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lecture5_ch3 - The Birth of Modern Science A quick overview...

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1 The Birth of Modern Science A quick overview of ancient civilizations and their astronomy Ancient people of central Africa (6500 BC) could predict seasons from orientation of crescent Moon Days of week named for Sun, Moon, and visible planets France: Cave paintings from 18,000 B.C. indicate knowledge of lunar phases (29 dots) England: Stonehenge (1550 B.C.) North
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2 Yucatan, Mexico: Mayan structure at Chichen Itza Mayans predicted eclipses, used “zero” (math) SW United States: “Sun Dagger” marks summer solstice Accomplishments Time-keeping and standards • Navigation Predicting seasons Predicting eclipses Why does modern science trace its roots to the Greeks? Our mathematical and scientific heritage originated with the civilizations of the Middle East Greeks were the first people known to make models of nature They tried to explain the patterns in nature without resorting to myths and supernatural explanations
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3 Some Greek achievements were very impressive -- Eratosthenes accurately measured size of Earth Greek philosophers believed Earth to be at the center of the universe Gravity was thought to pull all matter to the center of the universe Heavens were perfect: unchanging spheres, perfect circles. Aristotle ʼ s writings on this subject remained influential for nearly 2,000 years Plato Aristotle Ideas are more important than observations Happiness is a perfect circle … How did the Greeks explain planetary motion? Recall: retrograde motion Over a period of 10 weeks, Mars appears to stop, back up, then go forward again.
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