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Science in Early Modern Europe

By |2018-04-13T01:12:09+00:00August 7th, 2017|Modern Europe, Science|

Early modern science: Tycho Brahe (He looks funny because his nose got cut off in a duel and he wore a false one made of brass.) New observatories in Europe Europe's colonialism and slave trading brought a lot of money to Europe. By 1600 AD the fashion for building new observatories that had swept from China west [...]

René Descartes – European philosophy

By |2018-04-11T18:19:13+00:00August 6th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

René Descartes was one of the earliest philosophers of the European Enlightenment, in the early 1600s AD. He was just 8 years younger than Hobbes. While Descartes was growing up, Henry IV was killed, Marie de Medici ruled, and then Richelieu. Descartes' mother died in childbirth when he was a baby. As a Catholic, Descartes went to Jesuit school. [...]

Medieval science in Europe

By |2018-04-24T09:01:17+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Medieval science: an Italian pharmacy jar, about 1400 AD (Metropolitan Museum, New York) Learning from Islamic science During the Middle Ages, the best scientists and doctors weren't in Europe. They were in the Islamic Empire to the south and east. Most of the science and medicine that people were doing in Europe was learning from Islamic scientists [...]

Geometry made easy!

By |2018-04-23T16:00:35+00:00July 29th, 2017|Math|

This is an equilateral trangle. The simplest geometric idea is the point, and then the line, the plane, and the solid. Shapes like circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles are flat, and we can think of them as being parts of a plane, flat like a drawing. Shapes like spheres, cubes, and pyramids are solid, and we can think of them as being part of the whole universe [...]

What is algebra? Math made simple

By |2018-04-23T15:58:58+00:00July 27th, 2017|Math|

Simple equations on a graph Algebra is the way Islamic mathematicians figured out to connect our ideas about geometry with our ideas about numbers. You can use equations to represent geometric shapes. You can also use equations to represent the movement of numbers (or real objects like trains) through time or space. The simplest equations have only one variable. They look like y [...]

Simple equations – Algebra

By |2017-07-27T23:23:08+00:00July 27th, 2017|Math|

Simple equations on a graph When we learn to add and subtract, multiply and divide, we think of numbers as being all along the number line. But in algebra we think about numbers as being in a plane. Picture two number lines crossing each other at zero. The one that goes up and down we call the y-axis and the one that goes from side [...]

Number plane project – Battleship

By |2018-05-31T11:49:21+00:00July 27th, 2017|Math|

A game of Battleship A fun way to practice plotting points on the number plane is to play Battleship. You will need two pieces of graph paper, two pencils, and two kids. Each kid should draw a number plane on her paper with an x-axis and a y-axis, numbered from -10 to 10. Then draw lines on [...]

Medieval Islamic mathematics

By |2018-04-24T08:21:16+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Math|

Indian numbers About 630 AD, just before the Islamic empire got started, people in West Asia learned from traders or traveling scholars about "Arabic" numbers. This new way of writing numbers really came from India. The Arabic word for numbers, in fact, is hindsah, which means "from India". The new numbers included for the first time a way to write [...]

Medieval Islamic science

By |2018-04-24T08:21:20+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tusi's diagram of linear motion from circular motion In the Early Middle Ages, before the formation of the Islamic Empire, Buddhists ran the world's biggest universities. One was in India, at Nalanda. Another was in what is now Pakistan, at Taxila. In Egypt, the University of Alexandria was still an important center of learning, too. Most serious scholars went to [...]