Almagest: Issues

Almagest: Vol. I, Issue 1

Table of Contents


Konstantinos Chatzis et Georgia Mavrogonatou, "Eaux de Paris, eaux d'Athènes, 1830-1930 : histoires croisées d'un réseau urbain"
Ivan Tchalakov, "Control, more control: Studying practical forms of scientific rationality in a Bulgarian holographic laboratory"
Sevtap Kadıoğlu, "Emigrant scientists in Ankara High Institute of Agriculture"
Polyxeni Giannakopoulou, "Women and science: popularizing natural sciences in the 19th c. Greek periodicals"
Eftichis Papadopetrakis and Vaios Argyrakis, "The demonstration of the corporeity of air in Heron’s Pneumatics: a methodological breakthrough in experimentation"


Roger Hahn, "Laplace’s private religious discomfort"
Gianna Katsiampoura, "Faith or knowledge? Normative relations between religion and science in Byzantine textbooks"
George N. Vlahakis, "Philosophy is the knowledge of things Divine and Human. Exploring the Divine Logos in the milieu of Science during the Greek 18th century"

Almagest: Vol. I, Issue 2

I. Science and Technology in the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans

Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Foreword
Attila Bir and Mustafa Kaçar, Evolution, Functioning and Capacity of the Mediterranean Windmills
Salim Ayduz, The Ottoman Royal Cannon Foundry: “Tohpane-I Amire”
Sevtap Kadioglu, Şemseddin Sami’s Treatise of Astronomy Gök (Sky): An Effort towards the Formation of Turkish Scientific Language and Popularizing Science
Tuncay Zorlu, Tracing technology through terminology: Ottoman nautical terminology as attested in the 18th century archival sources
Kyriakos Kyriakou, Constantine Skordoulis and Constantine Tampakis , The Reception of Ernest Haeckel’s Ideas in Greece

II. Varia

Huang Huang and Ying Qin, A new perspective on ancient technique communication of cosmetics between the east and the west, based on the analysis of Chinese cosmetics--"Hu" powder
Catherine Karela, Hilbert on different notions of completeness: a conceptual and historical analysis
Raffaele Pisano, On Principles In Sadi Carnot’s Thermodynamics (1824). Epistemological Reflections

III. Book Reviews

By Djordje Djuric
Aleksandar Petrovic, and Eduard I. Kolchinsky (eds.), A Distant Accord - Russian-Serbian Links in the Fields of Science, Humanities and Education: the 19th – the first half of the 20th century, Kragujevac – St. Petersburg 2010: Research Center of the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, and St. Petersburg branch of the Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences

By Constantine Tampakis
Yiannis Antoniou, Οι Έλληνες Μηχανικοί : Θεσμοί και ιδέες 1900-1940 (The Greek engineers: Institutions and ideas 1900-1940), Athens: Vivliorama, 2006, 442 p. + 74 images.

By Efthymios Nicolaidis
Robert Fox, Bernard Joly (eds), Échanges franco-britanniques entre savants depuis le XVIIe siècle – Franco-British interactions in science since the seventeenth century, Cahiers de logique et d’épistémologie, 7, London: College publications, 2010.

Almagest: Vol. II, Issue 1

Table of Contents, 2/1 (May 2011)

E. Kolchinsky
History of science in Russia in the 20th century Russia: St. Petersburg as a case study

E. Knobloch
The notion of mathematics – An historico-epistemological approach using Kaspar Schott’s Encyclopedia of all mathematical sciences.

G. Cornelis
Against Chronological and Impersonal Accounts of the History of Science. Towards non-linear didactics.

J.A. Roberts
Louis Agassiz on Scientific Method, Polygenism, and Transmutation: A Reassessment.

M. Vergara
The Popularization of Science and the Idea of Territory in the Brazilian First Republic: the José Veríssimo Phase of the Revista Brasileira (1895-1900).

Almagest: Vol. II, Issue 2

Vincent Jullien
Le calcul logique de Roberval

Vaios Argyrakis
The clepsydra experiment, clepsyda’s functioning and the related devices in Heron’s Pneumatics

Sevtap Kadioglu and Gaye Sahinbas Erginöz
An emigrant scientist in Istanbul University: Richard Martin Edler von Mises (1883-1953)

Piedad Yuste
Ancient Geometry: Thinking about how to measure the circle

Maria Terdimou
Mathematics, Greek trade and technology during the period of the Ottoman rule: three mutually connected sectors

Kostas Tampakis
The iunrecognized mechanism: History of science education in the 19th century

Gianna Katsiampoura
the Byzantine sciences in the first modern Greek history of science textbook: Michael Stephanides, Introduction to the history of natural sciences.

Book reviews

Almagest: Vol. III, Issue 1

Table of Contents, Almagest 3.1, May 2012

Edward J. Larson, Ronald L. Numbers
Creation, Evolution, and the Boundaries of Science:
The Debate in the United States

Albrecht Heeffer
The Genesis of the Algebra Textbook:
From Pacioli to Euler

ThomasDe Vittori
History in mathematics teaching:
current problems and new proposals

Laurent Mazliak
Study of a Trajectory:
Kiril Popoff, wars, and ballistics

Silvia F. de M. Figueirôa
A sample of geological textbooks:
the book História Física da Terra (1943) by Alberto Betim Paes Leme

Almagest: Vol. III, Issue 2

Table of Contents, Almagest 3.2, November 2012

Alexey V. Postnikov
George Bogle, the first British envoy to Bhutan and Tibet (1774-1775): the importance of his mission for his contemporaries and subsequent participants of the Great Game in Asia

Anne-Laurence Caudano
An Astrological Handbook from the Reign of Manuel I Komnenos

Erica Torrens & Ana Barahona
The ‘Tree of Life’ in textbooks and museums

Daniel Špelda
Anachronisms in the history of science: An attempt at a typology

Jasper Doomen
Understanding and Explaining

Book Reviews

Almagest: Vol. IV, Issue 1

Table of contents and abstracts, Almagest 4-1, May 2013

Michela Malpangotto
La critique de l’univers de Peurbach développée par Albert de Brudzewo a-t-elle influencé Copernic ? Un nouveau regard sur les réflexions astronomiques au XVe siècle.

Abstract: In 1454 Georg Peurbach teaches astronomy at the Collegium Civium in Wien by reading a work of his own: the Theoricae novae planetarum. Intended to replace the old Theorica planetarum communis which had dominated the mediaeval culture, this new book is very soon adopted in the major universities of Europe and enjoys a broad diffusion being published, studied and taught up to the middle of the seventeenth century.
Among the numerous commentaries which have been preserved –both in manuscript and printed form– the tradition of the Cracow University, started by Albert of Brudzewo, distinguishes itself because it submit Peurbach’s contribution to a subtle critique which, while recognizing the merits to which its large acceptance is due, focuses also its limits. In the name of the reality of the celestial world, Brudzewo critiques the presence, in the universe of the Theoricae, of abstract entities like the equant and the mean apogee, to which the uniformity of the movements must be referred according to an active interaction with the “real” orbs. In the name of the celestial perfection, he grasps the weaknesses and incoherences of Peurbach’s universe and arrives, ultimately, to question this point of view which acts as the mean between the real celestial world and the way it appear to an observer. In this paper, I will try to show that what was strongly supported by Brudzewo as a requirement which must be respected –i.e. the perfect uniformity and circularity of celestial movements– becomes, in Copernicus, the reason to research an alternative solution: “a more reasonable model composed of circles from which every apparent irregularity would follow while everything in itself moved uniformly, just as the principle of perfect motion requires”. So, the better known among the students of the Cracow school proves that it is not only possible, but even necessary to make astronomy from a new point of view.

Noël Golvers
A note on the ‘machine of Roemer’ in late-17th century China, Antoine Thomas, SJ, and the first contacts of Ferdinand Verbiest, SJ, with the Jesuits in Paris (11/02.2013).

Abstract: This contribution focuses on a detail of Jesuit astronomy (especially eclipse observation) in China, viz. the introduction of new instruments such as the “machine de Roemer”: arguments are offered to prove that its introduction in China is not to be attributed to the “mathématiciens du Roy” (arr. in 1688), as it was apparently known to Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J. (Head of the Astronomical Bureau/Qintianjian) in 1682. When trying to reconstruct the “route” followed by this innovation, again the figure of Antoine Thomas, S.J. (1644-1709) – “assistant”’ and later first successor of Verbiest at the Astronomical Bureau - comes to the fore, who may have got acquaintance with this innovation through the issue of 1682 of Journal des sçavans, not in Peking, but in Macau. This is a new element, which shows again the important (but silent) part Thomas played in the communication of astronomical novelties, printings etc. from Europe to China, and vice-versa.

Sonja Brentjes
Narratives of knowledge in Islamic societies: what do they tell us about scholars and their contexts?

Abstract: Current history of science, including cartography and geography, in Islamic societies has lost its mainstream status that it occupied some decades ago. The major reason for this unfortunate development is the change of what constitutes mainstream today in comparison to the past. Mainstream history of science in other than Islamic societies is much more focused on the study of the sciences in culture than on the study of the content of scientific texts or instruments alone. Moreover, numerous of its representatives apply various theory-based approaches and methods taken from other humanities and other fields of the historical sciences. Historians of science in Islamic societies have refused to engage in a productive manner with these newer developments and hence have found themselves marginalized with high costs for subsequent generations in the field. Some newer developments in the US indicate that younger scholars have taken up the challenge. It is, however, too early to judge whether this will lead to a renewed recovery of mainstream positions.

On the other hand, mainstream history of science in other than Islamic societies is plagued by problems caused by its shift to new grazing grounds. In many cases, the specialized training as historians of science has caused a loss of qualification characteristic for previous generations in the field ˗ a more than fleeting familiarity with at least one of the sciences and a knowledge of more than their native language/s. Some of this equally unfortunate development has caught on in history of science in Islamic societies with the worrisome result of an empty rhetoric.

Hence, for me this new rhetorical kind of history of science holds little promise. I am more attracted by the challenge of the first generation of colleagues who made context, culture and theory mainstream in history of science. I think history of science in Islamic societies has still to go a very long way to reach their level of skills and sophisticated insights. The subject of my talk to the workshop on how to become mainstream was chosen to discuss one of the many possibilities to advance on that road. Hence my paper will offer some observations and reflections on narratives of knowledge in Islamic societies and possibilities for uncovering what they meant for their narrators and their audiences.

Rinat M. Nugayev
The Ptolemy – Copernicus transition: intertheoric context.

