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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11
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1answer
316 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. ...
14
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1answer
476 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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1answer
212 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?
10
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0answers
215 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 ...
5
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1answer
362 views

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 ...
9
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2answers
704 views

What happened to all the scholars and scientists of Western Rome during the barbarian invasions?

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 ...
67
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4answers
12k views

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 ...
2
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2answers
501 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 ...
25
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
12
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3answers
653 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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0answers
157 views

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 ...
16
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
5
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1answer
182 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 ...
2
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1answer
102 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 ...
2
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1answer
229 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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71 views

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 ...
4
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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 ...
4
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1answer
219 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 ...
8
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3answers
272 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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0answers
60 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 ...
23
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
3
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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
228 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 ...
0
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1answer
281 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, ...
2
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3answers
421 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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3answers
5k views

Did the Ancient Egyptians understand the importance of the brain?

I remember hearing recently that new research has suggested that the ancient Egyptians did not view the brain as a useless organ, and had a reason for disposing of it in the manner they did. I can't ...
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4answers
6k views

Did the Tamil People discover that the earth was round 2000 years ago?

I heard "Tamil People found that the earth was round 2000 years ago. They named the planets 2000 years ago." Is this true? The Tamil poet Manikkavachakar wrote about the earth in Tiruvacakam: By ...
19
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3answers
910 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, ...
12
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1answer
532 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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312 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 ...
0
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1answer
233 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?
4
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1answer
294 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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2answers
3k views

How much did we know about heredity pre-Mendel?

As is common knowledge, the founder (more-or-less) of modern genetics was Gregor Mendel, who first laid down the laws of Mendelian inheritance. In particular, he discovered the existence of dominant ...
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6answers
8k views

Why did Winston Churchill say “perverted science” in his Finest Hour speech?

What exactly was Winston Churchill referring to when he said "perverted science" in his Finest Hour speech? http://www.winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1940-the-finest-hour/their-finest-hour ...
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1answer
9k 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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1answer
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 ...
8
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2answers
399 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. ...
6
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2answers
364 views

Why was A.K.Gastev purged in 1939?

Gastev was the chief Soviet proponent of Taylorism, aka scientific management: In the Soviet Union, Taylorism was advocated by Aleksei Gastev and nauchnaia organizatsia truda (the movement for ...
20
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6answers
4k views

How accurately could ancient astronomers find latitude and longitude?

In classical times, say, 200 BC to 400 AD, how accurately could an astronomer determine their latitude and longitude? Could they find their position to the nearest degree? Minute? Second? I'm ...
2
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1answer
263 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 ...
7
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1answer
480 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 ...
8
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2answers
249 views

What is the earliest known writing associating the number three with the dimension of the world?

Euclid's elements say: A solid is that which has length, breadth, and depth. This sentence recognizes that there are three dimensions in the world, and it was written in 300 BC. Are there any ...
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4answers
38k views

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 ...
87
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9answers
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 ...
8
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4answers
394 views

Did the passage from Latin to English, in England, help science flourish?

On a YouTube video about the origins of English, they said that replacing Latin with English in science was beneficial to the field; scientists were thus able to easily discuss and understand the ...
87
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10answers
52k views

Why does the United States keep using “old” date representations and imperial system, while being in the minority?

Other than the US (and a few other countries), the vast majority of countries use International System of Units (SI). Celsius temperature scale. DMY or YMD date format¹. 24-hour clock when written². ...
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2answers
466 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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1answer
157 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 ...
9
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1answer
501 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 ...
5
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1answer
155 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 ...