Challenging Conventional Wisdom physics AStron

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Published on January 22, 2008

Author: Matild

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Challenging Conventional Wisdom:  Challenging Conventional Wisdom A history of Astronomy and Physics Ancient History:  Ancient History Astronomy is the oldest of the sciences. The seasons became important. In the spring, the Virgo constellation signaled the time to prepare the earth, to plant crops, and to be wary of floods. In the fall, Orion rises to indicate time to harvest and to prepare for winter. The approximate equivalence of the human menstrual cycle and the 30 day orbital period of the Moon which produces lunar phases led to the belief that the heavens, and the Moon in particular, were related to fertility. Ancient History:  Ancient History To early humans facing an uncertain and changeable future, the constancy of the heavens must have suggested perfection and certainly led to deification in many cultures. We may expect that eclipses would have been especially frightening to early humans. After predicting the seasons, eclipse prediction may have been one of the earliest astronomical activities. Ancient History - Stonehenge:  Ancient History - Stonehenge Stonehenge, constructed between 3100-2000 BCE in England. The alignment of the "heelstone" with the rising Sun on Midsummer's Day (June 21, the Summer Solstice) represents a true astronomical alignment, and many other Megalithic sites have similar alignments. History - Chinese:  History - Chinese Eastern observers, notably the Chinese, kept careful track of events in the skies, particularly the appearance of "guest stars" -- comets, novae and other transients. Chinese records of the guest star that we now call Comet Halley can be traced back to 240 BCE and possibly as early as 1059 BCE. History – Greek, 600 BCE:  History – Greek, 600 BCE Pythagoras (~580-500 BCE) :  Pythagoras (~580-500 BCE) He founded a school (some would call it a cult) of natural philosophy and mysticism that attracted many followers. The Pythagoreans lived by a strict regimen including vegetarianism, silence for the first 5 years of membership, and anonymity with respect to personal accomplishments. The Pythagoreans recognized the existence of irrational numbers and were interested in the relationship between music and mathematics. Pythagoras (~580-500 BCE) :  Pythagoras (~580-500 BCE) Pythagoras developments in astronomy built upon those of Anaximander from whom, apparently, came the idea of perfect circular motion. The Pythagoreans believed that the planets were attached to crystalline spheres, one for each planet, which produced the Music of the Spheres. These spheres were centered on the Earth, which was itself in motion. Pythagoras is also credited with recognizing that the "morning star" and "evening star" are both the planet Venus. Aristotle (384-322 BCE):  Aristotle (384-322 BCE) Aristotle was a student of Plato, founding his school, the Lyceum, in Athens about 335 BCE. In Aristotelian cosmology, the "imperfect" Earth was situated at the center of the Universe (Solar System). It was composed of the four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. Aristotle adopted Pythagoras' model of concentric spheres for the planets, but deduced that the Earth must be immobile. Aristotle's Natural Philosophy became the foundation of Church doctrine and University instruction in medieval times. Aristotle’s Universe:  Aristotle’s Universe Ptolemy (~85-165AD):  Ptolemy (~85-165AD) Ptolemy, Alexandrian (Greek) mathematician, geographer, and astronomer, developed the most sophisticated mathematical model of the motions of the Solar System based upon the geocentric (Earth-centered) model and the principle of perfect circular motion. His model was quite complex in order to follow the details of planetary motions, requiring circles (epicycles) upon off centered circular orbits. His major astronomical work is known as The Almagest. Ptolemy (~85-165AD):  Ptolemy (~85-165AD) Ptolemy's Geography remained the principal work in that field until the time of Columbus. These models are Geocentric Here's how epicycles work to produce retrograde motion. Growth in the Church’s Influence:  Growth in the Church’s Influence By 1300 the Catholic Church had consolidated much authority centrally in Europe, including, elections, civic life, international conflicts . . . The Black Death 1347:  The Black Death 1347 Mongol armies catapulted rotting contagious corpses into a Genoese town. Over the next four years plague spread over Europe. ¼ of the European population died; over ½ in some areas. Church becomes more powerful :  Church becomes more powerful Economies are devastated from the Plague People turn to the the Church Inquisitions, Crusades and attacks on non-Catholics; primarily Muslims and Jews Paolo Tosanelli (1397 – 1482):  Paolo Tosanelli (1397 – 1482) Map maker to Columbus, Magellan etc. Showed the earth as round (as a sphere) 1400’s and Science :  1400’s and Science Science, including geometry, trigonometry, and algebra, is widely adopted Copernicus, 1473-1543 (Kopernig):  Copernicus, 1473-1543 (Kopernig) Copernicus studied mathematics and astronomy in Italy, but spent his life as a physician, attorney and church administrator. In 1514, was asked by the Vatican to investigate the inaccurate calendar (365 ¼ days) but was hesitate to refute the popular and sacred notions of the day; geocentricity. A dissention between the Protestants and Catholics made the Church more vigilant about maintaining its teachings. Copernicus declined the Vatican’s request. Copernicus, 1473-1543 (Kopernig):  Copernicus, 1473-1543 (Kopernig) Secretly, Copernicus developed a heliocentric model of the Solar System which retained the notion of perfect circular motion, but placed the Sun at the center and established the proper order of the planets outward from the Sun. He went public in 1530 in an