Abstract: The Ptolemy-Copernicus transition is analyzed in the intertheoretic context provided by an analogy between the Copernican revolution and the Einsteinian one. In the case of Einstein’s revolution it was argued that its cause consisted in the clash between the main research programmes of classical physics: Newtonian mechanics, Maxwellian electrodynamics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. In the present paper it is demonstrated that the Ptolemy-Copernicus transition is similar to the Lorentz-Einstein one with Lorentz playing the Ptolemy role and Einstein – the role of Copernicus. Just as Lorentz’s “theory of electrons” of the second half of the 19th century can be evaluated as a dual theoretical scheme mixing Newtonian mechanics with maxwellian electrodynamics, one can evaluate Ptolemaic cosmology as a dual theoretical scheme mixing the principles of “Platonic mathematics” with those of “Aristotelian physics”. Analogously to the Einsteinian revolution, it is argued that the Copernican one can be considered as a realization of the dualism between mathematical astronomy and Aristotelian qualitative physics and the corresponding gradual efforts to eliminate it. Hence the works of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton can be comprehended as the stages of the mathematics descendance from skies to earth and reciprocal extrapolation of earth physics on divine phenomena.

Almagest: Vol. IV, Issue 2

Table of contents and abstracts, Almagest 4-2, November 2013

Michael T. Wright
The Antikythera Mechanism: Compound Gear-Trains for Planetary Indications.

Abstract: The decipherment of inscriptions on the Antikythera Mechanism has yielded evidence supporting a reconstruction of its front dial display in which a concentric array of pointers indicates the date and the positions of the Moon, the Sun and the five planets known in antiquity. To this is now added the reading of a parameter demonstrating that, for one planet at least, the designer knew a period-relation that describes its motion with considerable precision, and its presence in the inscription probably indicates that it was actually realized in the instrument. This could have been done only by adopting a compound train to drive the planetary mechanism. The feasibility of incorporating such compound trains for all five planets has already been demonstrated, but here we consider more fully how the Hellenistic designer might have generated tractable ratios approximating astronomical period-relations that could not be realized exactly in mechanism. The newly-discovered parameter may represent such an approximation, perhaps derived from a known Babylonian period-relation. We show that the corresponding period-relations for all five planets can be used in designing gear-trains that might easily be fitted to our existing reconstruction.

Alexey V. Postnikov
The Russian mission to Bukhara in 1842 and the fate of the English emissaries Charles Stoddart and Arthur Conolly.

Abstract: The author, based on his study of manuscripts found in the Archives of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation) explores the history of the Russian mission to Bukhara (1842) under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Konstantin Butenev. The investigations on Bukharian geography, vegetation, animals, mineral resources (especially gold, copper, and precious stones) conducted by the members of the mission −Leman, Bogoslovsky, Nikolay and Yakov Khanykov− are studied and described. Moreover, the first topographical surveys of the Bukharian Emirate by Yakovlev and the maps derived from these surveys that were compiled by Nicolay Khanykov are analyzed. Special attention is paid to previously unexplored documental evidence disclosing the activities and tragic fate of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stoddart and Captain Arthur Conolly, officers of the British Royal Staff, who were sent on a special political-geographical mission in Central Asia (1839-1842).

Tomislav Petkovic
The achievement, legacy, intuition, and cosmopolitanism of Nikola Tesla. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Tesla’s death in 2013.

Abstract: Nikola Tesla’s great achievement and intuition were critically assessed in the framework of history of science and technology, along the new road of future technologies development where the Tesla’s legacy and his fundamental ideas have been emphasized and updated. In a plethora of scientists and engineers, Tesla is unique and exceptional due to a great number of his original inventions and visions, and his independent explorer spirit. Electromagnetic science and ethical reflections arising from Tesla's work and ideas were epistemologically reconciled, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Tesla’s death in 2013. This paper aims to be an attempt for a new synthetic approach, beyond an occasional celebration of the anniversaries, for the new general thinking of Tesla's life and his scientific-engineering-political concepts important for science and ethics, in the light of contemporary energy and ecology global conditions. Non-trivial controversies in scientific and historical evaluations of the Tesla’s legacy were emphasized and resolved throughout the text. By the very early 20th century Tesla devoted much effort toward design and construction of the grand power to transport electrical power over long distances, which becomes popular today in science and technology as the efficient wireless power or energy transfer. Moral aspects on the wireless energy transport, Tesla published in his fundamental philosophical-engineering paper in “Electrical World and Engineering” (1905). Tesla proclaimed a new postulate, as the political-philosophical prolegomenon, for the “Universal Peace” relations through the three aspects as the “dissemination of intelligence, transportation, and transmission of power”. Tesla’s opus counts totally 280 patents in 26 countries of the world, where his achievements are arranged not only to area of electrical engineering but spanned to numerous modern technologies: high frequency illumination, X-ray technique, cosmic rays, television, till to the ICT and the cell phone today. A paper brings a brief review on superconducting radiofrequency (SRF) science and technology for the applications in linear superconducting colliders based on the Tesla RF cavity, which undoubtedly involves the principle of Tesla RF transformer as the source of the very high potential RF-field. Due to renaissance of his energy-moral paradigm today, his ēthos and cosmopolitanism, owing to his fruitful and moral passion to help mankind through science and technology, Tesla remains an outstanding figure in the history of world science, technology, and culture. Tesla is inspiring and mentoring scholars in the characteristic field of teslalogy at work much more than expected.

Raffaele Pisano
Conceptual and Mathematical Structures of Mechanical Science around the 18th Century.

Abstract: One may discuss the role played by mechanical science in the history of scientific ideas, particularly in physics, focusing on the significance of the relationship between physics and mathematics in describing mathematical laws in the context of a scientific theory. In the second Newtonian law of motion, space and time are crucial physical magnitudes in mechanics, but they are also mathematical magnitudes as involved in derivative operations. Above all, if we fail to acknowledge their mathematical meaning, we fail to comprehend the whole Newtonian mechanical apparatus. For instance, let us think about velocity and acceleration. In this case, the approach to conceive and define foundational mechanical objects and their mathematical interpretations changes. Generally speaking, one could prioritize mathematical solutions for Lagrange’s equations, rather than the crucial role played by collisions and geometric motion in Lazare Carnot’s operative mechanics, or Faraday’s experimental science with respect to Ampère’s mechanical approach in the electric current domain, or physico-mathematical choices in Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory. In this paper, we will focus on the historical emergence of mechanical science from a physico-mathematical standpoint and emphasize significant similarities and/or differences in mathematical approaches by some key authors of the 18th century. Attention is paid to the role of mathematical interpretation for physical objects.

Vaios Argyrakis
The Evolution of Wind Theory and the Concept of Exhalation in the Context of Ancient Greek Thought.

Abstract: The core of wind theory in ancient Greek thought essentially remained the same from the 5th century B.C. to the 1st century A.D. Despite the theoretical differences over this long period, the concept of exhalation plays the central role in the physical mechanism of wind creation. The first theoretical propositions on the creation of winds are found in the works of the Presocratic philosophers. The first comprehensive theory was that of Aristotle and was quite complex. Theophrastus elaborated this theory and made it more specific. Significant progress was achieved by Straton who simplified Aristotle’s theory to a great extent, but without detracting in the slightest from its interpretative validity. Because of this simplification his theory is potentially verifiable both experimentally and empirically. Heron’s Pneumatics, in which this theory is used, includes a first attempt at an indirect verification, a fact which indicates the scientific maturity of the theory.

Book Reviews

Gianna Katsiampoura
Ioannis Telelis (ed.), Georgios Pachymeres, Philosophia. Book 5, Commentary in Aristotle’s Meteorologica. Βιβλίον πέμπτον, τῶν μετεωρικῶν. Athens: Academy of Athens, Research Center for Greek and Latin Literature, 2012.

George Vlahakis
Manolis Patiniotis, Στοιχεία Φυσικής Φιλοσοφίας. Ο ελληνικός επιστημονικός στοχασμός τον 17ο και 18ο αιώνα (Elements of Natural Philosophy. The Greek scientific thought in the 17th and 18th century), Athens: Gutenberg, 2013.

George Vlahakis
Yannis Karas, Θεόφιλος Καϊρης, ο επιστήμονας, ο φιλόσοφος, ο αιρετικός. Μια έξέχουσα μορφή των νεοελληνικών γραμμάτων (Theophilos Kairis, the scientist, the philosopher, the heretic. A prominent figure of the modern Greek letters), Athens: Gutenberg, 2013.

Almagest: Vol. V, Issue 1

Table of contents and abstracts, Almagest, 5-1, May 2014

Noël Golvers
Ferdinand Verbiest’s 1668 observation of an unidentified celestial phenomenon in Peking, its lost Chinese description and some parallel observations, especially in Korea.
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.102472

I present here a description of a celestial phenomenon (and annex “prognostication”), observed by Ferdinand Verbiest, SJ, in Peking, in March 1668, from his letter to Adrien Greslon, SJ, in Canton. With this letter he expected to get some more information from local observers, but instead it was forwarded to Jesuit astronomers in Europe, remaining without further echoes. After an explanation of the circumstances of the observation, the Chinese treatise and the Latin letter, I present the text of the autograph with a tentative translation. In a last paragraph I adduce a series of parallel observations, all situated in March 1668, taken from Chinese (Peking) and Western sources, and a striking observation in a Korean source; while the former seem rather connected to a comet, this seems not the case for the Korean report, nor for Verbiest’s phenomenon.

Stany Mazurkiewicz
Dialectical thinking of nature according to Hegel, Engels and Schelling.
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.102469

In my paper I would like to show that Friedrich Engels’ way of thinking in "Dialectics of Nature" was heavily influenced by Hegel. Indeed, Engels was not only very knowlegdable with regard to sciences and techniques of his time; he was also akeen to a theoretical framework in which to think about them: Hegel's own dialectic of nature. Engels was constantly addressing Hegel (either commenting for or against him) and in this manner he wrote a new dialectic of nature (although not completed), as is evident from his letters. In addition, it can also be said that history of science is the real dynamic behind Engels’ refusal or acceptance of Hegel’s theories (the most controversial issue being of course Darwinism; for Hegel, nature clearly has no history). Therefore, those who would like to comprehend in depth today’s sciences should refer to the origins of Engels’ thought and put it into perspective.

