4 answers
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Why did Jodrell Bank assist the Soviet Union to collect data from their spacecraft in the mid 1960's?

I've just listened to the short BBC News audio podcast clip How British academics spied on the superpowers: Tim O’Brien from the Jodrell Bank radio telescope discusses 50 year old recordings which ...
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1 answer
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Which SF author was unable to check his own work out of the library due to insufficient security clearance?

Following up on the question Public knowledge of hypothetical nuclear weapons before Hiroshima?: I recall reading (many many years ago) an autobiographical anecdote by a science fiction author who ...
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4 votes
2 answers
854 views

What solar event caused massive aurora borealis in the mid 1960's?

Living in Belleville, Ontario (north shore of Lake Ontario, about the midpoint running east-west), in the mid 1960's I recall two incidences between roughly November 1965 and February 1968 when the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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History of ideas, and importance of, "race" as a concept in the United States? [closed]

"Race" (a concept and social action) appears to have been accepted by "the state" (the repressive and administrative function) in the United States as a self-evident fact in the state's law, ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Who was the first to point out that transmutation of gold would be mostly useless, since it would simply lead to inflation?

For millenia it was a goal of princes and alchemists to produce the Philosopher's Stone, a device by which common metals could be transmuted into gold. To modern people who know about economics, it ...
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Is the historical consensus that Galileo did not drop balls from the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

A narrative commonly taught in schools and propagated in books is that Galileo Galilei "dropped two spheres of different masses from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that their time of descent ...
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16 votes
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What was the early understanding of static electricity shocks?

What was the common understanding of electric shocks caused by static electricity in the ancient world and middle ages? I'm talking about the shock when you touch something on a dry day for example. ...
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3 votes
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Why did many scientists spy for the Soviet Union and contribute to their atomic program?

I want to understand why some scientists collaborated with the Soviet Union and its atomic program during and after the WWII. What I want to know is if there were some specific characteristics or ...
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What model was used to explain stellar energy before nuclear fusion was discovered?

The idea of nuclear fusion was suggested in the early 1900s to explain stellar energy. What was/were the earlier model(s) explaining how sun produced light/energy?
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4 votes
1 answer
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How objective are books like "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"? How are they "proven"?

How objective are books like "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"? How are they "proven"? How can one assess the objectivity of historical literature? Why is it still not subjective, if not even ...
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37 votes
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Why did the Royal Society in 1771 believe that a continent further south than Australia should exist?

In reading the wikipedia article on Captain Cook's 2nd voyage, I noticed the comment: Despite this evidence to the contrary, Alexander Dalrymple and others of the Royal Society still believed that a ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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What do historians mean when they say "divinity" in the context of Ancient Greece?

I was going to find sources for the Wikipedia article on Thales of Miletus, since the section on divinity has almost none, I was wondering what "divinity" even means in the context of Ancient Greece. ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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How successfull were Albert Einstein's PhD mentees or children?

I'm curious if there has been any study in the success of the children, PhD students, or people that Einstein trained? Does history show that direct frequent access to an extraordinary mind provide ...
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13 votes
1 answer
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Did any Chinese scholars propose a heliocentric model?

After this related question, I now want to ask about the heliocentric model. Did any Chinese scholars propose a heliocentric model of the universe? The time period I'm interested is any time before ...
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Before European influence circa 1600, did any Chinese believe the Earth was spherical, and did they ever try to measure it?

The Pythagorans, Aristotle, and Eratosthenese believed the Earth was spherical. Eratosthenes made a measure based on shadows at two cities on the same meridian. An Indian mathematician, Aryabhata, ...
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9 votes
3 answers
536 views

Since when and why do some academic publishers use, prefer or enforce endnotes instead of footnotes

When reading academic books of a certain size the usage of endnotes in those is killing me and my productivity. That is practically part of the definition: Footnotes are notes at the foot of the ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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When did pilots experience blackouts and redouts for the first time?

I'm working on a semi-historical novel right now. There's an interesting dogfight inside, between two 1914-era planes. While writing it I wondered if at the time, planes were fast enough for pilots ...
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After the Mongol Empire fell, did China really turn away from math and physics?

I came across this from the Wiki article on Chinese Mathematics: After the overthrow of the Yuan Dynasty, China became suspicious of knowledge it used. The Ming Dynasty turned away from math and ...
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