We look at the failure of the Eudoxian model of homocentric spheres and the models of Aristarchus of Samos, Apollonius of Perga and Hipparchus to proposed to replace it. We also discuss the ideas of scientific realism and instrumentalism with respect to Hellenistic astronomy.
A look at the evidence gathered by the Greek, Hellenistic and Arabic natural philosophers that determined the size and shape of the Earth. Aristotle's lines of evidence are discussed as are the measurements of Eratosthenes, Posidonius and al-Biruni. We also take a look at the myth that it was Columbus who first thought the Earth was round and how it arose.
A look at Greek astronomy from the time of Hesiod and Homer to the spherical model of Aristotle. The writings of Thales, Empedocles, the Pythagoreans and Plato are considered before moving to the sphere's of Eudoxus and Callipus and the synthesis of physics and astronomy by the tutor of Alexander the Great.
A discussion of some aspects of Mesoamerican astronomy including the Mayan calendar with its Calendar Round and Long Count Calendar and the cities of Chichen Itza, Palenque, Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan.
This week we look at the narratives, sites and artifacts of the native North Americans in their practice of religion and astronomy. We look at the traditions Chumash tribe of California, the kivas and spirals of the peoples of the Four Corners region including the Hopi, Navaho, Zuni and Anasazi, the Medicine Wheels of the central plains and the mounds and woodhenges of the Cahokia site of Mississippian peoples of Illinois.
A discussion of the motions of the planets in the night sky and some of the cultural associations that go with them. Observations such as retrograde motion, maximum elongation of Mercury and Venus, astronomical conjunction and opposition are discussed.
This episode focuses on the practice of ancient Egyptian astronomy and its relationship to the culture's religion and agriculture. Particular attention is paid to the motions of Sirius, the Great Pyramid at Giza, the "Stretching the Cord" ceremony and the association of the pharaohs with the Sun and heavens.
In this episode, we talk about the history of metallurgy from the Paleolithic Age through the Bronze Age to contemporary times including the use of copper, the development of bronze and steel technology and modern techniques that have shed light on how metals acquire the properties we find so useful.
In this last episode on Richard Feynman, we cover his work in condensed matter physics on superfluidity and superconductivity, the development of V-A meson theory and parton theory. We also discuss his work with the presidential commission investigation the Challenger explosion.
An examination of the work in pneumatic chemistry from Black to Lavoisier that establishes chemistry as an fully experimental science. A discussion of the rise and fall of the phlogiston hypothesis as a scientific case study is included. Figures discussed include Joseph Black, Henry Cavendish, Joseph Priestly, Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Antoine Lavoisier.