Geologizing Asses

“Humanity’s genius is to have always had a sense of its weakness. The physical energy and strength, with which nature insufficiently endowed humans, is found in animals that help them to discover new territories.

Thanks to this special kit and also to the donkeys carrying it onto the rugged terrain of the mountains, Italian geologist Sismonda was able to publish the first geological map of the Alps…

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In Search of Punt

The expedition to the land of gold, also referred as Punt, from a relief in the temple of Queen Hatshepsut. The ships are loaded in a harbor of unknown location with precious gifts for the Pharaoh and with exotic animals and plants as tributes. Note the baboons on board (from J. DÜMICHEN “Die Flotte einer ägyptischen Königin aus dem 17. Jahrhundert vor unserer Zeitrechnung” 1868, image in public domain).

The expedition to the land of gold, also referred as Punt, from a relief in the temple of Queen Hatshepsut. The ships are loaded in a harbor of unknown location with precious gifts for the Pharaoh and with exotic animals and plants as tributes. Note the baboons on board (from J. DÜMICHEN “Die Flotte einer ägyptischen Königin aus dem 17. Jahrhundert vor unserer Zeitrechnung” 1868, image in public domain).

May 9, 1871 after a one year long search, the German geologist Karl Mauch finally spotted  was he had hoped for:  the ruins of gigantic buildings of stone – the remains of a long lost city, at least for the European explorer. The local people of the Shona tribe know the ruins well, in their language the buildings were called “dzimba woye” – the venerated houses – and build long ago by an ancient African civilization. Mauch however, following the racial ideas of his time, was sure that the buildings “could not possibly being built by Negroes.” He thought that he had discovered the ruins of the mythical city of Ophir, build by an unknown civilization and known in legends for the immeasurable wealth treasured there.

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June 8, 1783: How the “Laki-eruptions” changed History

The sun fades away, the land sinks into the sea, the bright stars  disappear from the sky,
as smoke and  fire  destroy  the world,
and the flames reach the sky.
The End of the World according to the “Völuspa“, a collection of Icelandic myths compiled in the 13th century.

June 8, 1783 marks the beginning of a volcanic eruption that will change history

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Newton’s Alchemy and early Geochemistry

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is today remembered for his contributions to optics, mechanics and gravity, but as a typical polymath of his time he was also interested in alchemy. And through his interest in this early predecessor of chemistry he became also involved in some geological research.

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Giants’ Shoulders #56 The Giant Edition

Michael Barton (@darwinsbulldog) has posted a positively gigantic edition of Giants’ Shoulders the history of science blog carnival on his blog The Dispersal of Darwin. It contains enough good bloggage to keep you reading until the next Giants’ Shoulders appears in a month’s time.

Giants’ Shoulders #57 will be hosted by Alison Boyle (@ali_boyle) on the Science Museum Blog on 16th March. Submission should as always be made direct to the host or to me here at The Renaissance Mathematicus or to Dr SkySkull at Skull in the Stars by 15th March at the latest.

We have a host for April but after that Giants’ Shoulders will again be an orphan searching for a kindly host on a friendly blog. If you can offer the best history of science blog carnival a home for a month then please contact me here.

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Carnivals

Giants’ Shoulders #56 the history of science blog carnival is being hosted by Michael Barton @darwinsbulldog at The Dispersal of Darwin on 16th February. Submit your favourite #histsci, #histtech & #histmed post to the host or @drskyskull or to me here at RM by the 15th February.

As always Giants’ Shoulders needs new hosts. If you have a blog and want to host the best history of science blog carnival since the beginning of time then contact me here at RM.

I’m stepping out of my self-imposed boundaries on March 9th and am hosting Carnivalesque the interdisciplinary blog carnival dedicated to pre-modern history (to c. 1800 C.E.) here at The Renaissance Mathematicus. If you have an interesting history post for Carnivalesque then you can submit it here.

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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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