Dominique Meeùs
Friedrich Engels and the unveiling of the historical dimension of the physical world: science and dialectics.
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.102470

In the Manifesto of the Communist Party, Marx and Engels ([1848] 1969) showed that the history of the human world is not static, nor even cyclic, but is a forward movement that can be explained and - to a certain extent- predicted. This history cannot be understood without considering the necessity for the human animal to provide the means of existence for itself by work (production) with in the context of particular social relations. Marx untangled an unsolved problem of classical political economy, namely the origin of wealth under capitalism, by attaching it to the difference (surplus value) between the work done by a worker and the work necessary to provide his or her means of existence. Engels may be associated with this breakthrough.
As far as the physical world is concerned, Newtonian mechanics had proved extremely fruitful but its very success could induce a mechanistic, static view of the world. Engels is remarkable for having seen in some of the advances of science during his time the sign that the physical world too has a history. Already with in the Newtonian heritage, there were hints alluding to that direction, like the origin of celestial bodies or the deceleration of Earth's rotation due to the tides (Laplace, Kant…). Engels understood the importance of the conservation and transformation of energy, of biological evolution (geology, Lamarck, Darwin…), of the unity of the biological world based on the cell. Observing the advances of organic chemistry, he stressed the unity of the whole, along with its evolutionary character from inanimate matter to life, to mind and to society.
The relation between dialectics and science has far-reaching consequences for dialectics. Dialectics does not prove anything and, thus, one should not rely on dialectics to decide what is true or not.

Eirini Viltanioti
Plato on Iron Reduction Technique (Ti. 60 d 2 – 5).
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.102471

Recent scholars have drawn attention to the fact that Timaeus 60d2-5 seems to make no satisfactory sense. In this paper, I shall propose a new interpretation of 60d2-5, which respects the genuine reading of Plato’s manuscript A, is supported by the Greek and is relevant to the context in which the passage occurs. According to my interpretation, the said passage is a concise allusion to the special technique used for the decoration of fine painted Greek vases, namely three-phase firing or iron reduction technique.

Vangelis Koutalis
Making discoveries for a better life vs. bringing fruits to the national treasury: Davy, Babbage, Brewster and the (ongoing) struggle for the soul of science.
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.102473

In 1830, a heated debate over the “decline of science in England” erupted, in which Charles Babbage and David Brewster had the leading role. Humphry Davy was one of the prime targets of this criticism against the “backwardness” of British science, representing in the eyes of the reformers an outdated research tradition excessively concentrated on the complexities of electricity, at the expense of more pragmatic concerns, and less liable to formalization and precision than the continental analytical mechanics and the analytical chemistry. The contradiction here is between two significations of science. Davy’s version of scientific discourse, producing fertile questions instead of profitable answers, retained a philosophical dimension which accentuated the creative, self-valorizing aspect of living labour. The possibility of interaction with other expressions of human creativity, such as poetry, was inherent in his project, while science education was defined principally as self-education, a process which fulfills the Enlightenment ideal of autonomy. On their part, the declinists implicitly introduced new standards, such as the degree of professionalization and state control, for evaluating the status of science, by idealizing the experience of the Napoleonic educational reforms, and positing operability, precision, discipline, and political resilience as the special intellectual virtues which science is meant to exemplify.

Almagest: Vol. V, Issue 2

Table of contents and abstracts, Almagest, 5-2, November 2014
Thematic issue: Scientific cosmopolitanism
George N. Vlahakis

Scientific Cosmopolitanism. An Introduction
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103563

Suzanne Débarbat, Simone Dumont
Johann Karl Buckhardt, un Allemand de Gotha à Paris
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103564

Johann Karl Burckhardt est depuis 1796 auprès de Franz Xaver von Zach, à l’observatoire du Seeberg, lorsque ce dernier l’envoie à Paris se former chez Lalande. En dépit des événements de l’époque, il se plaît en France et bientôt se fait naturaliser et y poursuit sa carrière. Il entre successivement au Bureau des longitudes et à l’Académie des sciences, observe et habite l’observatoire de l’Ecole militaire ; il traduit en allemand deux volumes de la Mécanique céleste de Laplace, publie plusieurs ouvrages, des articles, des Tables de la Lune, consacre à des calculs, notamment pour des trajectoires de comètes ou de petites planètes, la plus grande partie de ses travaux astronomiques. Né en Allemagne, il devient, sous le nom de Jean-Charles Burckhardt (1773-1825), très connu aussi bien en France que dans son pays natal.

Rita Meyer-Spasche
Cosmopolitan Oscar Buneman (1913-1993): his serpentine path from Milan to Stanford
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103565

Oscar Buneman (1913 Milan, Italy- 1993 near Stanford, USA) was born to a cosmopolitan mercantile family of Hamburg, Germany. He crossed many borders of states forced by political circumstances first (WWI, the Nazis, WWII) and by his own decisions later on. He changed his citizenship to British in 1944 and his name some years later. He also crossed borders between scientific disciplines: he started as a student of (pure) mathematics and physics in Hamburg and took exams in (applied) mathematics and theoretical physics in Manchester. For several years he worked as a university lecturer of mathematics at Cambridge University and became a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University later in his life, heading an Institute for Plasma Research there. He spent sabbatical years at institutes for cosmic physics/space research in Italy and Japan. Stanford students thought that he was British by birth, but in his private life he was a Californian outdoors person. He considered mathematical elegance a very important issue. He and his wife Ruth were very concerned about environmental issues.

Charlotte Wahl
Between cosmopolitanism and nationalism. The role of expatriates in the dissemination of Leibniz’s differential calculus
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103566

In contrast to Isaac Newton’s method of fluxions, the early propagation and application of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s differential calculus appeared to be very much a European affair. The mathematical correspondents of Leibniz were living in Italy, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. However, this first impression is deceptive. Besides Jacob Bernoulli in Basel two more correspondents were German speaking: Rudolf Christian von Bodenhausen in Florence and Johann Bernoulli in Groningen in the Netherlands. Indeed, among the most fervent early supporters of Leibniz’s calculus, Guillaume François Antoine de L’Hospital in Paris was the only not self-identifying as German. The aim of this article is to study the interaction of the expatriates Bodenhausen and Johann Bernoulli with their new local communities and to exhibit how it relates to their scientific activities in general and their partisanship for the differential calculus in particular. In addition, I will highlight the fate of the Swiss Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, who was an ardent supporter of Newton’s method of fluxions and who lived in England for most of his life. Particular attention will be paid to the role of nationality and nationalism, which conflicted with the cosmopolitan idea of the Republic of Letters.

Peeter Müürsepp
Dawn of the New Enlightenment
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103567

This paper concerns scientific cosmopolitanism and how it connects with the Enlightenment in the classical and new sense in an interesting way. The focus is on two educators who were affiliated with the University of Tartu (Dorpat) at different times and in different ways, Sven Dimberg in the late 17th century and Georges Frédéric Parrot in the late 18th-early 19th century, the latter actually being responsible for the reopening of the university. It was actually Parrot who brought Enlightenment to Livonia, a province of the Russian Empire back then. Both men, a Swede and a Frenchman, are responsible for bringing the University of Tartu to the map of the academic world. The first of these remarkable men, Sven Dimberg, was one of the first, if not the very first, to teach Newton’s method at a university. The other one made some original discoveries in chemistry and founded a new type of university in the region. Above all, we are currently witnessing the need for a “New” Enlightenment, as advocated by Nicholas Maxwell. Analysing Parrot’s ideas will be helpful in making sense of this need.

Maria Terdimou
The unsolved equation: Mathematics at the University of Athens during the 19th century
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103568

At the University of Athens (founded in 1837), we see the first efforts towards the systematic teaching of Mathematics at a higher level, within the limited space of the newly formed Greek state ‒ limited as regards both land area and intellectual development.
Throughout the 19th century Mathematics and Natural Sciences were taught in the corresponding Departments, which were under the umbrella of the School of Philosophy until the definitive separation of the School of Physics and Mathematics in 1904. This fact naturally posed many difficulties in finding the appropriate teaching staff for the Departments and developing the subjects taught.
In this paper we will examine the history of Mathematics teaching at the University of Athens during the hundred years following the Greek Revolution, until the first decades of the 20th century. More specifically, we will comment on the course of the School of Sciences and the Department of Mathematics till their independence from the School of Philosophy in 1904. We will investigate the course contents and the mathematical textbooks used by the professors of the University K. Negris, G. Vouris, N. Nikolaides, V. Lakon, I. Chatzidakis and C. Stephanos. We will then proceed to examine the interest shown by high-school students and others in studying at the Department of Mathematics and we will make a brief reference to the admission and attendance of female students at the Department of Mathematics. Finally, by the end of our study we hope to have provided a historically acceptable solution to the equation of our title ‒ although some of the mathematicians discussed here would have disputed it, since we will not have arrived there by using their favourite instruments, the rule and compass.

Carlos M. Madrid Casado

The Depiction of Science in the Paintings of the Museo del Prado. Science and Art in the Spanish Empire (16th -18th century)
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103569

The Royal Collection at the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, is rightly considered the most important and central of the museum’s vast collections. Its growth, fed by the conquests of the empire, underwent a significant surge under Habsburg and Bourbon monarchs. As such, it offers an excellent opportunity to survey the depiction of science and technology within the Spanish Empire. This survey, facilitated by the paintings in the Collection, helps demonstrate how the New Science (the “nuova scienza”) was received during the imperial period. Present research has shown a greater degree of scientific interest in Spain than has hitherto been assumed. Accordingly, Spanish contributions to science and technology in fields such as metallurgy, medicine, cosmography, cartography, navigation, and natural history must not be excluded in accounts of the Early Scientific Revolution.

Book reviews
Efthymios Nicolaidis

Jean-Luc Fournet and Anne Tihon, Conformément aux observations d’Hipparque: le papyrus Fouad inv. 267A
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103570

Eudoxie Delli
Michel Blay, Dieu, la nature et l’homme. L’originalité de l’Occident
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103571

Gianna Katsiampoura
Matteo Martelli, The Four Books of Pseudo-Democritus
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.103572

Almagest: Vol. VI, Issue 1

Table of Contents and Abstracts, Almagest 6-1, May 2015
Thematic Issue and Varia

Thematic Issue: Roger J. Boscovich

Aleksandar Petrović, Tomislav Petković
Boscovichianism pure and simple. A Foreword
DOI: 10.1484 / J.ALMAGEST.5.107468

Aleksandar Petrović
The presence of Boscovich’s Theoria Philosophiae Naturalisand the absence of its translations
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.107460

The main objective of this paper is to examine the historical and cultural reasons why the significant work of Roger Boscovich, one among the most eminent philosophers and scientists of 18th century, has remained untranslated with the exception of English and Serbian/Croatian languages. Revealing the background of this strange void enables us to better understand the meaning of Boscovich’s Theoriae Philosophiae Naturalis.

