Questions tagged [17th-century]

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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 ...
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3 votes
0 answers
87 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 ...
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4 votes
3 answers
170 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 ...
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18 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
116 views

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

Here is a fragment from Anders Hald's A History of Probability and Statistics and Their Applications before 1750: The original meaning of statistics is thus a collection of facts of interest to a ...
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7 votes
2 answers
228 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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
125 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? ...
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0 votes
0 answers
77 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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
161 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
166 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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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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?...
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3 votes
2 answers
382 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 ...
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2 votes
0 answers
239 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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
538 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
811 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 ...
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8 votes
2 answers
287 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 ...
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19 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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2 votes
0 answers
899 views

Was Kepler aware of the following golden relationship between the planets?

Was Kepler aware that Venus and Mars have a golden section relationship other than that he attributed to them in his 5 perfect solids model of the Solar System? The dodecahedron and the icosahedron, ...
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8 votes
1 answer
281 views

What was the reaction to Kepler's *Somnium* when it was published?

Kepler's Somnium ("The Dream") is a work of fiction that is sometimes regarded as the first example of science fiction (e.g. by Carl Sagan). In it, Kepler describes a journey to the Moon and various ...
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19 votes
2 answers
449 views

What data did Kepler work out his laws from?

It's well known that Kepler worked out his laws by fitting curves to Tycho Brahe's data on the trajectories of planets through the sky. What was this data? How does one record the trajectory of a ...
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  • 3,029
10 votes
1 answer
339 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 ...
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71 votes
3 answers
11k 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 ...
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