Questions tagged [ancient]

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13
votes
7answers
4k views

What are the earliest inventions to store and release energy (e.g. fly wheels)?

I am interested in very early inventions that allowed energy to be stored and released after a delay even it's just a short time. With "invention" I mean a novelty that is the result of ...
2
votes
3answers
105 views

Has anyone explored Ptolemy's epicycles as an early form of Fourier analysis?

Whilst researching science in the ancient world, I came across an observation, which unfortunately I did not make a note of, and so cannot credit, that Ptolemy's epicycles were an early form of ...
1
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0answers
55 views

The earliest origins of science and math

I'd like to have a broad understanding of how various societies in the world developed pre-scientific understanding. There are a lot of resources for ancient Greece. There are even a few for what ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

When Did the Notion of ``Limit'' Arise and for What Purpose?

It is my understanding that Cauchy was the first to incorporate the notion of a ``$\delta\epsilon$ limit in his proofs, although a definition was not formulated until Weierstrass did so. My question ...
1
vote
0answers
84 views

What are some archaeological discoveries from Ancient Civilizations that baffled mathematicians? [closed]

The Ancient Civilizations of Earth are highly advanced than accredited for. Their respect for numerology throughout various parts of Earth is interesting. It baffles me how they did it with such ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

Did knowledge of astronomy spread among Indo-European civilizations in antiquity?

Early civilizations of india, Greece, Babylon, China and Egypt have progressed in astronomy. Is there any shared knowledge among them and if any how can we find out?
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Did Aristotle note that ships disappear over the horizon hull-first?

I have run across several references to Aristotle's arguments for a spherical earth which claim that he noted that ships sink over horizon hull-first. For instance, Isaac Asimov writes in his essay ...
3
votes
0answers
82 views

Oldest example of (intentional) PID control

Background: PID (proportional-integral-derivative) control has been around for a long time. It was in textbooks in the early 1900's. The Routh-Hurwitz stability criterion is from 1895. link ...
1
vote
0answers
85 views

What evidence is there that the Babylonians used the Babylonain method of estimating square roots?

The Babylonian method for computing square roots is described (among other places) in this Wikipedia article. What evidence is there that they actually used this method? I have found several ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How did Ptolemy calculate the distance to the moon?

I've read somewhere that Hipparchus measured the distance to the Moon using the lunar and solar eclipse and obtained a value of around 67.3 Earth radii. It also says that soon after Ptolemy gave a ...
4
votes
1answer
142 views

When and why did the 'spiky star' appear as an image in art and science?

Telescope images of stars look like crosses, although they are point sources of light. Featureless dots. Diffraction along the vanes of the support structure that holds up their secondary mirror is ...
55
votes
3answers
2k views

What is Ptolemy holding in his picture on Wikipedia?

I would like to know the name of the device Ptolemy is holding in his picture
3
votes
1answer
181 views

Which ancient mathematician was opposed to “application” of math?

I seem to recall reading about a mathematician from antiquity whose view was, roughly, that to "apply" math was to do it violence (or indeed, to expedite violence) and so looked down on applications. ...
5
votes
2answers
613 views

When was the diving bell invented?

This question comes from my attempts to give a good answer to the previous question, How was difference in water pressure perceived in ancient cultures or the middle ages? I know from my childhood ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Why did Aristotle make mistakes in his laws of motion?

I was studying Aristotle's laws of motion and comparing them to Newton's. He states that heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones. I really can't understand how he could have committed such a ...