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Cavendish: The Experimental Life

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Book Series: Studies 7: Max Planck Research Library in the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561065 Year: Pages: 596 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Subject: Chemistry (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-03 16:09:07
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Two gifted eighteenth-century Londoners, Charles Cavendish and his painfully preeminent son Henry were descendants of paired revolutions, one political and one scientific. Scions of a powerful revolutionary family, they gave an original turn to the duty of public service that attached to their social rank. The English aristocracy knew one of its finest hours when Henry Cavendish gently laid his delicate weights in the scales of the first great precision balance of the century. For this action to happen, it took two generations and two kinds of invention, one in social forms and the other in scientific methods. This joint biography of father and son tells how it came to pass. Henry Cavendish is best known for his researches in chemistry, electricity, and heat, but in truth he worked in every part of physical science, bringing to it his unique combination of experimental precision and mathematical penetration. His accomplishment is likened to the highest example: since the death of Newton, Humphry Davy wrote, England has suffered "no scientific loss so great as that of Cavendish." Through inheritance he became immensely rich. Regarding intellect and fortune, he is called "the wisest of the rich and the richest of the wise." In his exclusive devotion to science, he is compared with "the most austere anchorites," who were "not more faithful to their vows." With reference to his legendary shyness, he is described as a man of "most reserved disposition," of a "degree bordering on disease." He was, to be sure, all of these things: one of the best scientists of his time, one of the richest men in the kingdom, a member of one of the politically most influential aristocratic families, a scientific fanatic, and a person of extraordinary peculiarities. This biography, a major revision of the original published in 1999, offers an enlarged understanding of the eighteenth century world of science and a reevaluation both of the scientific genius and of the remarkable personality of Henry Cavendish. It is a comprehensive study of science, family, and society in the eighteenth century.

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MPRL --- Edition Open Access

Spatial Thinking and External Representation: Towards a Historical Epistemology of Space

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Book Series: Studies 8: Max Planck Research Library in the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561089 Year: Pages: 219 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-07 13:00:16
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Spatial knowledge takes different forms in different societies and at different times in history depending on the spatial experiences accounted for and the available means for the external representation of knowledge. The volume presents and analyses manifestations of spatial thinking in the language and practices of recent non-literate societies, in the administrative institutions of early civilizations, in discursive contexts of ancient Greece and China, in early modern natural philosophy and metaphysics, and in twentieth-century physics, and discusses their historical and structural relations.

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MPRL --- Edition Open Access

Algebra in Cuneiform: Introduction to an Old Babylonian Geometrical Technique

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Book Series: Textbooks 2: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561157 Year: Pages: 156 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Subject: Mathematics
Added to DOAB on : 2017-12-21 11:59:57
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This textbook analyzes a number of texts in “conformal translation,” that is, a translation in which the same Babylonian term is always translated in the same way and, more importantly, in which different terms are always translated differently. Appendixes are provided for readers who are familiar with basic Assyriology but otherwise philological details are avoided. All of these texts are from the second half of the Old Babylonian period, that is, 1800–1600 BCE. It is indeed during this period that the “algebraic” discipline, and Babylonian mathematics in general, culminates. Even though a few texts from the late period show some similarities with what comes from the Old Babylonian period, they are but remnants. Beyond analyzing texts, the book gives a general characterization of the kind of mathematics involved, and locates it within the context of the Old Babylonian scribe school and its particular culture. Finally, it describes the origin of the discipline and its impact in later mathematics, not least Euclid’s geometry and genuine algebra as created in medieval Islam and taken over in European medieval and Renaissance mathematics.

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MPRL --- Edition Open Access

The History of Science in a World of Readers

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Book Series: Studies 11: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561423 Year: Pages: 189 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2020-01-14 11:47:01
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What role should historians of science, technology, and medicine have in communicating their own body of literature - its methods and concerns - across linguistic boundaries? This anthology is a proactive response to this question. As the West and the East become ever more closely related through travel, trade, and - not least - the globalization of knowledge, the seven essays in this volume should stimulate new engagements between English and Chinese readers on the centrality of science, technology, and medicine for our histories and our future. A wider selection of such influential literature, published in English since 1990, has been translated into Chinese and published in China in a companion volume. The series Studies of the Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge is dedicated to key subjects in the history and development of knowledge, bringing together perspectives from different fields and combining source-based empirical research with theoretically guided approaches. Studies typically present working group volumes with integrative approaches. The volumes are available both as print-on-demand books and as open-access publications on the Internet. The material is freely accessible online at www.edition-open-access.de.

