Tag Archives: history of science

There was no such thing as the Longitude Prize

As a result of the old question “Did Harrison win the Longitude Prize?”, and recent discussions on Twitter, started by Marcus du Sautoy here (he had been filming with the Royal Observatory’s Senior Specialist in Horology, Jonathan Betts, that day) … Continue reading

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Wanting to believe

Sometimes, the extent to which people see what they wish to see seems truly remarkable. However, we shouldn’t be surprised that this very human affliction affects even those with a training or long practice in observation and logic. An article in … Continue reading

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The place of science in history and history in science

As an historian of science working between two museum sites and with people researching or communicating both history and science, I often feel I’m a stuck-record, piggy-in-the-middle, harping on to the historians to pay attention to the science and the … Continue reading

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The active observatory

The following review was written for the new Science Studies section of the website Dissertation Reviews, and can also be read there. It is an outline of Alistair Kwan’s Architectures of astronomical observation: from Sternwarte Kassel (circa 1560) to the Radcliffe … Continue reading

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An 18th-century astronomical tour

In the latest issue of the British Journal for the History of Science I have a review of Kurt Møller Pedersen and Peter de Clercq’s edition of the journal that the Danish astronomer, surveyor and mathematician Thomas Bugge kept of … Continue reading

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A Manned Mission to Venus

Before the Apollo program had even started manned flights, NASA was looking forward and planning its post-lunar missions. A new goal using existing hardware developed for the lunar program was ideal, so NASA commissioned a study on possible application of … Continue reading

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More Science than Fiction

Science-fiction stories and movies are not only entertainment for a rainy day but also mirrors of the scientific abilities, ambitions, even anxieties of a society. A short overview about tales and movies shows this evolution. The decade of 1950 to … Continue reading

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Science in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Last week I was back in Edinburgh and visited the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. This has just reopened after renovations and I took time to consider the depiction of science in the murals of its Main Hall, and a new display … Continue reading

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Visiting Woolsthorpe

Recently, on an evocatively misty day, I finally had the chance to visit Woolsthorpe Manor, the National Trust property that was once Isaac Newton’s family home. It was, you might think, high time I did so, given my interest in Newton’s … Continue reading

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Touching and feeling: Henry Moyes redux

I have received several suggestions about what the natural philosopher Henry Moyes was holding in the portrait I showed in my last post. I posted some further thoughts on these, another image of Moyes and a fascinating account of his … Continue reading

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