TOPIC05 _-_Greek_Legacy

TOPIC05 _-_Greek_Legacy - TOPIC 5 ANCIENT GREEK SCIENCE 500...

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TOPIC 5: ANCIENT GREEK SCIENCE - 500 YEARS LATER Development of the first real scientific paradigms
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The Greek World After Aristotle Aristotle died in (322 BC). By that time, Alexander the Great had conquered the Greek and Persian World to form one great empire. Upon his death (323 BC), the empire broke up into several kingdoms under the control of Alexander’s generals or relatives. The Greek City States were all under the power of regional kings, yet they maintained local autonomy so that democratic institutions that fostered an interest in philosophy and education did not die. This Helenistic world with kindred rulers broke down many of the societal and political barriers that were present before. This permitted many of the Greek philosophical ideas to be spread to the Middle East and Egypt.
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Greek Centers of Learning Lyceum of Athens - still the foremost teaching academy for more than 200 years after Aristotle. Later heads of the Lyceum included Strato and Theophrastus. Alexandria also became an important center because of two non-teaching institutions: Library of Alexandria Museum of Alexandria The Library and Museum were places where scholars worked and sometimes lived together (some common meals). But, these were not primarily teaching institutions, but rather the first real research institutions.
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The Nature of Matter at the Time of Aristotle All matter on Earth is composed of varying proportions of four elements - fire, water, air, earth. All matter can be transmuted from one form to another. The heavens (stars and planets) are composed of one element, aether, which is eternal and unchanging. No void (space absent of matter); matter in the universe is continuous.
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Strato (290 BC) on Air Strato used actual experiments to deduce that air has substance (is matter). ‘If an empty vessel is inverted and pressed into water, the air (in the vessel) does not allow the water to enter. But, if a hole is bored into the bottom of the vessel and the test repeated, the water will enter as the air escapes through the hole.’
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Strato (290 BC) on the Void Strato also addressed the issue of whether air is a continuous material or composed of small pieces (atoms?!) with intervening void (vacua). He stated ‘Those who assert that there is no vacuum are satisfied with inventing many arguments for this and perhaps seeming plausible with their theory in the absense of sensible proof. If, however, by referring to the appearances and to what is accessible to sensation , it is shown that there is a continuous vacuum, but only one produced contrary to nature; that there is a natural vacuum, but one scattered in tiny quantities; and that bodies fill up these scattered vacua by compression; then those who put forward plausible arguments on these matters will no longer have any loop holes.’
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Strato’sVacuum Experiments Prepare a tightly sealed sphere of metal plate so as not to be easily crushed containing about 8 cotylae (~2 liters). Pierce a hole in it
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2008 for the course GEOL 130Lxg taught by Professor 09:30-10:50 during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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TOPIC05 _-_Greek_Legacy - TOPIC 5 ANCIENT GREEK SCIENCE 500...

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