Questions tagged [ancient]

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13 votes
7 answers
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 ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 247
4 votes
1 answer
188 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 ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
698 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. How far ...
DDS's user avatar
  • 287
3 votes
1 answer
190 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. ...
Matt E.'s user avatar
  • 33
3 votes
0 answers
94 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 ...
EngrStudent's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
346 views

How did Aristotle explain the motion of living things moving by themselves, and falling of objects, with his hypothesis of all motion needing a cause?

Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), a pioneering, iconoclastic, and brilliant ancient Greek philosopher, made the observation in his writings that the long term stable state of objects is at rest, that ...
Ritesh Singh's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
260 views

Ancient Egyptian Mathematicians

Greek and Muslim Egyptian mathematicians are well known throughout the world. But the only Ancient Egyptian mathematician I know of is Ahmes, who said he's just a scribe. Who were the greatest ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
90 views

How do I obtain the first column of Plimpton 322 from the other columns?

How is the first column of plimpton 322 derived from the other columns? Consider the first row of the tablet. The second, $b,$ and third, $ c,$ column are pythagorean triples $(a,b,c)= (120, 119, 169)$...
Chris's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
1 answer
171 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?
Partha Shakkottai's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
78 views

What's the history of the use of crude oil for transportation before the Industrial Revolution?

What's the history of the use of crude oil for transportation before the Industrial Revolution? Wiktionary says the Latin word petroleum, from petra (“rock”) + oleum (“oil”), is medieval Latin, so ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 5,329
1 vote
0 answers
61 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 ...
Addem's user avatar
  • 511
1 vote
0 answers
88 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 ...
The T's user avatar
  • 189
1 vote
0 answers
107 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 ...
Brant's user avatar
  • 155
0 votes
0 answers
36 views

First recorded use of oxymel to treat wounds

What is the first recorded use of a mixure of honey and vinegar to treat wounds? Cato the Elder indicates it was used during Roman times, but it's unclear if this was as a tonic or if it was used to ...
Adrien Hingert's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
77 views

Who made the first (recorded) axiomatic model of nature?

Neil Degrasse Tyson has claimed that, via his Principia, Isaac Newton was the first person (on record) to make a "modern" theory of physics, in the sense that Newton made an axiomatic ...
Daddy Kropotkin's user avatar