Questions tagged [17th-century]

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8
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1answer
135 views

Who was buying prisms in 1665?

In his recollections Newton describes how he made his greatest discovery: In August 1665, Sir I., who was not then not 24 brought at Sturbridge fair a Prism to try some experiments upon Descartes's ...
3
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0answers
82 views

Did a boat full of Louis XIV's Jesuits and some Siamese dignitaries plan on seeing a solar eclipse on May 17, 1687

The interesting Cosmic Elk article Eclipses in Siam (now Thailand) History and Legends says: While the Siamese ambassadors and their entourage were visiting ship yards and armouries and making ...
4
votes
3answers
154 views

Could 17th century astronomers in the Netherlands predict solar eclipses a few months in advance?

In the 17th century Netherlands, could the astronomers, or sailors trained in stellar navigation, predict either total or partial (at least 40% obscured) solar eclipses over the the town of Aardenburg ...
18
votes
1answer
3k views

Is the story about Fermat's writing on a margin true?

Is there any evidence that Fermat wrote on the margin of a book "I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition that this margin is too narrow to contain." Everyone ...
2
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0answers
79 views

Where was statistics taught in the 17th and 18th centuries?

Here is a fragment from Anders Hald's book. The original meaning of statistics is thus a collection of facts of interest to a statesman. Statistics was used in this sense in Italy in the 16th century,...
7
votes
2answers
208 views

Who was “Urbino d'Aviso” that described how to fold paper into a pentagon?

I have found this in David Wells' "Curious and Interesting Puzzles" (1992), Penguin books, page 36: "The next problem occurs first in Urbino d'Aviso's treatise on the sphere (1682): A ...
4
votes
1answer
101 views

What was the first “scientific”, non-photographic depiction of Earth as seen from outside of Earth?

For a long time now, I've been thinking about this: when was the first painting, illustration or depiction of any kind where our planet Earth is seen as a sphere in space? Possibly even from the Moon? ...
0
votes
0answers
64 views

How was the term speed treated in the 16th and 17th centuries?

What did people in the 16th and 17th centuries mean by the term speed? Did they have $$\text{speed} = \frac{ \text{distance} }{ \text{time} }$$ back then? Or did they have some other notion of speed ...
1
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0answers
146 views

How did Kepler know that orbits are elliptical?

Suppose I was living in his time. How would Kepler explain that the orbits are elliptical? Since none of his 3 laws explain why orbits are elliptical, I assume he must have had other reasons to ...
2
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1answer
150 views

Did Kepler influence Fermat?

On page 347 in his "Mathematical Thought, volume 1", Morris Kline writes: "The work on the third class of problems, finding the maxima and minima of functions, may be said to begin with an ...
5
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1answer
74 views

Kepler's position with respect to Tycho Brahe's world system?

When Kepler was an assistant of Tycho Brahe, did Kepler in public declare his support for Copernicus' system or Brahe's system (the earth at rest, but the planets orbiting the sun) or was he undecided?...
3
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2answers
352 views

What was Galileo's opinion of Kepler's work?

They were contemporaries. Kepler lived from 1571 to 1630, and Galileo lived from 1564 to 1642. The former's life span was contained in that of the latter. So, did Galileo hear of Kepler's work and ...
2
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0answers
223 views

Is it true that Johannes Kepler thought that the earth was hollow?

I was researching a little about the hollow earth theory, I know that many Scientist's back up this theory, namely Euler and Edmond Halley. I would like to know what was the theory that Johannes ...
3
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2answers
475 views

Was “Kepler's third law” deduced from the Galilean moons, or from planetary motion?

I have read that Galileo was able to start observing the four large satellites of Jupiter in 1610. Did he ever attempt to estimate the relative sizes of the four orbits, and their periods? I made a ...
7
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1answer
714 views

How did artillery and physics co-evolve during 1400-1700?

Artillery was established in Europe around the year 1400. But physics, the mathematical and systematical description of how objects fall, the foundation of engine construction, didn't dawn until about ...
8
votes
2answers
249 views

How did Kepler infer three-dimensional positions from Tycho Brahe's data?

This has bugged me for some time. Tycho Brahe's data on planetary observations, presumably, consisted of the direction in which a planet was observed at a given date and time, but not the distance to ...
18
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3answers
2k views

How did Kepler “guess” his third law from data?

It is amazing that Kepler determined his three laws by looking at data, without a calculator and using only pen and paper. It is conceivable how he proved his laws described the data after he had ...
10
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1answer
310 views

Why did 92% of cases of simultaneous discovery in the 17th century end in dispute?

I read on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_publishing : One of the earliest research journals is the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, created in the 17th century. At that ...
67
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3answers
9k views

What evidence is there that Fermat had a proof for his Last Theorem?

Aside from the fact that Fermat was a genius, is it probable that he actually did have a proof? Some specifics that I think would point one way or another: Would the mathematics of his day allow him ...