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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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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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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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1answer
331 views

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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1answer
208 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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1answer
192 views

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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3answers
384 views

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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132 views

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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174 views

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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259 views

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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1answer
215 views

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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1answer
260 views

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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1answer
8k views

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 ...
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385 views

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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1answer
383 views

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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3answers
664 views

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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218 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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1answer
448 views

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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1answer
217 views

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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23k views

Did medieval scholars believe the Earth was round?

There seems to be almost a consensus that the medieval belief on flat earth is a myth. Wikipedia even has a whole article dedicated to this subject, and the general argument is that the "flat earth ...
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1answer
150 views

What periods and locations in early European history had evidence based criminal trials?

What periods and locations in European history had evidence based criminal trials? I'm interested in creating a medieval role playing setting and some fictional narratives involving crime ...
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1answer
144 views

What was the first scientific article to give a recognisably “modern” citation to another article?

It's easy to find online citation indices; however they typically only cover recent articles, e.g. Scopus has coverage since 2004. Indeed citation indices in paper form seem to have been introduced in ...
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2answers
6k views

Why would graphite have been confused with lead?

I was reading the wikipedia page for pencil, and came across an interesting fact: Prior to 1565 (some sources say as early as 1500), a large deposit of graphite was discovered on the approach to ...
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2answers
428 views

Did quantum theory originate as pure research? [closed]

Recently I've read a debate over the futility of demanding "usefulness" from research endeavors, since the potential outcome is unpredictable. As evidence for this statement, a list of random papers ...
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1answer
415 views

Is there any record of the premature obituary of Alfred Nobel?

It’s widely shared that Alfred Nobel, who posthumously founded the Nobel Prizes, had read a premature obituary about himself castigating him for his role in producing and trafficking deadly products, ...
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1answer
887 views

In what year did Charles Proteus Steinmetz fix Ford's Generator for the famed $10,000 invoice?

Charles Proteus Steinmetz is the protagonist of an interesting tale about fixing a generator at Ford's plant. Unfortunately the Smithsonian Magazine does not state the year in which the incident ...
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1answer
433 views

Who invented the aeroplane? [closed]

The world knows the Wright Brothers as the inventors of the aeroplane, but there is a man in India named Shivkar Bapuji Talpade who had already invented the aeroplane before the Wright brother's first ...
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2answers
265 views

How was Galileo's approach to mathematics different than Descartes's approach?

According to Galileo "the world is written in the language of mathematics," and a natural philosopher must learn to read it. How did this approach differ from Descartes' notion of a mathematical ...
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1answer
4k views

Origin of scientific racism?

Modern scientific racism became wide spread during the age of enlightenment. Is there a single person that could be labeled as the 'father' of modern scientific racism?
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1answer
169 views

at what point did Europe overtake the Arabic World and India in math and science? [closed]

It's well known that the Arabic World was once the learning center of philosophy/math/science in the world etc. India also had powerful mathematical achievements beyond those of Europe. But then that ...
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2answers
389 views

Did Archimedes spend time in Alexandria, Egypt?

We know that Archimedes was a native of Syracuse , Sicily and that much of his scientific and inventive works were conducted in this particular Eastern Sicilian city during the 200'S BC/BCE. However, ...
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3answers
6k views

What did the top minds of the late 17th century have to say about Salem witch trials?

I think of Newton, Hooke, Leibniz, Wren, Locke -- assuming they knew hard to believe they would not have thought it crazy but I have read nothing about Newton, et al saying anything.
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1answer
158 views

How did the development in education impact the curiosity and creativity in German society pre and post WWI? [closed]

I am currently researching this question; I know that the educational system focused more on science and math after the war which could have allowed for more curiosity and creativity in scientific ...
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1k views

In the first half of 20th century, how was gold inspected for authenticity?

Let's say this for the years 1900 - 1950, before we had modern analysis tools. When trade payments were made in gold, how was the gold inspected for quality? How did they assess the purity of gold, ...
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977 views

Where and how did scientists of the 18th and 19th century learn foreign languages?