article. Copernicus’ model, a mathematical tour de force, was published in full in De Revolutionibus Orbium Celestium (On the Revulutoins of the Heavenly Spheres aka, The Revolutions) in 1543, the year of his death. Copernicus, 1473-1543:  Copernicus, 1473-1543 The Revolutions helped solve the calendar problem and showed why Potlemy’s theories were wrong. There was a negative reaction from many religious leaders John Clavin, Martin Luther, The Copernican Universe:  The Copernican Universe 410th anniversary of death of C.:  410th anniversary of death of C. Quote by Albert Einstein – 1953 Copernicus not only paved the way to modern astronomy ….. Once it was recognized that the Earth was not the center of the world, but only one of the smallest planets, the illusions of the central significance of man himself became untenable. Hence, Copernicus, through his work and the greatness of his personality, taught man to be humble. Copernicus’ View:  Copernicus’ View http://www.scienceu.com/observatory/articles/retro/images/retro.gif http://vathena.arc.nasa.gov/curric/space/planets/ Tycho Brahe (1546-1601):  Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe is chiefly remembered for his meticulous observations and data, made with instruments of his own design before the advent of the telescope. In 1572 he observed a supernova and in 1577 a comet in his laboratory. Tycho's measurements of planetary positions were different than the ptolemaic model. He developed his own Solar System model in which the Sun orbits the Earth, but the remaining planets orbit the Sun. He passed his observations to Johannes Kepler. These became the basis for Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion. Tycho Brahe (1546-1601):  Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) Brahe was by all accounts an extremely colorful character. He allegedly challenged a fellow student to a duel with swords in a dispute over who was the better mathematician. Brahe's nose was partially cut off, and he was said to wear a gold and silver replacement upon which he would continually rub oil. He fell out of favor when a new King came to power in 1588, and moved to Prague shortly thereafter. This move would eventually make Brahe's data available to Kepler, who went to Prague also to become Brahe's assistant. Brahe is thought to have died when he contracted a urinary infection while attending a banquet hosted by a baron in Prague in which he drank extensively but felt that etiquette prevented him from leaving the table to relieve himself before the host left. Galileo Galileo (1564-1642):  Galileo Galileo (1564-1642) Galileo was the first "modern scientist". He argued that mathematics is the true language of science. He performed many revolutionary experiments in physics. Among his accomplishments in mechanics are: development of the concept of inertia, later refined by Newton. experiments on falling bodies which demonstrated that the acceleration of gravity is independent of mass. There is no evidence that Galileo actually dropped objects from the Tower of Pisa. Rather, his experiments were conducted with an inclined plane as shown in this animation. Slide27:  Was forced to resign from the University of Pisa in 1592. He then moved to Venice. Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600):  Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600) In 1591 he accepted an invitation to live in Venice and was arrested by the Inquisition and tried. After he had recanted, Bruno was sent to Rome, in 1592, for another trial. For eight years he was kept imprisoned. When, in the end, he refused to recant, he was declared a heretic and burned at the stake. Bruno answered the sentence of death by fire with the threatening: "Perhaps you, my judges, pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it.“ There are few records but it is believed that he was killed because of his belief in Copernicus’ teaching and infinity. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642):  Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Using telescopes of his own design and manufacture, Galileo also made many discoveries in astronomy: sunspots on the Sun and craters and mountains on the Moon. The so called "Galilean satellites" which orbit Jupiter -- Io (with the volcanoes), Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. Here's more on Jupiter and her satellites from the Siderius Nuncius and an animation showing what Galileo observed. rings of Saturn. the phases of Venus. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642):  Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Suggested that the heavens were as "imperfect" as the Earth; that other objects in the Solar System have satellites which orbit around them, These observations led him to the conclusion that the Copernican Model Heliocentric model of the Solar System is preferable to the Ptolemaic Model. Published The Starry Messenger in 1610. The Church informed Galileo that they disagreed with his work but didn’t stop him. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642):  Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) In 1613 he wrote, in a letter, that the Bible should be followed for its moral teachings but it does not contain the answers to the mysteries of nature. In 1616 Cardinal Bellarmine decreed the Copernicanism is “false and erroneous” and banned the reading of it In 1620 the Church published its “corrections” to the Copernicus’ The Revolutions”. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642):  Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Galileo published his views in Dialogues Concerning the Two Chief World Systems in 1632. They were in direct contradiction to the world-view taught by the Catholic Church, and he was called before the Italian inquisition in 1633. Galileo was forced to disavow his work, and was sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of of his life. