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Ancient scientific knowledge

Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
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1/11/2016 3:44:47 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
As is commonly known, ancient science got many things right and many other things wrong. Some commonly known examples of things ancient scientists believed include the belief that the earth is spherical (true) and that all matter can be divided into just four fundamental elements of air, fire, water, and aether (false).

However, there are also some lesser known examples. For instance, although the belief in a spherical earth was common among the greeks, these same scientists were also aware that temperature decreased as one traveled north and increased to the south. This is unremarkable on its own, but what is interesting is that it was falsely concluded that temperatures near the equator rose so high as to be unable to support human life, and that any who traveled that far south would instantly be burned alive by the heat. Of course they also believed that traveling too far north one would reach temperatures too cold for human life, but they were correct about that.

If anyone else has some little-known piece of ancient scientific knowledge, whether it is true or false, feel free to share below. I will be giving some more over the next few days until I run out of ideas. It does not have to be the greeks either, I just happened to use them for these examples because I like greeks and happen to know a bit about them. I will be using them for the next few examples I give as well (assuming nobody uses the ones I have planned =D)
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
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1/13/2016 4:54:37 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
First, an edit to my first post. I forgot to mention the fundamental element 'earth'. So they believed in five fundamental elements. I said four. My bad.

Next, it seems this is not going to be a popular topic. 2 days with no replies. I shall have to try something else...
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
v3nesl
Posts: 4,489
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1/13/2016 7:18:40 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/13/2016 4:54:37 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
First, an edit to my first post. I forgot to mention the fundamental element 'earth'. So they believed in five fundamental elements. I said four. My bad.

Next, it seems this is not going to be a popular topic. 2 days with no replies. I shall have to try something else...

This maybe isn't science exactly, but ancient babylonian geometry. Way before Pythagoras: https://math.berkeley.edu...
This space for rent.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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1/13/2016 10:26:40 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/13/2016 4:54:37 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
First, an edit to my first post. I forgot to mention the fundamental element 'earth'. So they believed in five fundamental elements. I said four. My bad.

Next, it seems this is not going to be a popular topic. 2 days with no replies. I shall have to try something else...

The four elements were earth, air, fire, and water. Aether was something used to describe something that fit none of those categories. It was essentially the ex machine for most thing related to energy for primitives.
RainbowDash52
Posts: 294
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1/14/2016 2:55:16 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/13/2016 10:26:40 PM, dhardage wrote:
At 1/13/2016 4:54:37 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
First, an edit to my first post. I forgot to mention the fundamental element 'earth'. So they believed in five fundamental elements. I said four. My bad.

Next, it seems this is not going to be a popular topic. 2 days with no replies. I shall have to try something else...

The four elements were earth, air, fire, and water. Aether was something used to describe something that fit none of those categories. It was essentially the ex machine for most thing related to energy for primitives.

Also the four elements earth, air, fire, and water correspond with the four states of matter, solid, gas, plasma, and liquid. And since all matter is made up of those 4 states of matter, you could consider the four elements theory as correct depending on your interpretation.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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1/14/2016 2:25:48 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/14/2016 2:55:16 AM, RainbowDash52 wrote:
At 1/13/2016 10:26:40 PM, dhardage wrote:
At 1/13/2016 4:54:37 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
First, an edit to my first post. I forgot to mention the fundamental element 'earth'. So they believed in five fundamental elements. I said four. My bad.

Next, it seems this is not going to be a popular topic. 2 days with no replies. I shall have to try something else...

The four elements were earth, air, fire, and water. Aether was something used to describe something that fit none of those categories. It was essentially the ex machine for most thing related to energy for primitives.

Also the four elements earth, air, fire, and water correspond with the four states of matter, solid, gas, plasma, and liquid. And since all matter is made up of those 4 states of matter, you could consider the four elements theory as correct depending on your interpretation.

Unfortunately that is only an ad hoc attempt to shoehorn ancient superstition into current understanding. You must utilize the mindset of the people of the time in order to accurately understand how they viewed things. They had no idea what 'plamsa' was, let alone understanding about the other three general states of matter. As for the four elements, they were what people saw and could touch and feel. The could not even conceive the structure of the atom or anything else that modern physics and chemistry taught us. Your 'interpretation' is based on that knowledge, not what was extant at the time and is therefore not valid.
Geogeer
Posts: 4,261
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1/14/2016 4:42:39 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/11/2016 3:44:47 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
As is commonly known, ancient science got many things right and many other things wrong. Some commonly known examples of things ancient scientists believed include the belief that the earth is spherical (true) and that all matter can be divided into just four fundamental elements of air, fire, water, and aether (false).

