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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5
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0answers
126 views

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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Was Perumthachan's doll the first automaton in India?

There is a doll automaton referenced in the legend of Perumthachan. It is shown in the movie. Does this legend indicate that the technology of automata was there in ancient India? Inventions such as ...
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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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2answers
463 views

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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1answer
175 views

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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1answer
101 views

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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1answer
225 views

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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1answer
269 views

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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59 views

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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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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628 views

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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257 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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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
399 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
222 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
276 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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414 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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1answer
214 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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215 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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307 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
229 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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290 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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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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398 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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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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267 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
476 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
257 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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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
156 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
148 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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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
432 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
636 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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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
544 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
323 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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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
454 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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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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162 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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1k 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
414 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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4answers
272 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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What did Fyodor Shtein report after his voyage?

In 1820 The Russian admiralty sent two pairs of ships to explore the polar regions. The southern ships, Mirny and Vostok, circumnavigated Antarctica, and the northern ships, Otkrytie and ...
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1answer
123 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 ...