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642):  Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) In 1757 the Church removed Galileo’s work from its lists of banned publications. In 1992 Pope John Paul “the theologians who condemned Galileo did not recognize the formal distinction between the Bible and its interpretation. This led them unduly to transpose into . . . Faith a question which in fact pertained to scientific investigation” Kepler (1571-1630):  Kepler (1571-1630) Kepler came to Prague to work with Tycho Brahe and his observational data. Kepler was a mathematician and mystic, interested primarily in numerical relationships among objects in the Universe. Using Tycho's unprecedentedly accurate observations, he made highly precise calculations of planetary orbits. “Tycho possesses the best observations . . . He only lacks the architect who would put all this to use” Kepler’s Beliefs:  Kepler’s Beliefs Throughout his life, Kepler was a profoundly religious man. All his writings contain numerous references to God, and he saw his work as a fulfillment of his Christian duty to understand the works of God. Kepler was convinced that God had made the Universe according to a mathematical plan. Kepler abandoned plans for ordination. Religious intolerance sharpened in the following years. Kepler was excommunicated in 1612. This caused him much pain, but despite his (by then) relatively high social standing, as Imperial Mathematician, he never succeeded in getting the ban lifted. Bizarre but true:  Bizarre but true While Kepler was working on his Harmony of the World, his mother was charged with witchcraft. He enlisted the help of the legal faculty at Tübingen. Katharina Kepler was eventually released, at least partly as a result of technical objections arising from the authorities' failure to follow the correct legal procedures in the use of torture. Early Kepler - Mysterium cosmographicum 1596:  Early Kepler - Mysterium cosmographicum 1596 If a sphere were drawn to touch the inside of the path of Saturn, and a cube were inscribed in the sphere, then the sphere inscribed in that cube would be the sphere circumscribing the path of Jupiter. Then if a regular tetrahedron were drawn in the sphere inscribing the path of Jupiter, the insphere of the tetrahedron would be the sphere circumscribing the path of Mars, and so inwards, putting the regular dodecahedron between Mars and Earth, the regular icosahedron between Earth and Venus, and the regular octahedron between Venus and Mercury. This explains the number of planets perfectly: there are only five convex regular solids Kepler:  Kepler Kepler (1571-1630):  Kepler (1571-1630) Kepler developed three mathematical rules for the orbits of the planets: The orbits of the planets are ellipses with the Sun at one focus. The planets sweep out equal areas during equal times of the orbit. The square of the orbital period is proportional to the cube of the planet's distance from the Sun. (If you measure the period in Earth years and the distance in Astronomical Units (1 A.U.= the average distance of the Earth from the Sun), then Period2 = Distance 3.) Kepler (1571-1630):  Kepler (1571-1630) Here's a page with some nice animations of Kepler's Rules, and here is another way to play with them. Obviously Kepler's Rules require that the Sun be the center of the Solar System (Heliocentric), in contradiction with the Aristotilean / Ptolemaic models. The first rule eliminates the circular motion. The second replaces the idea that planets move at uniform speed around their orbits. The third rule is a forerunner of the Law of Gravitation which would be developed by Newton in the latter part of the 17th century (1600’s). Kepler :  Kepler Isaac Newton (1642-1727):  Isaac Newton (1642-1727) Did much of his work at home during the plague years of 1665 and 1666 Laws of motion Invented calculus Made advances in optics Isaac Newton (1642-1727):  Isaac Newton (1642-1727) Certainly the greatest classical Physicist, Newton developed the science of mechanics as we know it. His first development was his Laws of Motion. In order to perform mechanical calculations and to understand Gravity, Newton invented a mathematical tool now known as calculus. At the urging of Edmund Halley, Newton published his Laws of Motion and analysis of Gravity in the Principia Mathematica, probably the greatest physics text ever written, in 1687. Newton’s Laws (1642-1727):  Newton’s Laws (1642-1727) Newton's First Law -- Inertia Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. Newton's Second Law -- F = ma This is the most powerful of Newton's three Laws, because it allows quantitative calculations of dynamics: how do velocities change when forces are applied. Mass is the measure of the inertia of the body - how hard it is to get the body moving (grams). Force is the outside influence Acceleration is the change in motion; this can be speeding up, slowing down, or changing direction (cm/s2) Newton’s Laws:  Newton’s Laws Newton's Third Law -- Action & Reaction For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When body A exerts a force on body B, body B exerts an equal and opposite force on body A. FA B = - F BA Often stated as the Law of Action and Reaction, the Third Law is responsible for Conservation of Momentum and is the Principle that makes Rocket Flight possible. Sources:  Sources University of California, San Diego, Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences, Gene Smith's Astronomy Tutorial, A Brief History of Astronomy http://cassfos02.ucsd.edu/public/tutorial/History.html The Science Class You Wish You Had by David Brody and Arnold Brody http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/index.html Sources:  Sources The Galileo Project Kepler’s Laws http://home.cvc.org/science/kepler.htm Knowledgeweb http://www.k-web.org/ http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/phys240/lectures/solar_sys/solar_sys.html

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