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MPRL --- Edition Open Access

Photo-Objects: On the Materiality of Photographs and Photo Archives

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Book Series: Studies 12: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561393 Year: Pages: 326 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2020-01-14 11:51:27
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Photographs are not simply images but also historically shaped three-dimensional objects. They hold a physical presence, bear traces of handling and use, and circulate in social, political, and institutional networks. Beyond their visual content, they are increasingly acknowledged as material "actors", not only indexically representing the objects they depict, but also playing a crucial role in the processes of knowledge-making within scientific practices. This has a historical dimension: most scientific disciplines rapidly adopted photography as an important research tool. The various material qualities of photographs thereby afforded certain types of uses in those disciplines. Specialized photo archives were founded as interfaces of technology and science and as laboratories for scientific thought. This book highlights some recent approaches to photo-objects and photo archives as parts of a dynamic and material system of knowledge. Taking photographic materiality as its premise, it analyzes the epistemological potential of analog and digital photographs and photo archives in the humanities and sciences. Issues range from the circulation and distribution of photographs, the construction of disciplinary methods through the handling and use of photographs, the formation and transformation of a canon through photography and respective hierarchies of value, to the arrangement, classification, and working processes in photo archives and other institutions. The series Studies of the Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge is dedicated to key subjects in the history and development of knowledge. It brings together perspectives from different fields and combines source-based empirical research with theoretically guided approaches. Studies typically present collaborative working group volumes with integrative approaches to research. The volumes are available both as print-on-demand books and as open-access publications. The material is freely accessible online at www.mprl-series.mpg.de.

Theory, Practice, and Nature In-between: Antonio Vallisneri's 'Primi Itineris Specimen'

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Book Series: Sources 9: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561324 Year: Pages: 369 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2018-04-19 14:28:52
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In the summer of 1704, Antonio Vallisneri (1661–1730), the preeminent Italian physician and natural philosopher of his time, traveled with a “daring soul” and “trembling feet” across the “silent horrors” of the northern Apennines: down the hills south of Reggio Emilia to northern Tuscany and the western edge of his native land, the Province of Garfagnana. He then wrote a report of this adventure, the Primi Itineris per Montes Specimen Physico-Medicum (“Physico-medical example of a first journey through the mountains"), and sent it to the Royal Society of London, hoping for its publication in Philosophical Transactions. Unfortunately this did not happen and the manuscript disappeared from sight. The original draft, however, survived in the State Archive of the Italian city of Reggio Emilia where it was found in 2009. With its exceptional array of geological, medical, geographical, technical, ethnographic, and historical data, the Primi Itineris Specimen is one of the earliest and most well-documented attempts to define a systematic approach to field research. Its frantically reworked pages and anxious marginal notes offer a new and precious opportunity to understand why and how experimental data and theories in the early modern period interacted and shaped the development of many crucial debates. These include the discovering of deep-time, the comprehension of geological phenomena (such as the hydrologic cycle and the origin of mountains and fossils), the perception of man’s place in nature, the constant search for new therapeutics, the tormented and charming relation between science and religion.

Science in Court Society: Giovan Battista Benedetti’s “Diversarum speculationum mathematicarum et physicarum liber” (Turin, 1585)