I'm always amazed by the the apparent amount of foreign languages that scientists in the 18th and 19th centuries seem to have possessed. With the end of Latin as the main scholarly language, ...
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1answer
358 views

In Ancient Cultures - How was a New Moon identified when it can never be seen?

In some ancient cultures, a Lunar Calendar was utilized and the "New Moon" is considered the "First of the Month". In ancient Semitic cultures, Assyria, Persia, Akkadia, Israel, etc - how was the "...
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265 views

When did we find out time of day changes with longitude?

I know that Greenwich mean time was established in 1675, as an aid to navigation. Portuguese and Spanish navigators in the 15th century also appeared to be aware of the usefulness of timekeeping for ...
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Did geologist Fyodor Shtein ever write up his findings in California?

The German scientist Fyodor Shtein (Friedrich Stein) was the naturalist on the voyage of the Blagonamerenny to California in 1820-21. His purview included geological and botanical research, and his ...
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1answer
118 views

How important were reprints of scientific articles in scientific practice and communications before the the copier, the computer and the internet?

Reprints of articles from scientific journals seem to have been an important part of scientific practice before the copying machine and the internet. Authors of articles were given a number of those ...
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148 views

What are other ancient encyclopaedic texts like Pliny's “Naturalis Historia” were available to medieval people?

The German historian of medieval thought, Kurt Flasch claims in one of his books ("Das philosophische Denken im Mittelalter", my translation "philosophical thought in medieval times") the following: ...
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2k views

Which of these quotes are actually Einstein's (if any)?

Two very similar-sounding quotes have come to my ear, both supposedly said by Albert Einstein. The first quote is: “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” ― ...
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190 views

What was the attitude of the Scientific community when Hitler accessed power? [closed]

What was the attitude of the scientific community when Hitler accessed power, between 1933 and 1939 ? Did the scientists boycotted the meetings (if any ?) in Germany ? Update: I don't imagine that ...
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169 views

Are there any references to entombed animals in Ancient India?

The 13th century Hindu philosopher Arulnandi Shivacharya wrote a work called the Shiva Jnana Siddhiyar, which among other things contains a refutation of Buddhist philosophy. In this excerpt, various ...
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2k views

Is there any science behind this graph that suggests we'd be exploring new galaxies if not for the dark ages?

I stumbled on this "graph". While it is clearly a dank meme, I was wondering if there was any actual science behind it: Is there anywhere a measure of scientific discovery per unit time? Do we have ...
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1answer
461 views

Why did Galileo decide to flame Fr. Grassi over the latter's theory of comets, making sure to lose the Jesuits’ support?

Grassi's Disputatio was a rather tame work, which presented his theory of circularly orbiting comets in a non-definitive fashion. It should have pleased Galileo, given his prejudice in strictly ...
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1answer
430 views

“Ancient knowledge” in Western Europe during Empire's fall

We know that the dawn of the age of Renaissance and the dusk of the Middle Ages were accelerated by the fall of Byzantine Empire and the transfer of a big chunk of "Ancient Knowledge" from Greece to ...
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1answer
124 views

Accurate predictions of scientific breakthroughs [closed]

We know that in 1939 Szilárd accurately predicted possibility of achieving nuclear chain reaction in "immediate future". This seems to be an outlier: it looks like predictions like that usually fail; ...
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Did Albert Einstein really receive this rejection letter from the University of Bern?

I saw this image on Facebook and I usually take what's posted there with a grain of salt. I have reversed image searched and googled, but with no luck. I'm curious about the authenticity surrounding ...
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Why was Copernicus not persecuted by the church, but Galileo was?

The Catholic Church's persecution of Galileo Galilei for embracing heliocentrism is very well known today. He was subjected to the inquisition and spent the end of his life in house arrest. However, ...
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What caused this cratering pattern at Hiroshima?

I was reading this article here, which includes an interesting photo of Hiroshima: The caption on the photo indicates that it was taken three weeks after the atomic bomb was dropped. The photo seems ...
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Why did Germany have so many important scientists and thinkers around the turn of the 20th century?

I got an impression that Germany at the turn of the 20th century had a lot of very important thinkers and scientists, who created foundation for lots of modern theories and philosophical concept. ...