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History of Electricity – Science of shocks

By |2017-09-05T08:39:33+00:00September 5th, 2017|Science|

A bolt of lightning in the sky Like other inventions, electricity took thousands of years to develop, as scientists all over the world investigated first one idea and then another. Scientists grouped together unseen forces - both magnetism and electricity - and tried to figure out whether these forces were inside the attractor, [...]

Medieval sailing – Ships in medieval Europe

By |2018-10-04T07:02:49+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Caravels, about 1500 AD (Livro das Fortalezas de Duarte Damas) Frame-first ship construction The Early Middle Ages - about 500 AD - brought a major change in Mediterranean ship-building. Instead of putting the planks together to build the outside shell of the ship first, Mediterranean ship-builders began to build the ship's frame first, and then fasten the shell [...]

Medieval astronomy in Europe

By |2018-04-24T08:21:21+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Astrolabe in Hebrew, probably from Spain (1300s AD) In the early Middle Ages, most people in Europe were too poor to have much time for astronomy. But some people were still interested in the stars. Astrologers tried to predict the future. Monks wanted to figure out the right day to celebrate Easter, or the right times for prayers. And a few [...]

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 [...]

What is an astrolabe? Greek science

By |2018-04-23T14:04:11+00:00July 16th, 2017|Greeks, Science|

An Islamic astrolabe (832 AD) About 140 BC, the Greek astronomer Hipparchus of Rhodes invented the science of trigonometry. Hipparchus figured out that you could use an imaginary right triangle whose corners were the sun, the earth, and the planets or stars, to calculate the movements of the planets and stars. To measure the angles of these right triangles accurately, Hipparchus invented [...]

How to make a compass – China Activities

By |2018-04-18T18:18:12+00:00June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts, Science|

Early Chinese compass (reconstruction) Chinese scientists invented the first compasses, around the 200s AD, near the end of the Han Dynasty. These early Chinese compasses were very simple arrangements of an iron needle and a bit of cork, and you can easily make one just like them. On a sunny day, you can begin [...]

Science in ancient and medieval China

By |2018-05-28T00:10:52+00:00June 7th, 2017|China, Science|

Chinese science: a double-action piston box bellows (China) What are some Chinese inventions? Chinese scientists started inventing a lot of new things around 500 BC, during the Warring States period. That might be because of the formation of the first empires and the rise of the Silk Road. (More about the Silk Road) [...]