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Book Series: Sources 11: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561164 Year: Pages: 642 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-03 09:43:11
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Giovanni Battista Benedetti is counted as one of the most brilliant mathematical and philosophical minds of the late Italian Renaissance. However, the theoretical and historical relevance of his work is still obscure in many respects. This is due to several factors, principal among which is the relative rarity of his major work, Diversarum speculationum mathematicarum et physicarum liber (Book including various mathematical and physical speculations), 1585.This work was a major contribution to Renaissance science, especially due to its insights on mechanics, the mathematical approach to natural investigation, and the connection of celestial and terrestrial dynamics in a post-Copernican perspective. The first edition was an elegant folio, which includes heterogeneous writings not only on mathematics and physics but also on technical and philosophical issues. Benedetti presented these as short treatises or letters addressed to gentlemen, courtiers, scholars, engineers, and practitioners of different arts. The Diversae speculationes appeared in a series of prestigious volumes aimed at celebrating the magnificence of the court and the capital. It aimed to make the quality of the court mathematician’s research and skills publicly appreciable. It also bore witness to the intensity of the cultural debates going on in Turin or connecting it with other centers, especially Venice.This open access edition makes the Benedetti’s work accessible to a large scholarly readership. In the extensive introduction, his achievement is presented in its rich complexity. Benedetti is emblematic of his time and of the non-linearity of the historical process of Renaissance science with its multicentric institutions and scientific networks. The apparent fragmentary nature of his work hides a fundamental unity of the conception and the method, both of which rest on geometry. Benedetti regarded mechanics as a model, but he enlarged his perspective to include the most varied fields of investigation and concretely to demonstrate the fruitfulness of his approach to universal knowledge, astronomy, physics, meteorology, and even to ethics.Edition Open Sources (EOS) pioneers a new paradigm in the publishing of historical sources. Academic editions of primary sources in the history of science are published in online, digital, and print formats that present facsimiles, transcriptions, and often translations of original works with an introduction to the author, the text, and the context in which it was written. The sources are historical books, manuscripts, documents, or other archival materials that are otherwise difficult to access. EOS is a cooperation between the University of Oklahoma Libraries, the Department for the History of Science der University of Oklahoma, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

Quantum Gravity in the First Half of the Twentieth Century: A Sourcebook

Authors: ---
Book Series: Sources 10: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561317 Year: Pages: 511 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2020-02-03 09:57:08
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This volume collects the earliest contributions to what is now known as quantum gravity research: the attempt to bring together quantum theory and the general theory of relativity. Covering the period from 1916-1950, it shows the beginnings of an unsolved problem that still remains as such today. The original sources are interspersed with historical essays, which together provide the first scholarly historical overview of quantum gravity in the first half of the twentieth Century. The combination of historical analysis and original sources make this a volume of interest to historians, philosophers, and physicists alike. - Edition Open Sources (EOS) pioneers a new paradigm in publishing, devoted to open access and high-quality peer review. This collaborative scholarly endeavor publishes academic editions of primary sources in the history of science in online, digital, and print formats. EOS publications present new editions of original sources with facsimile reproductions, in part also with translations, and with an introduction to the authors and the context in which they worked. The sources are typically historical books, manuscripts, documents or other material that is otherwise difficult to access. EOS a collaboration be-tween the University of Oklahoma Libraries, the Department for the History of Science of the University of Oklahoma and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

The Globalization of Knowledge in the Iberian Colonial World

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Book Series: Proceedings 10: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783945561072 Year: Pages: 322 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-07 10:37:43
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This volume investigates processes of knowledge formation in the Iberian colonies by attempting to understand the Spanish and Portuguese contribution to the European scientific tradition, and by tracing the origins and history of this knowledge to find out how it was gained. The studies in this volume reconsider our understanding of what scientific knowledge is and introduce a variety of scientific cultures of European and non-European origin. They examine the mixing processes of scientific cultures and the role these cultures played in the colonial situation at the intersection of non-human processes and human action. The volume brings together contributions in the history of botany, art, materia medica, translation in the religious sphere of colonial missions as well as mining as a scientific, juridical and industrial endeavor.

Guidobaldo del Monte’s Mechanicorum liber

Authors: ---
Book Series: Sources 1: Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge ISBN: 9783869319629 Year: Pages: 328 Language: English
Publisher: Edition Open Access
Subject: Economics
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-03 13:44:37
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The book presents Guidobaldo del Monte's first book from 1577, the Mechanicorum liber, which is reprinted here in a facsimile edition. The book is a comprehensive treatise on mechanics dealing with the five simple machines, the lever, the pulley, the wheel on an axle, the wedge and the screw. Their properties were in turn derived from the workings of the balance and the lever. The idea that every mechanism can be reduced to these five simple machines goes back to Heron of Alexandria and has been transmitted to the early modern period by Pappus, while the foundational role of balance and lever goes back to the Problemata mechanica ascribed to Aristotle.

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