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AMA

AMA

The first day of the new year seemed as good a time as any to try something new here. Today kicks off my Ask Me Anything project. Readers, occasional visitors, or people who just somehow came across the link and are so moved can submit questions about anything. Each week I will choose one of […]

Categories
Academia

The Earth’s Shadow

Today’s image comes once again from the many diagrams in BL Royal MS 16 C XII. This particular drawing illustrates how the earth’s shadow is cast by the sun. I appreciate the detail the scribe added to the sun, giving it a face complete with attitude.

Categories
Teaching

Tychonic Pumpkin Pie

One of my students happens to be a skilled baker. She made a special History of Science pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Seriously? When was the last time you saw a pumpkin pie with an image of Tycho Brahe on it? My students are great.

Categories
History

Interesting Planetary Diagram

The standard geocentric model assumed that the planets were arranged out from the center, the earth, according to the period of revolution. On this assumption, the shorter the period, the closer the planet was to the stationary, central Earth.[1] Claudius Ptolemy ensconced the order in his Syntaxis (commonly know as his Almagest) sometime in the […]

Categories
History

Religious Paintings and Mental Health

A brief notice in the American Journal of Insanity from January 1856 highlights once again therapeutic importance of ambience especially for treating insanity: Gift to the Maryland Hospital A beautiful oil painting has been received at the Maryland Hospital for the Insane, with the following note addressed to the Medical Superintendent: Baltimore, 27th September, 1855 […]

Categories
History

The Pulse, Buildings, and the Therapeutics of Design

Maiken Scott hosts the excellent “The Pulse” on WHYY here in Philadelphia. Each episode explores “stories about the people and places at the heart of health and science.” Or, put another way, each week she spends a delightfully informative hour examining some constellation of issues where health and science interact with and inform (or could […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Time Traveling Marie Curie?

Browsing Amazon for children’s books on the history of science, I came across this book on Marie Curie. So many questions: Who in 1600 had developed color printing and why was that technology then lost for 300 years? When did Marie Curie develop a time machine (and did it require a DeLorean traveling at 88 […]

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Press and Pop Culture

The Twilight Zone, Mars, and Percival Lowell

The Twilight Zone episode “People are Alike All Over” opens as a rocket launches for Mars, Rod Serling’s voice intoning: They’re taking a highway into space. Man unshackling himself and sending his tiny, groping fingers up into the unknown. Their destination is Mars. And in just a moment we’ll land there with them. It is […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Of Astrolabes and Wine

Further evidence that astrolabes are infiltrating culture is the name of winery in New Zealand: Astrolabe. Unfortunately, this winery is not really named after the instrument. Instead, situated in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, the winery is named “after the ship that in 1827 charted and explored the Marlborough Coast.” That ship was called […]

Categories
Museums

The Byzantine Astrolabe

I can’t reconstruct how I came across this page, but now that I have I can’t let it go without some comment. A search for the pair of terms “Brescia astrolabe” or “Byzantine astrolabe” gives as the second result a link to a Wikimedia page, Byzantine astrolabe at Brescia, 5th century AD (reconstruction).jpg A quick […]