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Where did alphabet letters come from?

By | 2017-10-02T10:25:04+00:00 October 2nd, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

The first alphabet letters Each of the letters of the early Canaanite alphabet was the first sound of the most ordinary words in their language. The letter was a picture of that word's meaning. Often you can still recognize that picture in our letters today. And the order of their letters is mostly unchanged today, [...]

What is a bellows? Who invented the bellows?

By | 2017-09-07T10:38:59+00:00 September 7th, 2017|History|

(Tomb of Rekhmire, Egypt, ca. 1450 BC) About 14,000 BC, potters in China started to use kilns to fire clay pots. By about 3500 BC, people in West Asia were beginning to use furnaces to smelt metal - to burn copper and tin ore and melt it to get the copper and tin out, and mix them to make bronze. To melt bronze, you needed [...]

What is opium? World history of medicine and drugs

By | 2017-09-07T09:33:48+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

Opium poppy flower Opium comes from a kind of poppy flower. It evolved around 100 million years ago in West Asia and Central Asia. People probably realized as soon as they got to West Asia, about 60,000 years ago, that you could use opium as a medicine. By 6000 BC, in the Stone Age, West Asian farmers were already growing opium in their [...]

History of the human body – doctors and science

By | 2017-09-06T22:55:53+00:00 September 6th, 2017|Science|

Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest known medical texts. From Egypt, about 1550 BC Doctors have been trying to figure out how the human body works since the Stone Age, and there are still many things we don't know about the human body even today. Medical researchers all over the world have contributed bits [...]

Ancient diseases and doctors – History of medicine

By | 2017-09-06T17:47:19+00:00 September 6th, 2017|Egypt, Science|

Greek doctor letting blood out of a patient because he believes in the four humors Ancient doctors tried to cure everyone who was sick, but they did better with some diseases than with others. Let's look at some common diseases and see what Egyptian, Roman, or Islamic doctors were able to do about them: 1) the common cold virus: [...]

Who invented glass? – Phoenician science

By | 2017-09-05T14:46:50+00:00 September 5th, 2017|Ancient, Science, West Asia|

Core-formed Phoenician glass bottle (400s BC) People make glass by melting a particular kind of sand in a fire. This is sand that has a lot of silica in it. People have been using naturally occurring glass since the Stone Age, when they wanted an especially sharp edge on a tool or an arrowhead. Obsidianis a natural glass which forms [...]

What is pi? Simple geometry – Math, circles, circumference, diameter

By | 2018-01-10T23:44:33+00:00 July 29th, 2017|Math|

What is pi? The geometry of a circle What is pi? Pi is a number that is just a little bigger than 3.14. It is the number you get if you divide the circumference of any circle by its diameter. It's the same for all circles. You can approximate pi for yourself by taking some circular things like the tops [...]

Who was Euclid? History of Geometry

By | 2017-07-18T11:26:44+00:00 July 18th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Science|

An Egyptian papyrus from about 100 AD which is a piece of one of Euclid's books Nobody knows much about Euclid's life anymore - it is all forgotten. We only know that he worked at the University of Alexandria, in Egypt, for a while. There are no pictures of him. We can't even be sure [...]

Who was Eratosthenes? Astronomy and math

By | 2017-07-18T11:19:43+00:00 July 18th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Science|

A classroom at the University of Alexandria (al-Ahram 2004) Eratosthenes was born about 276 BC in Cyrene (modern Libya). When he was still young he moved to Alexandria, in Egypt, and in 236 BC, when he was forty years old, he became the chief librarian at the great library there. Eratosthenes spent the rest of his life in Alexandria, where [...]