Filed under science history

The Man Who Stood on the Shoulders of Giants

The Man Who Stood on the Shoulders of Giants

Roger Bacon (born 1214) is generally considered to be the father of modern science. He wrote f the values of book and experience. This is from Jean Gimpel’s  The Medieval Machine.  There are two modes of acquiring knowledge – namely by reasoning and experience. Reasoning draws a conclusion and makes us grant the conclusion but does … Continue reading

Newton’s Great Promoter

Newton’s Great Promoter

Most people have heard of Sir Isaac Newton, though most are vague on the details of his theories on gravity etc. But his work was written in Latin and they were incredibly complex and hard to comprehend, even by his fellow scientists. But they were understood by French born vicar John Theophilus Desaguliers who devised … Continue reading

Master Percy Praises The Lever Museum

Master Percy Praises The Lever Museum

Eighteenth century England produced a lot of child proteges who were often put on display by their partents and guardians in a way that to modern eyes seems like exploitation, but for families of humble birth could provide a welcome income. Some went on to achieve well deserved success such as the future President of … Continue reading

The Dawn of Air Travel

The Dawn of Air Travel

Forget about the Wright Brothers, the first flight was in England, a beautiful machine called Ariel. This is from a lovely illustrated book on a 19th century family of publishers who are still in business, Ackermann 1783-1983, and is one of the many strange items associated with this printing house: In 1843 Ackerman & Co. published … Continue reading

Domestication of Dogs

Dog were the first animals our ancestors domesticated, and whether in Asia or Europe which perhaps suggests why the details are so unclear, but this article from the i paper last Friday clarifies it: New research suggests  that… two sets of dogs emerging independently from separate wolf populations on opposite sides of the Eurasian landmass. … Continue reading

US Nuclear Bomb System Still on Floppy Disks

This is from last Friday’s i paper. It should strike fear into all of us. Or perhaps it says much about how solid and reliable they are. They may lack volume, but they are a lot harder to hack into or interfere with short of them being physically stolen. If they ain’t broke, don’t fix … Continue reading

Harry Kroto Nobel Prize Chemist

This is from Friday’s i paper. It is hard to imagine modern chemistry without the input of this man and his co-workers. As with so many top scientists, he was also a musician: Sir Harry Kroto, an English chemist who shared the 1996 Nobel Prize or his role in the discovery of the buckyball, a … Continue reading

Alderley Edge

Alderley Edge

The author that first got me interested in landscapes- not just the look, but the feel, the sense of deep history, was Alan Garner. We did his book The Owl Service at school, and from time to time I have dipped into his back catalogue, many of which are allegedly for children, but they are … Continue reading

The Origin of the Mayday Call

Between The Ears: Seelonce, Seelonce :This was a fascinating broadcast on BBC Radio3 by musician Tim van Eyken, dramatist Joseph Wilde and producer Juilan May on the history of the distress call. They began with the origins of distress calls; when the telegraph was invented, they used SOS, the initials of Save Our Souls, but … Continue reading