Download Conceptions of Cosmos: From Myths to the Accelerating by Helge Kragh PDF

By Helge Kragh

This publication is a ancient account of the way average philosophers and scientists have endeavoured to appreciate the universe at huge, first in a legendary and later in a systematic context. beginning with the construction tales of historic Egypt and Mesopotamia, the booklet covers the entire significant occasions in theoretical and observational cosmology, from Aristotle's cosmos over the Copernican revolution to the invention of the accelerating universe within the past due Nineties. It provides cosmology as a subject matter together with medical in addition to non-scientific dimensions, and tells the tale of the way it constructed right into a real technology of the heavens. opposite to so much different books within the background of cosmology, it deals an built-in account of the improvement with emphasis at the sleek Einsteinian and post-Einsteinian interval. beginning within the pre-literary period, it consists of the tale onwards to the early years of the twenty first century.

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Additional info for Conceptions of Cosmos: From Myths to the Accelerating Universe: A History of Cosmology

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Although Aristotle held that the Earth was located at the centre of the universe, this was in a geometrical sense only. Contrary to the Pythagoreans, he saw no reason to identify the geometric centre with the true or ‘natural’ centre of the universe, understood in a physical and ontological sense. On the contrary, in De caelo he suggested that this more elevated status belonged to the sphere of the fixed stars, from where motion was transmitted to the interior parts of the world. That which contains is more precious than that which is contained, he wrote.

Heaven has two gates, east and west, for the Sun issues from one and retires into the other. . 53 The Venerable Bede, an English monk living a generation after Isidore, had an impressive mastery of conventional learning. He wrote a work on calendars which enjoyed a high reputation throughout the Middle Ages, and he was also the author of a cosmological treatise, again titled De natura rerum, which to a large degree relied on Pliny. Contrary to some of his predecessors, Bede had no problem with the spherical Earth, and he stated that the Sun was much larger than the Earth (he still stuck to the idea of water above the heaven).

Contrary to most other authors, he drew a sharp distinction between astronomy and astrology, rejecting prognostic astrology as superstition. In a smaller work, De natura rerum, Isidore compiled contemporary knowledge of the Earth and heaven. His Earth was a flat disc, and outside the firmament he assumed a watery heaven in accordance with Genesis. ‘The sphere of heaven is a certain form, spherical in shape,’ he wrote: Its center is the Earth and it is shut in equally on all sides. They say that the sphere has neither beginning nor end; since it is round like a circle its beginning and end cannot readily be seen.

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