Magda Stavinschi
Boscovich on the Romanian territories
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.107461

Ruđer Josip Bošković was a physicist, an astronomer, a mathematician, a philosopher, a diplomat, a poet, a theologian and a Jesuit priest, who lived between 1711 and 1787. He was born in Dubrovnik. He lived most of his life in Italy and France, but he also spent time in other parts of Europe, including the Romanian territories. In 1756 he began a long career as a diplomat. He spent the winter of 1761-62 in Constantinople, the Ottoman capital. He then moved to Poland, after crossing Bulgaria, Dobruja and Moldova. More information about his journey through the Romanian territories can be found in the Giornale di un viaggio da Constantinopoli in Polonia published in 1762. This is a 323-page book that contains a detailed description of the journey, which started on the 24th of May 1762 and finished on the 15th of July of the same year. Boscovich, the astronomer, took advantage of the opportunity to carry out astronomical measurements which are now of greatest importance to Romanians. After numerous calculations, he established a latitude of 45°23' for Galaţi, which is very close to the correct one of 46°40'. In order to determine the longitude, Boscovich measured various distances between the Sun and the Moon with the aid of a clock that counted the seconds by means of the Sun’s height determined thanks to its reflection on the water. A few days later, he established the latitude of another city, Iassy. The centre was almost one minute ahead of the Prince’s residence, that is, 47°10', which is a very accurate figure. But two observations of the Moon at its passage at the meridian gave him a different result: 47°12', which Boscovich considered to be closer to reality, since this time he observed the Moon both directly and through its reflection on the lake. This presentation will consider his rich astronomical calculations in more detail and will also give a taste of his colourful descriptions of the places he visited.

Nada Savkovic
Occasional poetry by Roger Boscovich
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.107462

The occasional book of poetry Per le nozze faustissime dell’egregio cavaliere Francesco conte di Brazza colla ornatissima dama Giulia contessa de’Piccolli by Roger Boscovich and Jacopo Andrea Vittorelli was published in 1785. The book comprises seven couplets by Boscovich in Latin, seven sonnets by Vittorelli in Italian and an introductory text by Count Roberto Roberti dedicated to Countess Arpalice Pappafava. Having returned to Italy from France, Boscovich, moved to the little town Bassano del Grappa, in northern Italy, in May 1783. His meeting with the Italian poet Vittorelli was inevitable. He lived for more than two years in Vittorelli’s home town. On the occasion of Boschovich’s departure Vittorelli wrote one sonnet –All’Illustre Boscovich– and later he wrote another sonnet –Sonetto XXXVI– where Roger’s name was mentioned twice.

Marko Uršič
Boscovich’s distinction between the potential and the actual space from the standpoint of modern search for the union of mind and nature
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.107463

The Aristotelian distinction between potentiality and actuality concerning space was developed in Boscovich’s main work Theoria Philosophiae Naturalis (1758), where it served him to upgrade Newton’s conception of forces into a unified dynamic theory of nature. The main aim of this paper is to show that Boscovich’s “Single Law of Forces in Nature” and his distinction between potential space and actual “point-particles” might be relevant and inspiring in the modern search for a unified understanding of nature: not only in regard to the unification of the four basic physical forces in the so-called “Final Theory”, but also in regard to new ways for conceiving the relation between nature and mind.

Peter Lukan
Roger Boscovich and the quantum mechanical combination of dynamic and statistical laws
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.107464

In this article I firstly examine Boscovich’s attitude towards laws of nature, which can be best inferred from his magnum opus Theoria philosophiae naturalis (1758) and from De continuitatis lege (1754). Secondly, I give an account of a contemporary view on laws on nature by Weingartner and Mittelstaedt, who recognize two types of laws, dynamic and statistical. Focussing on the latter type of laws, I present a short overview of their gradual establishment and stress Boscovich’s remarkable contribution in this regard. The establishment of statistical laws, which were in his time not recognized as such, played a key supporting role for the emerging modern scientific theory of atomism, of which Boscovich was one of the pioneers. This association of statistical laws and atomism had an impact on the formation of quantum mechanics, which can be understood as combining both types of natural laws. I conclude the article with an epistemic reflection, arguing that this duality of laws is to some extent implicit in Boscovich’s distinction, which he makes in De continuitatis lege, between the potential and actual, concepts which he acquired from Aristotle but modified by connecting them to the concepts of continuity and discreteness.

Tomislav Petković
R.J. Boscovich’s Achievement in Natural Philosophy in Relation to the Development of Modern Particle Physics
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.107465

R. J. Boscovich (1711-1787) was the first in the history of philosophy to combine Newton, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz’s method of thought in the middle of the 18th century before the Maxwell-Einstein era of physics, synthesising them into his new method of thought on Nature. His method may be expressed by the epistemological formula more geometrico sive mathematico-more rationali-more empirico-more theologico, which encapsulates the four fundaments of science. Philosophy and religion are unified in Boscovich’s thought. Boscovich’s A Theory of Natural Philosophy on points-atoms as the ultimate building-blocks of matter is based on a single law of forces existing in nature. The Theory itself has been fundamental for the modern scientific picture of the world and the basic concepts of nature to date, due to the structure of nature and the phenomenology of particles it brings forward. Boscovich is the father of the original pictorial representation of the points-particles (dynamism hypothesis), important both for the modern concept of subatomic particles (from electrons, protons and neutrons to quarks) of the 20th century, and the predicted and expected new particles and objects of the 21st century. Accordingly, N. Bohr, W. Heisenberg and L. Lederman did indeed praise Boscovich’s Theory. However, it was Richard P. Feynman who showed keen interest in Boscovich’s atomism, having accepted it as his metaphysical credo 200 years after its formulation. Using an effective epistemic approach, the paper links Boscovich’s ingenious apperception of points and particles with Feynman’s ingenious and precise parton-quark physics of the Standard Model. Boscovich’s theory was launched brilliantly on a new path by the discovery of the atomic nucleus and the nuclear model of the atom in 1911 in Manchester. The scientific-philosophical compatibility of the Dubrovnik-born thinker with E. Rutherford was put into the limelight by Rutherford’s paper from 1911 by way of three statements: the atomic nucleus as Boscovich’s point – a point source of Coulomb force, an α particle is also a point, and the impact parameter in an encounter between an alpha (α) particle and a gold nucleus has the character of distance resembling the one in Boscovich’s curve. In a modern epistemic analysis, going beyond an orthodox scientific approach, the paper shows that the most interesting legacy of Boscovich’s tree of repulsion and attraction forces lies chiefly in the tree-level picture of nuclear forces in contemporary low-energy physics. The paper shows, beyond a conventional opportunity of the 300th anniversary of Boscovich’s birth in 2011 that was declared the year of Boscovich in both Croatia and the world within the philosophy of nature, that Boscovich conceived the original apperception of point-particles (atoms) with a single universal law of forces between them. In light of the modern particle physics picture of nature, Boscovich’s legacy –including the most recent interpretations of his epoch-making work A Theory of Natural Philosophy (Vienna 1758 and Venice 1763)– is particularly important due to the current epistemic challenges of “new physics” dealing with new objects and/or particles at high energies, as well as for the global interferences between contemporary science and culture.


Tuncay Zorlu
Engineering and Humour in the Late Ottoman Empire: The Journal SHAQA
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.107466

Engineering education in the Ottoman Empire goes back to the early 18th century and starts within the military schools. In the course of time, civil educational institutions appear from the 19th century onwards. Engineering School (Mühendis Mekteb-i Alisi) is the cornerstone in terms of the institutionalized engineering education with its educational program and curricula. This engineering school will evolve into present Istanbul Technical University. The journal Shaqa is issued by the students of this engineering school and reflects scientific, educational, social, political, literal, psychological as well as ironic and humoural aspects of the time. This article aims to explore the engineering education of the time along with the atmosphere conceptualized and depicted by the students of the school through poems, essays, formulas and visual materials. It also aims to provide the readers with an opportunity to follow the activities of the school by means of the students remarks, opinions and criticisms about the engineering education.

Bernard Pourprix
La Mécanique physique au sens de Joseph Boussinesq
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.107467

Joseph Boussinesq (1842-1929), mathématicien et physicien, élu à l’Académie des sciences dans la section de Mécanique, est connu pour ses travaux sur l’élasticité et l’hydrodynamique. Ceux-ci font partie intégrante d’une Mécanique physique conçue comme une explication générale de tous les phénomènes en termes de mouvements moléculaires. D’un côté, Boussinesq semble s’inscrire dans le prolongement des vues de Poisson. De l’autre, il fait figure de rénovateur : il remanie la Mécanique en donnant la primauté au concept d’énergie. La Mécanique physique se rattache à la famille des théories dynamiques construites dans la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle sur la base de la loi de la conservation des forces vives. L’intention de Boussinesq est de la situer à la jonction des voies newtonienne et leibnizienne. Comme il ne peut pas remonter jusqu’aux actions moléculaires individuelles, il trouve un subterfuge : grâce à sa bonne intelligence du côté géométrique des choses, il passe maître dans l’art de définir analytiquement des classes de phénomènes et de les mettre ensuite en harmonie. Au cœur de ses conceptions épistémologiques il y a la croyance en un monde géométrique autonome, modèle et idéal du monde physique. Dans l’exploration des rapports entre ces deux mondes, Boussinesq arrive aux confins de la science et de la métaphysique. Son mémoire sur la Conciliation du véritable déterminisme mécanique avec l’existence de la vie et de la liberté morale est représentatif d’une œuvre qui, dans sa totalité, présente une dimension métaphysique et religieuse en pleine cohérence avec sa dimension scientifique. Les idées de science et de progrès qui s’en dégagent expliquent l’éclectisme dont fait preuve l’auteur dans l’élaboration de sa Mécanique physique.

Almagest: Vol. VI, Issue 2

Table of Contents and Abstracts, Almagest 6-2, November 2015

Anne Tihon
Remarques sur les scolies anciennes de l’Almageste
DOI : 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.109660

This paper intends to examine the hypothesis proposed by David Pingree in a paper publi- shed in 1994, “The Teaching of the Almagest in Late Antiquity”, in Barnes, T.D. (ed.), The Sciences in Greco-Roman Society, Apeiron 27,4 : 75-98. In this essay D. Pingree suggests that the scholia of the Almagest issued from the Neoplatonician teaching of Alexandria were compiled in Syria around 600, in a Nestorian milieu. The present paper is divided in two parts: first, a general presentation of the problems raised by the scholia and the manuscript tradition; secondly, an edition with a French translation and a brief analysis of the scholia quoted by D. Pingree for supporting the idea of a passage to Syria. Another little scholion comparing Pappus and Theon is also published. The analysis shows that there are no clear elements showing a link with Syria. In addition an annex gives a list of the passages of Theon written in the scholia of book III of the Almagest (based on the unedited papers of Joseph Mogenet), and some examples of laudative epithets used in the Vth and VIth centuries for naming the great scientists or philosophers of the time.

