Monthly Archives: May 2012

Crimes against history: literary imagination and scientific method

A recent article in The Nation, by Peter Reddaway and Stephen F. Cohen on ‘Orlando Figes and Stalin’s Victims‘, reveals a fascinating story of the darker side of historical scholarship. It also got me thinking about some old, old debates about … Continue reading

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Mapping the history of triangulation

Triangulation was for about 400 years until the invention of GPS the only tool available to cartographers to help them produce highly accurate maps. Maps that had hugh political, economic, scientific and military significance in the modern era. Have you … Continue reading

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Giants’ Shoulders is visiting the Medical Heritage Library

The Medical Heritage Library has invited Giants’ Shoulders the history of science blog carnival to visit and has made its visitor feel very much at home. Hanna Clutterbuck has put together a bumper crop of choice history of science bloggage for your … Continue reading

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Giants’ Shoulders #47 has gone missing!

If you have been paying attention you might have noticed that the history of science blog carnival Giants’ Shoulders #47 failed to appear as previously announced on 16th May. Due to organisational problems it has in fact been delayed and will … Continue reading

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Cutting a dash: men of science as ‘historical hotties’

I had a bit of fun this week tweeting links to portraits of some 19th-century men of science, suggesting that they were ’19thC scientific hotties’. Such a phrase is not, I should add, my usual vocabulary, and nor is a … Continue reading

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A mathematician who became Pope.

It might be the £500,000 question on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”, which mediaeval mathematician became Pope? [To find the answer go here]

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Long-distance longitude

Over a year ago I wrote a post ‘Sympathetic vibrations‘ that mentioned a 1688 pamphlet that included (as satire) a means of finding longitude by using a ‘Powder of Sympathy’. The idea was that this could be used to enduce … Continue reading

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How not to write about Renaissance mathematics.

This is a book review. It is a review of Mark A. Peterson’s Galileo’s Muse: Renaissance Mathematics and the Arts that I have to admit I’m writing with some reluctance. Why? I’m writing this review with some reluctance because it is going … Continue reading

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Is Leonardo a great artist or a great scientist? Neither actually.

Is Leonardo da Vinci a great artist or a great scientist, asks Jonathan Jones on his Guardian On Arts blog and as you might have already guessed from the title the answer is neither, actually. Jones’ question is inspired by the two … Continue reading

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The Swerve is really a full-frontal crash.

Today  we have a new guest post from regular commentator and Renaissance Mathematicus fan Baerista. Whereas I am an Englishman living in Germany who blogs in English Baerista is a German living in London who normally blogs in German. Today he has … Continue reading

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