However, there are also some lesser known examples. For instance, although the belief in a spherical earth was common among the greeks, these same scientists were also aware that temperature decreased as one traveled north and increased to the south. This is unremarkable on its own, but what is interesting is that it was falsely concluded that temperatures near the equator rose so high as to be unable to support human life, and that any who traveled that far south would instantly be burned alive by the heat. Of course they also believed that traveling too far north one would reach temperatures too cold for human life, but they were correct about that.

If anyone else has some little-known piece of ancient scientific knowledge, whether it is true or false, feel free to share below. I will be giving some more over the next few days until I run out of ideas. It does not have to be the greeks either, I just happened to use them for these examples because I like greeks and happen to know a bit about them. I will be using them for the next few examples I give as well (assuming nobody uses the ones I have planned =D)

Well not so ancient, but Lord Kelvin calculated the earth was only about 20 million years old based on heat loss models from an initial molten state. The latter knowledge of radioactivity dispelled all of his arguments.
Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
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1/14/2016 5:56:17 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/14/2016 2:55:16 AM, RainbowDash52 wrote:
Also the four elements earth, air, fire, and water correspond with the four states of matter, solid, gas, plasma, and liquid. And since all matter is made up of those 4 states of matter, you could consider the four elements theory as correct depending on your interpretation.

I see what you mean, but that isn't exactly the case. Different elements were not only distinguished by the state of matter, different elements were also thought to have been affected by gravity in different ways. For example, 'earth matter' was attracted 'by its nature' towards the center of the universe (I.e., the center of earth) while 'fire matter' was repulsed from the center of the universe. 'Water matter' and 'air matter' wwere each attracted to different 'planes' in between those first two extremes (what modern day science would refer to as the hydrosphere and atmosphere, respectively.)
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
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1/14/2016 5:58:14 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/13/2016 7:18:40 PM, v3nesl wrote:
At 1/13/2016 4:54:37 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
First, an edit to my first post. I forgot to mention the fundamental element 'earth'. So they believed in five fundamental elements. I said four. My bad.

Next, it seems this is not going to be a popular topic. 2 days with no replies. I shall have to try something else...

This maybe isn't science exactly, but ancient babylonian geometry. Way before Pythagoras: https://math.berkeley.edu...

Yes, certainly more math than science but still precicely the type of thing I was hoping for. Thank you.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
pankaj554
Posts: 23
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1/22/2016 9:08:10 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
History of science usually give us some interesting information not only about the life and work of naturalists, but also quite specific and unique data about their investigations, collections, specimens, etc. is known as Ancient scientific Knowledge.
Otokage
Posts: 2,347
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1/22/2016 8:59:53 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/11/2016 3:44:47 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
As is commonly known, ancient science got many things right and many other things wrong. Some commonly known examples of things ancient scientists believed include the belief that the earth is spherical (true) and that all matter can be divided into just four fundamental elements of air, fire, water, and aether (false).

However, there are also some lesser known examples. For instance, although the belief in a spherical earth was common among the greeks, these same scientists were also aware that temperature decreased as one traveled north and increased to the south. This is unremarkable on its own, but what is interesting is that it was falsely concluded that temperatures near the equator rose so high as to be unable to support human life, and that any who traveled that far south would instantly be burned alive by the heat. Of course they also believed that traveling too far north one would reach temperatures too cold for human life, but they were correct about that.

If anyone else has some little-known piece of ancient scientific knowledge, whether it is true or false, feel free to share below. I will be giving some more over the next few days until I run out of ideas. It does not have to be the greeks either, I just happened to use them for these examples because I like greeks and happen to know a bit about them. I will be using them for the next few examples I give as well (assuming nobody uses the ones I have planned =D)

Sure. Anaximander believed humans came from other species and that life originated on the sea. Take that Darwin....
Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
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1/23/2016 7:43:06 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/22/2016 8:59:53 PM, Otokage wrote:
Sure. Anaximander believed humans came from other species and that life originated on the sea. Take that Darwin....

Didn't know that one. Thank you.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
famousdebater
Posts: 3,941
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3/13/2016 1:11:19 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 1/22/2016 9:08:10 AM, pankaj554 wrote:
History of science usually give us some interesting information not only about the life and work of naturalists, but also quite specific and unique data about their investigations, collections, specimens, etc. is known as Ancient scientific Knowledge.

For example?
"Life calls the tune, we dance."
John Galsworthy
Stronn
Posts: 318
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3/13/2016 4:01:29 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/13/2016 1:11:19 AM, famousdebater wrote:
At 1/22/2016 9:08:10 AM, pankaj554 wrote:
History of science usually give us some interesting information not only about the life and work of naturalists, but also quite specific and unique data about their investigations, collections, specimens, etc. is known as Ancient scientific Knowledge.

For example?

A good example is Newton's notebooks, many of which are kept at Cambridge University. In them, we can glimpse his thought process as he invented calculus and worked out the laws of motion and gravity.