Millán Gasca
“Une jeune fille fort sérieuse”: Suzanne Lambin (1902-2008), A Pioneer in Biomedicine and Biomathematics
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.109661

In 1951 Suzanne Lambin (1902-2008) became the first woman to occupy a chair (mi- crobiology) at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Paris University. Her scientific career offers an example of the rise to visibility of a young woman scientist from an educated, middle class family thanks to the opening up of public education towards women in France during the Third Republic. She had the opportunity to collaborate with four outstanding figures in the golden age of theoretical ecology and to participate in this intellectual enterprise: as a student at Nantes, she worked with Stéphane Leduc (1853-1939), and in the ‘Thirties, in Paris, together with her mentor, Jean Régnier (1892-1946), she collaborated with two mathematicians, the Italian Vito Volterra (1860-1940) and the Russian Vladimir Kostizin (1883-1963). Thus, Lambin’s scientific career was also helped by the encounters with men who were open-minded both regarding the collaboration with women in research, and regarding the exploration of new paths in science. This essay is based on unpublished sources from Lambin’s personal archive, and on an interview with her in her Paris home. Régnier’s and Lambin’s technical ability and theoretical, dynamical approach to the evo- lution of microbiological populations made it possible to set up a series of experiments in the Régnier microbiological laboratory at the Ambroise Paré Hospital to provide biological feedback for Volterra’s equations of population dynamics. Their research was a seminal contribution to the evolution of biomathematics, and the underlying scientific project can be better grasped thanks to the unpublished introduction to a projected book on the numerical approach in microbiology, or –in the authors’ words– the “cyphered knowledge of the rhythms of life”.

Jan Vandersmissen
Débats européens sur les formes de la vie marine au Siècle des Lumières
DOI : 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.109662

Dès la fin du XVIIe siècle et surtout dans le courant du XVIIIe le corail est au cœur de débats enflammés qui ont comme objet la nature même de la vie marine. Cette étude a comme objectif d’étudier les acteurs qui animent ces débats, et de suivre une succession de priorités intellectuelles qui renvoient à des changements épistémologiques profonds. C’est une étude d’un monde savant toujours en désaccord sur le fondement de ce qu’on appelle à l’époque « minéral », « végétal » ou « animal », et fortement influencé par les tensions entre autorité et vérité, entre observation et expérience. On insistera ici sur la dimension européenne des débats, reliant les côtes de la Méditerranée et de l’Atlantique, où on produit des connaissances profondément nouvelles à travers l’observation et l’ex- périence in situ, aux institutions savantes où les résultats de ces travaux sont analysés, débattus, acceptés ou rejetés.

René Sigrist, Alexander Moutchnik
Entre Ciel et Terre : les fonctions de l’astronomie dans la Russie du 18e siècle
DOI : 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.109663

This article aims at describing the state and society expectations about astronomy in 18th century Russia. It starts with Peter 1st’s attempt to create a powerful navy and to dispose of good maps of his empire, a policy that established a favorable context for the develop- ment of practical astronomy. A further step was reached in 1726-27 with the creation of the Academic Observatory and the recruitment of Joseph Nicolas Delisle, whose research program included the movements of stars, the aberration of light, the nutation of the Earth’s axis and atmospheric refractions as well as the determination of longitudes on Earth. His monitoring and organization skills allowed him to mobilize human and material resources beyond the limited circle of specialists. A further favorable circumstance was the presence of Euler, who could develop celestial mechanics on the basis of observations provided by Delisle and his team. Despite ups and downs in the state support, a first peak was reached in 1769, when no less than seven “Russian” teams were organized for obser- ving the Transit of Venus. At Euler’s death (1783), the practice of astronomy had reached such a momentum within the Petersburg academy that it would survive the subsequent reconfiguration of the discipline.

Raffaele Pisano, Paolo Bussotti
Fibonacci and the Abacus Schools in Italy. Mathematical Conceptual Streams - Education and its Changing Relationship with Society
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.109664

In this paper we present the relations between mathematics and mathematics education in Italy between the 12th and the 16th century. Since the subject is extremely wide, we will focus on two case-studies to point out some relevant aspects of this phenomenon:
1) Fibonacci’s studies (12th-13th century); 2) Abacus schools. More particularly, Fibonacci, probably the greatest European mathematician of the Middle Ages, made the calculations with Hindu-Arabic digits widely spread in Europe; Abacus schools were also based on the teaching of the calculation with Hindu-Arabic digits. These case-studies are significant for understanding the connections between science, science education and the development of science within Western civilization. We think that the knowledge of such significant relations can be useful for the scholars who are nowadays engaged in mathematics education and in the research field of science-society relations. Finally, we attempt to outline the interaction between mathematics education and advanced mathematics in that period, focusing on the figure of Leonardo Pisano (c. 1170-c.1250), called Fibonacci, who played an influential role both in mathematics education and in advanced mathematics.

Book review
Nadia Danova
Alexandre Kostov, От занаят към професия. Инженерството на Балканите от началото на ХVІІІ век до Първата световна война (From Craft to Profession. Engineering in the Balkans from the Beginning of the 18th Century to World War I) Sofia, Paradigma, 2015, 412 p.
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.109667

Almagest: Vol. VII, Issue 1

Almagest 7-1 cover

Order the issue here

Table of Contents and Abstracts, Almagest 7-1, May 2016

The Inscriptions of the Antikythera Mechanism

M. Allen, W. Ambrisco, M. Anastasiou, D. Bate, Y. Bitsakis, A. Crawley, M.G.Edmunds, D. Gelb, R. Hadland, P. Hockley, A. Jones , T. Malzbender, H. Mangou, X. Moussas, A. Ramsey , J.H. Seiradakis, J. M. Steele, A.Tselikas, M. Zafeiropoulou
1. General Preface to the Publication of the Inscriptions

This is the prefatory paper to a series which presents the surviving text inscriptions on the Antikythera Mechanism. The structure of the mechanism and the history of the reading of the inscriptions are briefly reviewed. The methods used by the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project to image the inscriptions —computed tomography and polynomial textual mapping— are outlined. The layout of the inscriptions is described, and the dimensions of the mechanism deduced to allow the space available for inscriptions to be estimated. General conventions and notations are provided for the presentation of the inscriptions.

A. Jones
2. Historical Background and General Observations

This paper presents a detailed account of the history of the fragments of the Antikythera Mechanism preserved in the National Archeological Museum, Athens, with particular attention to previous transcriptions and paleographical appraisals of the inscriptions in the fragments. The paper concludes with general observations about the technique and paleography of the inscriptions.

Y. Bitsakis, A. Jones
3. The Front Dial and Parapegma Inscriptions

The dial at the center of the front face of the Antikythera Mechanism was surrounded by two scales, one representing the zodiac, the other the Egyptian calendar year. The Zodiac Scale was inscribed with the names of the zodiacal signs as well as series of index letters in alphabetic order, while the Egyptian Calendar Scale was inscribed with the Greek names of the Egyptian months. In addition, two rectangular plates, the remains of which survived displaced from their original positions, bore an inscription, called the Parapegma Inscription, comprising an alphabetically indexed list of annually repeating astronomical events relating to the Sun and to fixed stars. This paper gives transcriptions and translations of the inscriptions on the dial scales and the Parapegma Inscription, and deduces the original structure, layout, and location of the Parapegma Inscription. A provisional astronomical analysis of the data in the Parapegma Inscription and tentative restorations of some of its damaged and missing lines are also provided.

M. Anastasiou, Y. Bitsakis, A. Jones , J. M. Steele, M. Zafeiropoulou
4. The Back Dial and Back Plate Inscriptions

The rear face of the Mechanism consisted of a rectangular "Back Plate" dominated by two large spiral dials. The upper five-turn Metonic Dial represented a 235-lunar-month calendrical cycle while the lower four-turn Saros Dial represented a 223-lunar-month eclipse prediction cycle. A subsidiary quadrant "Games" dial was situated inside the Metonic Dial, and a subsidiary three-sector Exeligmos Dial inside the Saros Dial. Preserved text inscribed around the dials (from the lower right quarter of the plate), probably representing about a quarter of the original inscription, provided further information associated with the predictions of eclipses. This paper describes the reconstruction from the Mechanism's fragments of the surviving parts of the text on the plate and its dials, giving transcriptions and translations. The Metonic Dial inscriptions imply a calendrical scheme similar to that described by Geminos. It was intended to be a version of the calendar of Corinth as it was practiced either at Corinth itself or in some locality of Epirus. The Games dial shows six competitions, four Panhellenic (Olympics, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean) plus Naa (Dodona) and very probably Halieia (Rhodes). On the Saros dial there were probably originally about 50 or 51 month cells with a lunar and/or solar eclipse prediction, each carrying a "glyph" and an index letter. Predicted eclipse times (in equinoctial hours) on the glyphs were calculated as times of true syzygy according to solar and lunar models that both involved anomaly, with the simple Exeligmos dial extending the predictions over three or more Saros cycles. We are reluctant to base a firm construction date on interpretation of the eclipse cycles. The additional information referred to by index letters from the Saros dial was grouped into paragraphs; that for lunar eclipse prediction probably ran down one side of the plate, and that for solar eclipse prediction down the other. Statements about direction may imply a meteorological aspect by referring to predictions of winds attending the eclipses. Five references to colour and size at eclipse are the only Greco-Roman source known to us that suggests prediction of eclipse colors, and might conceivably be linked with astrology.

Y. Bitsakis, A. Jones
5. The Back Cover Inscription

This paper presents an edition with translation and commentary of an extended text that was inscribed on a plate (or conceivably a pair of plates) that lay against the rear face of the Antikythera Mechanism while it was under the sea. This plate, which may have functioned as a protective cover, is extant only in small fragments, but more of its text was preserved as offsets on a layer of accreted matter that built up against it. The text was a systematic description of the dials, pointers, and other external features of the Mechanism, beginning with the front face and continuing with the rear face. The best preserved passages include descriptions of features on lost parts of the Mechanism: a display of pointers bearing small spheres representing the Sun and planets on the front dial, and a dial on the upper back face representing a 76-year "Kallippic" calendrical cycle.

