Welcome to the 32nd edition of the History of Science blog carnival, The Giant’s Shoulders! We had an incredibly large number of entries this month, not all of which could be accommodated, so without further ado let’s get to them! They are roughly sorted by field of study.
Circadian clock without DNA–History and the power of metaphor. Recent papers suggested that the circadian rhythm can operate without genes or even DNA! At Scientific American: Observations, Bora Zivkovic puts this work in its historical context.
The Dodo is Dead, Long Live the Dodo! The extinct Dodo has a reputation to have been an awkward and frumpish bird. But was it really that way, or did we make it that way in our own perceptions? Over at Laelaps, Brian investigates.
The first glimmer of a nuclear Sun: radium and solar energy (1903). It was a long processes by which science came to understand where the Sun’s energy comes from! The first hint came in the early 1900s, when radioactivity was discovered. Right here on this blog, I discuss the first glimmers of understanding.
The Scholar and the Caliph. At physicsworld.com, Jennifer Ouellette gives a delightful fictional account of Ibn al-Haytham’s (965-1040) time as a prisoner in Egypt — and the science that came from it! (account required)
Rutherford’s alchemy solved Atom’s mystery. In the Montreal Gazette, we get a wonderful description of Rutherford’s discovery of the nuclear atom — that led the way to all modern atomic and nuclear physics!
The Guts of Mathematics, Archimedes’ Dog, and the Greaseless Anatomy of Machines. Archimedes life ended famously when a Roman soldier murdered him immediately after the fall of Syracuse. Again at Ptak Science Books, we are treated to some artists’ interpretations of the event.
Mount Etna: Significance in the history of volcanology. What role does Mount Etna play in the history of volcanology? History of geology gives us an explanation.
Video: Four Centuries of Vaccinology, by Stanley A. Plotkin, MD. Here we have a video about the the development of vaccination, starting in the 1700s up through the present; see it at the History of Vaccines.
Bicentenary and padded suit may help revise views of 18th century Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne. Maskelyne is considered a villain of the quest to properly measure longitude on the Earth, but a new exhibit aims to soften his image; posted at guardian.co.uk.
2,100-yr-old Greek coin offers insights into rare astronomical event. Remarkably, an ancient Greek coin may commemorate an unusual astronomical event; the Greek Herald explains.
The Sun is a Star. Stars are tiny points of light that to the naked eye seem completely different from the massive fiery ball that is the Sun. When was the connection made between the two? Feanor at JOST A MON explains.
Mars, a Victorian Sensation. Modern expeditions to the Red Planet seek to discover life in primitive form there. Back in Victorian times, speculation of life first exploded in the popular consciousness, as discussed at Vintage Space.
The Greely Expedition. Arctic expeditions in the 19th century were an extremely dangerous proposition; at Time to Eat the Dogs, we get a detailed discussion of the disastrous Greely expedition, and its impact.
Did Vikings navigate by polarized light? In an intriguing paper recently published, it is suggested that Vikings could navigate even on a cloudy day by the use of polarized light. NatureNews give an explanation of the idea.
How to navigate a Viking longboat with a king, some bees and a DC-8. However, over at AlunSalt a little cold water is thrown on the idea: how much evidence is there that Vikings used such techniques.
Longitude and Lunacy. The quest for a measure of longitude became such an obsession, that it became represented in the popular mind as a sort of madness! At Board of Longitude, the history of this impression is discussed.
How (Not?) to Popularize the History of Science: Tycho Brahe (again) The Philadelphia Center for History of Science uses a Discovery Channel podcast as a case study for the wrong way to discuss the history of science.
Examples of Colossally Bad Ideas–Sterilization, Eugenics and Soviet Racial/Genetic Domination Theory. Over at Ptak Science Books, Ptak takes a look at some nasty Soviet books on eugenics.
Why is water considered ghost-proof? (1884). At this very blog, I look at a curiously-titled paper from 1884 which is simultaneously more and less than it appears…
People of Science
What more do you want? A knighthood? So why didn’t Darwin get knighted? A post at Whewell’s Ghost argues that he got plenty of recognition in his lifetime, thank you very much, and that knighthoods were reserved for very specific duties.
That’s it for this month’s carnival! Next month’s host has yet to be scheduled, but check the carnival website for details.