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Hanging Gardens of Babylon – West Asian science

By |2018-04-07T17:05:00-07:00September 15th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

Assurbanipal in the garden (see his enemy's head hanging in the tree?) Nobody knows for sure when or where the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built. But they were already famous as one of the Seven Wonders of the World in the Hellenistic period, about 200 BC. The most likely explanation is that the gardens [...]

Ottoman science – astronomy and clocks

By |2018-04-25T23:04:52-07:00September 11th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

Taqi al-Din in his observatory Ottoman scholars built many libraries in Istanbul and in other cities of the Ottoman Empire. They translated many earlier books into Turkish or Arabic, like the works of the Roman astronomer Ptolemy. Ottoman scholars also continued to make their own new investigations. The mathematician Ali Qushji, for instance, came [...]

Science in Central America and South America

By |2019-03-08T20:46:38-07:00September 10th, 2017|Central America, Science, South America|

A rubber ball made by the Olmec people (about 1000 BC) Invention of rubber With different natural resources available to them, the people of South America and Central America invented different things than the people of Europe, Asia, or Africa did. Early African science South America articles Central America articles One early invention was rubber. The Olmec people invented rubber (in fact the [...]

Coca leaves – South American medicine

By |2019-04-11T19:59:14-07:00September 10th, 2017|Science, South America|

History of coca leaves: Coca farming in the Andes Mountains When did coca plants evolve? Like potatoes, tomatoes, and tobacco, coca plants grow wild in the Andes Mountains of South America. They probably evolved around the same time as the other flowering plants, around 120 million years ago, in the Cretaceous Period. Cretaceous period South American medicine All our [...]

What is steel? Ancient and medieval steel

By |2018-04-24T08:21:18-07:00September 8th, 2017|India, Science|

Damascus steel sword from the 1200s AD Soon after 300 BC, with the rise of the Silk Road, people were all looking for new ideas for things they could sell. Thanks to Buddhist monks, there were big universities in Mauryan India, where people came from all over Asia to study and work, and they, or someone else in India, [...]

What is rubber? History of rubber

By |2018-04-08T11:21:56-07:00September 8th, 2017|Science, South America|

A big rubber tree in Mexico Olmec people, living in southern Mexico, invented rubber about 1600 BC. It was just as they were beginning to build their empire. Rubber starts out as the sap of a Central American tree - the rubber tree. You tap the tree or cut it down for the sap. Then you mix the sap [...]

What is a pontoon bridge? History of science

By |2017-09-08T09:08:30-07:00September 8th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

A pontoon bridge from the Column of Marcus Aurelius, in Rome A pontoon bridge is a temporary bridge that you make by lining up a lot of boats crossways across the river, and then putting wooden planks over the boats to make a bridge. You can see one in the picture. It's a fast way [...]

Scientific observation – history of science

By |2018-04-25T17:14:17-07:00September 7th, 2017|Science|

Black-eyed Susan (the black in the middle is the seeds) Before people had any idea why anything happened, or how, they could at least find out what happened. People watched plants grow. They watched animals grow. They saw milk turn into cheese and flour turn into bread, Astronomers watched the sun come up and the stars and planets go around, and the seasons change. So they figured [...]

Steel history – medieval to modern steel

By |2018-09-10T06:07:42-07:00September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

Steel history: a Safavid steel helmet (Iran, 1500s AD) Medieval steel from India and Iran The wars after the collapse of the Mongol Empire in the 1300s stopped steel production in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. But metal-workers kept on making high quality crucible steel in India and Iran under the Pandyas, the Mughals, and the Safavid Empire. The wars also made it hard [...]