M. Anastasiou, Y. Bitsakis, A. Jones , X. Moussas, A.Tselikas, M. Zafeiropoulou
6. The Front Cover Inscription

The bronze plate known as the “Front Cover” of the Antikythera Mechanism had inscriptions on its outside face. This paper describes the reconstruction of the surviving parts of this text from the Mechanism’s fragments, giving transcriptions and translations. The texts give data on synodic cycles for the five planets, and it may be conjectured that lost lines described the behaviour of the Sun and Moon. The data strongly support the idea that planetary motions were displayed on the front face of the Mechanism using simple epicyclic or eccentric models. Previously unattested long and accurate period relations are given for Venus and Saturn, which are favourable for geared representation and probably of Greek, rather than Babylonian, origin.

Almagest: Vol. VII, Issue 2

Table of Contents and Abstracts, Almagest 7-2, November 2016

Rita Meyer-Spasche and Rolf Tomas Nossu
Persecution and Patronage: Oscar Buneman’s years in Britain
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.112684

The German student Oscar Bünemann, in trouble with the Nazi authorities in the mid-1930s, chose to emigrate to Britain and pursue a PhD there. After emigration, his surname appears as Buneman. On the verge of completing his degree in 1940, he was detained as an enemy alien and spent almost a year in internment. Upon release, he found work as an atomic scientist in England, and went on to lead a post-war career as a pioneering plasma physicist in the USA.
We study forced migration of European scientists before and during the Second World War, and scientific patronage in the host countries. Buneman’s case is interesting from several points of view. Being a non-Jewish, non-communist, anti-Nazi activist, he belongs to a group not much investigated by historians. His emigration from Germany was facilitated by his family’s business contacts in Britain. Being caught up in the wave of detainments of enemy aliens in 1940, he was assisted in pleading for release by the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning, the archives of which abound with information about refugee scientists from Nazi Germany. We have also had access to material not available to previous investigators, kindly provided by Buneman’s family.

Alexander A. Pechenkin
The story of a book: the Physico-chemical periodical processes by Schemjakin and Mikhalev, 1938
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.112685

This is the story of a book about the physic-chemical periodical processes that was published in Russian in 1938. This book was not famous and successful at the time, but became rather popular on a wave of recent interest in Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction as a classic example of periodical chemical and physiochemical processes. The authors developed the themes of earlier studies that were published in Germany, England, France including rhythmic structures in chemistry, mineralogy, histology and metallurgy. Some new approaches are also present in the book such as: the general theory of oscillations (Schwingungslehre), de Broglie waves. The book contains a comprehensive review of literature in the field.
This volume is based on publications in national and international journals and reflects informal discussion and collaboration. A small informal group arose in the course of the collaboration. The methods, content and interpretation are characteristic of the early Soviet science that hinges on attempt to formulate global problems, yet often suffers from the lack of sufficient theoretical backgrounds.

Ravil R. Mukhin
The development of dynamics in the XXth century: Kolmogorov – Arnold – Moser (KAM) theory
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.112686

This article discusses the highlights of the creation of one of the greatest scientific achievements of the twentieth century - the theory of the Kolmogorov-Arnold-Moser (KAM) and completes the picture with some previously unnoticed strokes. The focus is on A. N. Kolmogorov, who played a key role in the creation of the theory. А. Poincare has shown that in the vast majority of cases dynamical systems are non-integrable. The perturbation theory is among key methods for solving problems of dynamics and Poincaré put forward the impact of an integrable Hamiltonian system disturbance as a "fundamental problem" of dynamics. Kolmogorov’s main result in this task can be formulated as follows: for the majority of the initial conditions and the non-degeneracy of the unperturbed motion for a sufficiently small perturbation the most non-resonant tori are only being deformed, keeping to itself the trajectory of conditionally periodic motions with constant frequencies. Resonant tori are being destroyed under the influence of the disturbance, the trajectories become stochastic. Kolmogorov limited himself to the establishment of all the principal parties in solving of this problem and did not complete the proof of the results. This was done a few years after the appearance of Kolmogorov’s works by V. I. Arnold and J. Moser.

Jérôme Bonnin, Jean-Marie Michel, and Jean-Yves Thiant
Le pelecinum de Doumet sur la commune de Châteauvert (Var)
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.112687

At a place called “Doumet” at the community of Châteauvert, a sundial was discovered by chance in 1993. The analysis of the instrument shows that it is a special specimen of ancient gnomonic, a vertical dihedral sundial. This particular typology of the pelecinum type constitutes this object extremely rare for ancient Gaulle. The state of preservation of all its components is also unique for the corpus of sundials of this type known for the entire ancient world. Finally, the quality of construction and the place of discovery, remote from all known centers or sundial making places, pose the problem of the object’s purpose. The function of a sundial is alone surprising for a so isolated site. An hypothesis has been proposed, stating that it comes from a funerary stele serving as a topographic landmark on a hill adjacent to a Roman road at a critical position on the borders of the ancient cities of Aix and Fréjus.

Sur le lieu-dit « Doumet » de la commune de Châteauvert, un cadran solaire a été mis au jour de façon fortuite en 1993. L’analyse de l’instrument indique qu’il s’agit d’un élément bien particulier de la gnomonique antique, un cadran plan vertical dièdre. Cette typologie même, de type pelecinum, en fait un objet particulièrement rare pour la Gaule antique. L’état de conservation de l’ensemble des éléments constitutifs du cadran est par ailleurs unique dans le corpus des cadrans solaires de ce type connus pour l’ensemble du monde antique. Enfin, la qualité de l’exécution ainsi que le lieu même de la découverte, à l’écart de tout centre connu ou de construction antiques interrogent sur la destination de cet objet. Une simple fonction de cadran solaire étonne en effet sur un site aussi isolé. L’hypothèse qu’il provienne d’une pile funéraire servant de marqueur topographique sur une hauteur proche d’une voie publique romaine, sur un point critique aux confins des cités antiques d’Aix et de Fréjus est proposée.

Svetlana Gapochenko and Halina Khlyap
Aesthetic principles in history of physics
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.112688

The crucial role of aesthetic principles ‒ beauty, harmony (as the unity of everything in existence) and symmetry (as a mathematical method for the description of harmony) ‒ in the development of physical models of the universe from Ancient Greece until recently is discussed hereunder. Moreover, a heuristic role of aesthetic principles, especially regarding symmetry, in the discovery of new laws of nature is revealed. Since the beginning of the 20th century a new methodology of science has been formed: to discover new laws of nature, assuming that they possess the certain invariance. The history of physics very much allows for revealing an interdependence of epistemological and aesthetical aspects of physics and could be regarded as one of the ways to instill an holistic view of nature among students of high technical schools.

Almagest: Vol. VIII, Issue 1

Table of Contents and Abstracts, Almagest 8-1, May 2017

Eduard I. Kolchinsky
Nikolaĭ I. Vavilov in the realm of historical and scientific discussions
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.113696

The modern literature about Nikolai I. Vavilov is analyzed, placing recent attempts to blame Vavilov and to exonerate Lysenko within their social, political and intellectual contexts. We examine the evolution of a historical narrative about Vavilov’s activities and his confrontation with Lysenko as well as the main arguments advanced by Lysenko’s apologists. The paper argues that a distinction must be made, between Lysenkoism, as a set of concepts and theories, and Lysenkovshchina, as the social practice of trying to prevail over other competing research groups by appealing to the Party-State administration. The rise of anti-scientific sentiments among the ruling elites and the general public, along with a growing influence of religious fundamentalism, provide the context for the revival of Lysenkoism. To some extent, the revival of Lysenkoism can also be explained by certain academic traditions of Russian biologists. Neolysenkovshina is a purely social and economic and ideologo-political phenomenon, but not a scientific one. Authors who write pro-Lysenkoist books are guided by various motives, but they all fail to grasp the essence of the historical and scientific events associated with "the Lysenko and Vavilov affair”.

René Sigrist , Alexander Moutchnik
Les fondements sociaux du premier essor de la botanique en Russie, 1700-1830
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.113697

It is a well-known fact that the development of academic botany in Russia was stimulated by a series of expeditions set up to explore the natural resources of the Empire. This article aims at completing the usual picture by considering other categories of actors, who studied plants in their relations to pharmacy, agriculture and “Gartenkunst”. As often in Russia, the State played a crucial role in that process, notably by promoting the art of gardens (“Gartenkunst”), but also through its interest for the improvement of agriculture and forestry, and its support to pharmacy. Yet, these imperial initiatives would have produced nothing without the backing of a group of noblemen who started to imitate the examples set up at Tsarskoë Selo. Beyond the creation of pleasure gardens, with the help of foreign designers, a rising class of landowners, gathered after 1765 in the “Free Economic Society”, became indeed interested in the development of a profitable agriculture. Some of its members, such as Prokofij Demidov or Alexej Razumovskij, also collected exotic plants and even set up impressive botanic gardens. Another group of actors were the pharmacists and physicians, whose practical approach illustrated the government policy in matters of health care, and therefore benefited from its institutional support. Until the end of the 18th century, the pharmacy gardens were the main centers for the study of plants throughout Russia. At some point, even military schools introduced practical botany in their curriculum. Later on, the main interest of physicians and pharmacists shifted away towards chemistry. “Scientific” botany, which had long suffered from mismanagement at the Imperial Academy of Science, finally took off in the first years of the 19th century with the organization of new institutes in St. Petersburg and the creation of new university chairs – and gardens – at Dorpat, Kazan and Kharkov. This renewed context brought its support to the development of botany as an autonomous discipline.

Noël Golvers
Circulation of knowledge between Europe and China in the 17th-18th centuries: The role of material objects, from gadgets to instruments
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.113698

In the multiform circulation of knowledge from Europe to China, also objects had a special role often ignored so far, as its materialization, carrying knowledge (as e.g. books are doing), visualizing (diagrams) or producing it (instruments), or being subject to practices and techniques. As such, the various forms of these objects rose –according to the social context in which they circulate in China– amazement or excitement (“voluptas”) and intellectual curiosity, or produced public profit (“usus”). In this first, tentative overview I start from a selection of 6 representative texts (lists), covering the period up to the first half of the 18th century included, which results in a typological scheme, and the subdivision over 7 classes. Among these, I focused especially on the instruments and other devices (tools, etc.), for their central role in the transmission of Western technology, in astronomy, hydraulics, ballistics, mechanics, even medicine. The most advanced European houses of production (Chapotot, Borelly, etc.) are appearing, proving indiscriminately that the technology transmitted by the Jesuits to China was in principle “up-to-date”; it’s introduction happened also in close interaction with the presence and use of technical manuals. This will be further analyzed in a later contribution.

