Category Archives: History

What Kepler and Newton really did.

This has been a good week for people getting the history of astronomy in the seventeenth century wrong. [to find out what they got wrong go here]

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How Forensic Seismology investigates into Ship-Disasters, Terrorist-Attacks and secret Nuclear Tests

The collision of the cruise ship “Costa Concordia” on January 13, 2012 was recorded by the seismograph station “Monte Argentario“, situated on the Italian mainland. From the eyewitness testimony and the Automatic System of the ship the time of collision … Continue reading

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Christmas Trilogy 2012 Part III: What to do if your mother’s a witch.

Johannes Kepler certainly lived in interesting times in the sense of the old Chinese curse.  Born 27th December 1571 he lived through the most intensive phase of the Counter-Reformation being forced, as a Protestant living and working in Catholic territory, to … Continue reading

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Christmas Trilogy 2012 Part II: Charles and Ada: A tale of genius or of exploitation?

This year Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fuelled by the Finding Ada website and twitter account took off big time. Now I have nothing against this celebration and have actively supported it on this blog … Continue reading

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Christmas Trilogy 2012 Part I: Did Isaac really victimise Stephen?

Isaac Newton was not a nice man. When he was holding court in a London coffee house dispensing wisdom and his mathematical manuscripts to his acolytes he was probably friendly and magnanimous. Also, when he was chatting over breakfast with … Continue reading

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Pseudo-science, proto-science, pre-science or just plain science?

Having posted my recent article on the history of pseudo-science and science I went off to bed. Whilst I was wrapped in the arms of Morpheus an interesting little debate was taking place on my twitter stream. One of the participants thought … Continue reading

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Killed by Homeopathy

The mathematician, philosopher and logician George Boole died on the 8th December 1864. What most people don’t realise is that he was in all probability killed by homeopathy. [curious?]

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Humanity’s interest in the so-called pseudo-sciences has not always been bad for science

In a recent piece on her excellent Guardian Science blog, The H Word, my #histsci soul sister Rebekah “Becky” Higgitt asked, “Is there a rising tide of irrationality?” summarising her opinion with the following subtitle: Despite claims that pseudoscientific views are on the … Continue reading

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The pocket diary: A great Renaissance invention

The other day Kate Morant, author of the interesting Halley’s Log Blog, tweeted the following question on my twitter stream: Help! My iPhone diary’s become corrupted. By month ok, but by list all the apptmts randomly reassigned to diff dates. Any … Continue reading

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The Tycho Myth

The last couple of days have seen two astronomical anniversaries associated with the great Danish observational astronomer Tycho Brahe. Tycho first observed the super nova of 1572 from Herrevad Abbey in Southern Sweden on 11th November and five years later he … Continue reading

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