In From Clockwork to Crapshoot, Roger Newton, whose previous works have been widely praised for erudition and accessibility, presents a. From Clockwork to Crapshoot provides the perspective needed to understand contemporary developments in physics in relation to philosophical traditions as far. From Clockwork to Crapshoot: A History of Physics. Roger G. Newton, Author. Harvard/Belknap $ (p) ISBN

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The Greek Miracle 37 garded as the founder. The greatest crapehoot of the era, Diophantus, who probably flourished during the late third century, made important contributions to number theory, algebra, and the theory of equations one kind of which still bears his name.

From Clockwork to Crapshoot

At the same time, Islamic Persia produced a great mathematician and scientist, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi —histoory wrote in both Persian and Arabic and for many years served as astrologer to Hulagu Khan, the Mongol chief who sacked Baghdad in No eBook available Amazon.

Later Greek sources as well as Egyptian documents going back to the fourth millennium show that the practice of medicine, in both Babylonia and Egypt, was extremely specialized, with different specialists for each part of the body and each disease. What made the ideas of Copernicus revolutionary was not simply the suggestion of a heliocentric rather than a geocentric solar system; such proposals had been made, and forgotten, several times in antiquity.

Ptolemy, or Claudius Ptolemaeus, was of course the famous Egyptian astronomer, astrologer, histtory philosopher of the second century ce whose model of the solar system exerted an enormous influence on European science—and even religion—for many centuries to come.

One of the few original contributors to the propagation of classical thought was the Epicurean poet Titus Lucretius Carus, who probably lived from 99 to 44 bce. Several different models of the solar system and the cosmos were put forward, but the one closest to the modern view, the heliocentric model of Aristarchus, was generally ignored in favor of a complicated geocentric construction by Ptolemy. In order to account for his vast set of assembled precise data with a minimum of hypotheses, he stuck to the traditional view of the earth at the center of the universe.

The quintessentially Greek pphysics of an airtight logical proof of a theorem turned out to be of seminal importance not only to assure correctness of results, but also for the further progress of mathematics.


From Clockwork to Crapshoot — Roger G. Newton | Harvard University Press

The secrecy of the Pythagorean religion prevented many of its details, as well as those in the life of Pythagoras himself, from being known. By far the earliest record of its kind, it dates from the seventeenth century bce, and archeologists have unearthed nothing like it from the next thousand years.

Kilmister – – Cambridge University Press. On November 11,he suddenly saw a new star in the constellation of Cassiopeia, brighter than Venus, which, by careful observation, crapshot ascertained to be beyond the distance of the moon. When the subject of medicine failed to hold much interest for him, he began to take private lessons in Aristotelian physics and in mathematics, particularly devoting himself to Euclid and Archimedes.

Archimedes later credited Democritus with the hpysics that the volumes of a cone and a pyramid are one third of those of a cylinder and prism, respectively, of the same base and height, though exactly how he discovered this fact, later proved by Eudoxos, is not known. Developments in mathematics take up space that could have been clokwork to the nooks and crannies.

Newton writes well enough for general readers, but they would be advised to leave that space on their shelf for a more comprehensive overview of the field.

His treatises on astronomy contained, among other clockdork, detailed criticisms of the Ptolemaic system and ingenious attempts histoyr simplify the complicated machinery of the Almagest, though without conspicuous success. He was therefore the first real scientist, and his influence on later Greek cgapshoot was profound.

This statement seems so obvious that almost everyone will accept it and may see no need even to mention it explicitly. Again, the comforting beauty of uniform motion in the heavens was abandoned.

Perhaps because of this association, he adopted the very unusual habit of writing many of his works in French rather than Latin, thereby introducing a number of previously unknown scientific terms into the French language.

The solar system, as presented by Copernicus, represented for Kepler a pure symbolic image of the Trinity, oc he would give up theology and spend his life substantiating all its glorious perfection. In a certain sense, How?

The controversy over the reality of crapsboot heliocentric versus the geocentric solar system that generated so much heat in Christian Europe left Muslims cold.


The work of Copernicus and Kepler effectively freed European astronomy from the powerful influence of Aristotle and pointed in the direction of explaining the functioning of the heavens by the same physical laws that governed the motions of objects on earth, transforming the regular celestial movements into a clocklike machinery.

At the threshold of the sixteenth century, two more mathematicians of some importance made an appearance.

From Clockwork to Crapshoot: A History of Physics – Roger G Newton – Google Books

The subject matter of their instructions tended to be quite broad, including as much science and mathematics—which was usually relatively elementary—as they could find in the classical Latin literature and in Latin translations of Arabic treatises imported via Spain. Pythagoras had explained vision in terms of particles emitted by the seen object, and others had explained clockwokr by postulating that the eye emitted rays that felt the object.

For him, the rays emitted by the eye met the emanations from a body. Jerome, who disliked him because of his anti-religious views. Son of the astronomer Pheidias, Archimedes was born in bce in the Greek outpost of Syracuse on the Carthaginian-dominated island of Sicily, but also spent some time in Alexandria, then the center of the scientific world. As we now know, the motion is caused by a precession of the axis 8 From Clockwork to Crapshoot of rotation of the Earth, so that the inclination of this axis with respect to the ecliptic wobbles with a period of about 26, years.

But he still had not been able to bring himself to accept the idea of the sun at the center as a reality, and in a step backward from Copernicus, he had devised his own configuration, in which the sun orbited a stationary earth and the planets revolved about the sun. Bruno came to believe that he was reviving the religion of ancient Egypt, with magical insights into nature that enabled him to understand the Copernican system better than Copernicus himself.