Christián C. Carman
Heraclides of Pontus on the Solar Anomaly
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.113699

All scholars agree that Heraclides of Pontus affirmed the daily rotation of the Earth on its own axis. Almost all scholars also agree that he did not affirm the rotation of the Earth around the Sun. Nevertheless, there is a text which has been interpreted as asserting that Heraclides defended Heliocentrism. Geminos says: ”And thus a certain person, Heraclides of Pontus, coming forward, says that even if the Earth moves in a certain way and the Sun is in a certain way at rest, the apparent irregularity with regard to the Sun can be saved”. This text has been used to support that Heraclides held Heliocentrism because the diurnal rotation of the Earth cannot account for the solar anomaly (the apparent irregularity with regard to the Sun). Hence it seems that Heraclides must have introduced the annual revolution around the Sun. In this paper I offer a new interpretation of this text showing that it is possible to explain the non-uniform motion of the Sun through the Zodiac introducing some non-uniformity in the diurnal rotation of the Earth and, therefore, that there is no need to affirm that Heraclides held Heliocentrism, which is in clear contradiction to many other testimonies.

Book reviews

Dimitris Koilakos
Jimena Canales, The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate that Changed our Understanding of Time, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2015, 429 pages
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.113700

Efthymios Nicolaidis
Alexander Jones, A portable Cosmos. Revealing the Antikythera Mechanism, Scientific Wonder of the Ancient World, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2017. 228 pages, illustrations and index
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.113701

Almagest: Vol. VIII, Issue 2

Thematic Volume
Science and Orthodox Christianity
Table of Contents and Abstracts, Almagest 8-2, November 2017

Efthymios Nicolaidis

Following the expansion during the last three decades of “Science-Religion” studies, the last ten years have seen an effort to develop this field as far as it concerns Orthodox Christianity, an area which was neglected and even ignored by the community of historians of science.
In order to not repeat clichés or preconceived ideas about the relationships between science and Orthodox Christianity, access to the sources is needed. To implement part of this goal, an interdisciplinary team was organised in 2012 at the Institute of Historical Research / National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece. The aim of the team was to gather Greek language sources about the subject and offer relevant metadata in English.
As in the case of Western Christianity, much of the contemporary literature about the relationships between Eastern Christianity and science is produced by writers belonging to the religious and/or political sphere. Therefore, in these works apologetic and polemical views prevail. Historiographical notions about complexity and reading the texts in context are not the rule for most of the writers. Offering the sources to researchers and to the interested public is but one step. To situate these sources in their historical context and relate them to their philological and philosophical tradition is the next one.
The Narses (Nature and Religion in Southeastern European Space) project ( , funded by the Greek National Strategic Reference Framework Programme), tried to fulfil part of these two steps by developing a database of the Greek sources and by commenting on them in relevant articles, books, conferences and workshops. The SOW (Science and Orthodoxy around the World) project ( , funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation) is expanding the research by developing a database of all languages used by Orthodox Christianity, by encouraging relevant publications, by organising conferences and other events in order to discuss the attitudes of Orthodox Christianity towards science today, and by promoting an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. Science and religion studies is a field where historians of science, philosophers, theologians, scientists and thinkers can and must meet.

The present thematic issue of Almagest presents some historical aspects of the relations between science and religion focusing on Orthodox Christianity. An introductory article by John Hedley Brooke and Ronald L. Numbers is exploring what happens when we try to incorporate the disparate religious traditions of the world into some kind of coherent narrative about science and religion. Anne Laurence Caudano’s article presents an intriguing anonymous cosmographical work that appears in a range of Byzantine and Slavic manuscripts dating from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. This brief text departs from other Byzantine scholarly works published at the time by upholding, rather curiously, that the earth has the shape of an egg. Michael H. Shank presents unknown aspects of the conflict between Cardinal Bessarion, a former Greek Orthodox metropolitan, and George of Trebizond. This conflict involved Ptolemy’s Almagest and shaped the history of astronomy through the writings and career of Regiomontanus. M. Shank argues that these conflicts mixed powerfully with geopolitics and religion. Flora Vafea deals with art, science and religion by presenting the astronomical instruments in Saint Catherine’s iconography at the Holy Monastery of Sinai.Tomislav Petković presents the role that the notion and epistemological interpretation of God played in Roger Joseph Bošković's work and thinking on natural philosophy. Due to his origin, Bošković is a pretty rare example of a Jesuit having been influenced by Eastern Christianity. This thematic issue concludes with an article by Kostas Tampakis dealing with the seminal influence of the Orthodox Church and the Orthodox tradition on the Greek State, from its foundation to the beginning of World War II.
These articles are the reworked versions of papers presented at the International Conference “Science and Religion” organised September 3-5, 2015 in Athens, Greece. The other papers of the Conference are open access publications on the web available at the following page:

John Hedley Brooke and Ronald L. Numbers
Into all the world: Expanding the history of science and religion beyond the Abrahamic faiths
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.114929

This essay explores what happens when we try to incorporate the disparate religions traditions of the world into some kind of coherent narrative about science and religion. Unfortunately, there is no simple pattern, in part because notions of “science” and “religion” vary so much from culture to culture. Indeed, as the cultural historian David Livingstone once suggested, a precoccupation with how the relations between science and religion have been constructed in different societies might betray “a local Western perspective that is imperiously imposed on the rest of the world”. What we do know is that within one and the same religious tradition (whether Abrahamic or non-Abrahamic) there can be resources both for the encouragement and obstruction of the sciences.

Anne-Laurence Caudano
Cosmography, asceticism and female patronage in Late Byzantine and Slavic Miscellanies
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.114930

An intriguing anonymous cosmographical work appears in a range of Byzantine and Slavic manuscripts dating from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. This brief text – from three to eight folios depending on the codex – departs from other Byzantine scholarly works published at the time by upholding, rather curiously among other things, that the earth was oval, in the shape of an egg. Judging by the number of manuscripts – more than forty manuscripts for the Byzantine and Slavic world together – this cosmography was popular. The manuscript tradition is rather complex, however. Several versions of the text circulated and appear in a variety of manuscript contexts, from astronomical to ascetic compilations. Two of these ascetic codices will be the primary focus of this analysis: the Byzantine codex Scorialensis Φ III–11 (14th century) and the Serbian Miscellany of Gorica, or Goricki Zbornik (1441/1442). These manuscripts have been selected for several reasons. Firstly, the presence of a cosmographical text in an ascetic compilation illuminates quite well the place of elementary scientific knowledge in an Orthodox context. Secondly, each of these codices belonged to the aristocratic abbesses of a Byzantine and a Serbian convent: the Scorialensis belonged to Princess Irene-Eulogia Choumnaina (1291–d. c. 1355), patron of the Philantropos Soter monastery in Constantinople, and the Zbornik to the Nemanjid princess Jelena Balšić (d. 1443), who founded the Church of the Holy Mother of God on Gorica Island. Therefore, these codices are also remarkable illustrations of the kind of scientific knowledge available to nuns in Orthodox convents. Yet, what may originally appear as a strong commonality between two manuscripts should not lead us astray. Not only do these codices reproduce two different versions of the cosmography, but these versions also appear in very different contexts in the manuscripts, and thereby fulfill different objectives. While the cosmographical text contributed to medical knowledge in Irene’s codex; in Jelena’s case, the same cosmography belonged to a spiritual journey. Hence, and thirdly, these manuscripts are also good examples of the versatility of a text that was adopted for, and adaptable to, different didactic purposes.

Michael H. Shank
The Almagest, politics, and apocalypticism in the conflict between George of Trebizond and Cardinal Bessarion
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.114931

In the mid-15th c., the conflict between Cardinal Bessarion, former Greek orthodox metropolitan, and the Cretan-born George of Trebizond is best known for its philosophical dimensions. Crucially, however, it also involved serious tensions associated with Ptolemy’s Almagest that shaped the history of astronomy through the writings and career of Regiomontanus. These conflicts eventually mixed powerfully with geopolitics and religion. In two letters to Mehmed II, George of Trebizond used his commentary on and translation of the Almagest to entice the Conqueror to convert to Christianity, take Rome, become the World Emperor, and thus hasten the end of time. The reactions of Bessarion and his circle to the letters in turn extended the controversy over the Almagest. This chapter concludes by arguing that the condemnation of George of Trebizond’s views and letters is the context of the scene on the left side of Piero della Francesca’s “Flagellation of Christ.”

Flora Vafea
The astronomical instruments in Saint Catherine’s iconography at the Holy Monastery of Sinai
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.114932

The aim of this paper is to highlight the scientific instruments depicted in the icons of St. Catherine at the Holy Monastery of Sinai. St. Catherine, who became a martyr at the beginning of the 4th c., was of aristocratic decent and well educated. In the iconography up to 16th c., she is depicted standing and dressed with imperial garments, holding a cross in her hand. The Cretan school of iconography inaugurated a new model; the earliest known icon is that of the iconostasis of the Katholikon by Jeremiah Palladas (1612), where St. Catherine is depicted sitting, wearing a Venetian dress and surrounded by the wheel of her martyrdom and several symbols of wisdom, among them a fine elaborated astronomical instrument.
This instrument is composed of two different elements: a celestial globe and a system of nested spheres according to the Ptolemaic model of the world.
The celestial globe is close to that described by Geminos (~1st c. BC) and Leontius (7th c. AD). The equator, the tropics, the arctic and antarctic circles, and the zodiac divided into zodiacal signs are depicted in detail. The celestial sphere rests on a stand with a meridian and a horizontal ring.
The system of the concentric nested spheres has the Earth in the centre followed by the spheres of Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and that of the fixed stars.
Other detailed celestial globes are drawn in icons by Ioannis Cornaros in 1780. The tradition of drawing astronomical instruments near St. Catherine is found not only in numerous icons, but also in copper engravings and embroideries, stored in the Monastery.

