Month: March 2015

HistorySTM March Madness Round 2 Bracket

Round 1 ended with some surprisingly tight contests as well as some runaway victories, e.g., Marie Curie easily defeated Averroes and in a somewhat surprising result, Hermes Trismegistus handily beat Galen. Tycho Brahe barely beat Rosalind Franklin. The closest match up was between Pliny and Boyle, who exchanged leads a number of times before Pliny just edged him out at the bell.

Here is how Round 2 shapes up. Voting begins later today:

2015 HistorySTM March Madness Round 2 (click to embiggen).
2015 HistorySTM March Madness Round 2 (click to embiggen).

HistorySTM March Madness Round 1

Voting is open for all four divisions in the first annual HistorySTM March Madness tournament.

The rules of for the tournament are:

  • A different question will be used for each round.
  • The question will be posted the day each round begins.
  • Based on the question (e.g., “Who would you most like to have coffee with?”) vote for a person.
  • The person receiving the most votes advances to the next round and faces a new challenger and question.

The question for this first round:

Whom would you most like to have coffee with?

Voting in all four divisions will close Monday at midnight. Victors will advance to round two. The rest will go home.

2015 HistorySTM March Madness bracket (click to embiggen).
2015 HistorySTM March Madness bracket (click to embiggen).

HistSTM March Madness—Geometria Round 1

Whom Would You Most Like to Have Coffee With?

Geometria Round 1
Finally, round one concludes with match-ups in the Geometria division. This division seems to be a particularly tough one—lots of heroes here. If he hopes to see farther than his competitors this time, Isaac Newton will have first climb over the shoulders of Isidore of Seville. Next, will Euclid’s geometry be enough to overcome Emmy Noether’s abstract algebra? Famous amongst grammar school kids as “The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, Eratosthenes will need more than the support of second graders to overcome Albertus Magnus. Then philosophical medicine meets concrete anatomy in the match-up between Avicenna and Andreas Vesalius.

Robert Boyle’s careful, experimental approach goes against Pliny the Elder’s wide ranging and entertaining book learning. You can just hear Pliny calling Boyle a cynocephalus. Newton’s great proponent in Italy, Laura Bassi takes on the Galen’s early translator, Hunyan ibn Ishaq. Alchemy meets astrology in the contest between Johann Joachim Becher and John Dee. Finally, the great German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt will have quite challenge in Charles Darwin.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to vote for the match-ups in the Arithmetica and the Astronomia and the Musica divisions.

HistSTM March Madness—Astronomia Round 1

Whom Would You Most Like to Have Coffee With?

Astronomia Round 1
Round one continues with match-ups in the Astronomia division. Some traditional pillars in the history of science risk falling to equally interesting if less familiar names. It seems fitting that Nicolaus Copernicus with his new-fangled solar system should confront Giovanni Battista Riccioli whose careful analysis of the Ptolemaic, Tychonic, and Copernican system decided against Copernicus. Hypatia comes up against Georg Peuerbach in what will no doubt be billed as a sort of pagan-christian rematch. Two Germans square off when Regiomontanus and Caroline Herschel meet. One of Austria’s only players, Lise Meitner hopes to defeat Eudoxus whose model of nested spheres is as ingenious as it is complicated.

In an epic battle of astrologers, Abu Mashar takes on Claudius Ptolemy—no doubt they’ve already analyzed the relevant charts and know who wins. Before the quirky and gifted Paul Wittich can have his rematch with Tycho, he will first have to get through Alhazen, aka Ibn al-Haytham. Expect a tight competition between these two skeptics of the Ptolemaic system. The paradoxically obscure and familiar Sacrobosco hopes to get past Maria Margarethe Kirch who despite being the first woman to discover a comet remains obscure. Finally, Newton‘s greatest promoter in France, Émile du Châtelet will try to overcome the Persian polymath al-Biruni

If you haven’t yet, be sure to vote for the match-ups in the Arithmetica and the Musica divisions.

HistSTM March Madness—Musica Round 1

Whom Would You Most Like to Have Coffee With?

Musica Round 1
As in the Arithmetica division, here again some history of science heroes are going home after this round. Marie Curie takes on Averroes. Although Galen enjoys near mythical status in the history of medicine (except amongst teleologists who lambast him for a) his humoral medicine and b) claiming there were pores in the heart’s septum) he has to confront the truly mythical Hermes Trismegistus. Then we have the battle of the early modern English Williams: William Harvey against William Gilbert. Which will prove more powerful, the heart or the magnet? In the next matchup, Pythagoras and his mystical numbers run headlong into Ulisse Aldrovandi’s interest in the material here and now.

The Arabophile pope Gerbert of Aurillac takes on Ibn al-Nafis—will his ideas about pulmonary circulation be enough to overcome Gerbert’s brazen head? In a contest between heaven and earth, William Herschel and his telescope take on John Ray and his methodical classification of plants. Armed with a bottle of soda water and a mistaken theory, Joseph Priestly hopes to overcome Ada Lovelace with her plans for an analytical engine. Rounding out the Musica division, Johannes Kepler and Gerard of Cremona go head to head before one goes home.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to vote for match-ups in the Arithmetica division.