Tomislav Petković
R. J. Bošković as European Scientist and Theologian at Work on the Bridges between “Science & Religion”: Essay on Bošković’s top concept and epistemological interpretation of God
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.1149233

The notion and epistemological interpretation of God played a quintessential role in Bošković's work and thinking on natural philosophy (Roger Joseph Boscovich, Dubrovnik, 18 May 1711 – Milano, 13 February 1787). On the spiritual bridges between contemporary science and religion, this is astonishingly still a fundamental as well as an ultimate question. Bošković had perceived the question to be the most difficult challenge and he added theology in the form of an Appendix relating to metaphysics under the title The Mind and God (Anima & Deo) to his life's work: A Theory of Natural Philosophy. He considered the notion of God and proofs of the existence of God from the contingency of the world. This means existence which does not have a genuine cause and its own necessity according to the medieval latin contingentia (germ. Kontingenz) as a result of both the concept of chance (Zufall) and possibility (Möglichkeit) in theology that provides a cosmological foundation of God’s existence that emerges just from the world. In Christian metaphysics the non–contingent being is God himself. Bošković was also acting on such a thought horizon. He asked about the order of infinity: what number of combinations are related to the constitution and aim of the Universe? He answered mathematically: to the highest order, with respect to infinity of the kind to which belongs the infinity of any straight line which can be extended infinitely in both directions. Bošković considered the existence of the human determining will against that of a Supreme Founder. Man determines within the limits of human knowledge (the laws of Nature), whereas God (Infinite Founder of Nature) overcomes all the rest which is undetermined – uncertain. Bošković, here, had rejected Leibniz’s line of thinking because the idea of the best (pre-established harmony) of all possible worlds suffers a mathematical objection: amongst the possible there is no last term. A totality of all possible worlds can be comprehended and wisely overwhelmed merely by the Naturae Auctor, by his unique creation of the real world. Therefore, it cannot be argued as to argument against him whether he could or not make the world better. Or, perhaps, whether or not he already, did! According to Bošković, the idea that the Universe was produced by fortuitous chance or some necessity of fate were just empty phrases. In the arrangement of Nature, the Divine Founder of Nature has shown such great foresight and beneficence, but why didn’t he present himself to us through a revelation? However, if this had taken place done – Bošković concluded, it would not be a part of natural philosophy, as it would exceeding the basis of his capital Theory of Natural Philosophy. On the bridges between science and religion, Bošković had rejected the feign hypothesis, like Newton before him, particularly the view on the twofold truth: something may be true in philosophy of nature, but false in theology or vice versa. Boscovichianism, in this respect, has fortunately remained super partes in his own work. The addenda provide a selection and comments of the notions and expressions (names) of God in Newton’s Principia as well as in Boscovich’s Theory in a coherent way, by accounting for the interaction of contemporary science and religion.

Kostas Tampakis
Orthodoxy and science in the Greek State (1830-1939)
DOI: 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.114934

Scholarship on science and religion is almost as old as modern historiography itself, being both products of the 19th century. Seventy years separate J. W. Draper’s History of the conflict between science and religion (1895) and A. D. White’s A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896), from Von Ranke’s Geschichte der romanischen und germanischen Völker von 1494 bis 1514, first published in 1824. It is thus perhaps fitting that the 19th century has prominently featured in historical scholarship on science and religion. It was after all, the century of Charles Darwin, Ernst Haeckel and Thomas Huxley, not to mention the devoutly Christian Michael Faraday and James Maxwell. And yet, as in most other periods and places, historical scholarship on the relationship between science and Eastern Orthodox Christianity during the 19th century is painfully scarce. This paper aims to describe the findings of project NARSES, inaugurated in 2012 to address exactly this question, as they apply to the first century of the Greek state‘s existence, from 1832 to 1939. After a brief introduction to scientific practice and the Greek Orthodox Church during this period, the article focuses firstly at the agents of public discourse concerning science and Orthodox Christianity during the first century of the Greek state. It then discusses the various points of contact, either polemical, friendly or asymptotic, between science and Orthodoxy during the same period. Finally, the article discusses some possible ways the findings of project NARSES interact with current historiographic considerations.

Almagest: Vol. IX, Issue 1

Table of Contents and Abstracts, Almagest 9-1, May 2018

Noël Golvers
Mathematical instruction at the Colégio das Artes in Coimbra: Adam Aigenler’s ‘rota astronomica’ (1672)
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116016

Two completely different sources report, with some details, on the composition of a ‘rota astronomica’ by Adam Aigenler, SJ, within the context of his teaching mathematics at the Colégio das Artes in Coimbra during the academic year 1672-1673; the original concept consisted of a demonstrational instrument and its description, carved in a copper plate, never used for printing, and an autograph transcription, both apparently lost in the 1860s. Yet, Aigenler’s work resurfaces in an expanded Chinese version, now in the form of a celestial atlas with 14 star maps, printed in Chinese, and referring to its original author under the wrong name *Rigenler; also this is lost in the 1860s. Despite this loss, it remains a rare, interesting example of the didactical methods and tools developed and used both by this Jesuit mathematician (whose work remained so far largely ignored due to wrong catalogue entries [*Rigenler; *Aigenter]), and the Jesuit ‘Indipetae’ in general during their extra-curricular (?) courses at the Colégio das Artes, of which A. Thomas’s almost simultaneous Synopsis Mathematica is another testimony.

Oscar Sheynin
“Saint Fedos”:A biography of Feodosy Nikolaevich Krasovsky (1878 – 1948)
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116017

The title of this paper was the nickname of a talented geodesist, Feodosy Nikolaevich Krasovsky (1878 – 1948) which his students awarded him for his scientific work. He transformed and to a large extent created Soviet geodesy and assisted in the development of this science abroad. Krasovsky created a school and, until his death, remained its recognized leader.
Thus, he developed a harmonious programme and scheme of the main triangulation of a large country and a rigorous method of its mathematical treatment. Together with his former student, the younger great scientist Mikhail Sergeevich Molodensky (1909 – 1991), Krasovsky (just as eminent foreign scholars as well) emphasized the need for applying gravimetry in studies of the figure of the Earth. The parameters of the Krasovsky ellipsoid,
a = 6 378 245m, α = (a – b)/a = 1/298.3
which Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Izotov calculated under Krasovsky’s guidance, had been the best possible for that time. During the last years of his life, Krasovsky studied the problems of physical geodesy and its connections with geophysics and geology.
I have graduated from the Moscow Geodetic Institute in 1951 as an astronomer geodesist, and Victor Vasilievich Danilov, whose essay on Krasovsky I am quoting below, was the supervisor, or mentor of my diploma. During my student years, Feodosy Nikolaevich Krasovsky did not read lectures anymore, but his name had been on the lips of our instructors.

Fotios Prapas
Elements from the cosmology of Saint Maximus the Confessor: Man as mediator of salvation of cosmos
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116018

St. Maximus the Confessor’s cosmology differentiates from earlier theological contemplations, just as those of Dionysius the Areopagite and Gregory of Nazianzus, in a sense that it is characterized by intense anthropological character. For Maximus the Confessor the central idea concerning his cosmology is the concept of salvation. Man having the precedence in creation is called by God to mediate in the undertaking of restoration and redemption of himself and cosmos as well, abolishing the creation’s divisions calling for a uninterrupted unity of everything according to the love pattern of life of Holy Trinity. The from eternity logoi of the beings (λόγοι τῶν ὄντων) reflect God’s creating will and necessitate the whole creation an image of Holy Trinity. Specifically, for man, the reason of his nature (ὁ λόγος τῆς φύσεώς του) constitutes the guiding principle according to which recapitulating in man person as an image of God to mediate as a priest through love and in freedom, apart from his own salvation, for the creation of the world as well. The unrivalled experience of love relationship and the course towards the deification meets primarily in the worship of Church and mostly in the mystery of Holy Eucharist.

Antonios N. Andriotis
The theory of “Πανταχηκίνητον” (Pantachikiniton) of Benjamin Lesvios
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116019

In the present work, we present the conclusions of our investigation about “Πανταχηκίνητον” (Pantachikiniton), the model theory of physics, proposed by Benjamin Lesvios, a Greek physicist and philosopher (1759/1762 – 1824). Our work is a systematic study of Pantachikiniton based on an exhaustive study of existing manuscripts.
It is demonstrated that Pantachikiniton is a complete and original theory of physics, which reconciles newtonian and cartesian components in a way reminiscent the dual nature of light and that of the energy. In addition to this, it has been found that the theory of Pantachikiniton is a self-consistent theory with a tightly bound internal structure.
Pantachikiniton itself appears to be one of the earliest identifications of the physical quantity of the energy integrating elements of its dual character, i.e., the corpuscular and the wave one. As a consequence of this, Pantachikiniton has the inherent property of universality. Gravity, electric, magnetic and luminous fluids, as well as the heat and sound fluids appear to be manifestations of one and only one quantity, the Pantachikiniton, i.e., the energy.

Kai Wang
Scientific Gentry and Socialisation of Western Science in China’s Modernisation during ‘Self-strengthening’ Movement (1860-1895)
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116020

This article offers an investigation of the social settings within which socialisation of modern science in the later imperial China was initialised by the newly emerged social players, namely the scientific gentry, during the period of ‘Self-strengthening’ Movement (1860-1895). Sociological perspectives are deployed in historical examination of the roles played by scientific knowledge in structuring social life in China, with particular attention being paid to how the traditional gentry adopting modern science and technology in preserving its status as the ruling class, which gave rise to the scientific gentry while the country entered the modern era. Scientific knowledge production and curation are thus perceived in the broader cultural and institutional background of China’s confrontation with modernity.
Beyond delineating modern science and technology adopted by the gentry as self-strengthening device, I argue that more fundamental impacts were brought forth to China’s social structure as scientific knowledge became socialised. The findings shed new lights to our understanding of relationship between socialisation of modern science and modernisation of China’s society, both shall serve as prominent objectives in studies of science and society in China as composing part of world history.

Evgeny Zaytsev
The Priority of Object over Method in Early Greek Mathematics”
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116021

In modern mathematics, whose origins date back to the seventeenth century, method takes priority over the object, as the generality of method (which relies on a set of axioms and the laws of formal logic, applicable to any kind of objects whatsoever) implies the generality of the studied object. This epistemological attitude was alien to Greek mathematics, in which the generality of method did not necessarily mean the general character of its object. This is manifest, e.g., in Euclid’s Elements, where the axiomatic-deductive method does not eradicate the particularity of the studied objects: numbers, lengths, plane figures, and solids. The aim of this paper consists in showing that in the early stages of Greek mathematics, when axiomatic-deductive way of argumentation was still unknown, object took priority over method in the sense that an investigation was not accomplished according to a definite method, fixed in advance, but rather relied upon methods that were suggested, in each particular case, by the structure of the appropriate objects. I will examine such a state of affairs by proposing reconstructions of archaic demonstrations of theorems taken from early geometry, arithmetic, and the theory of ratios and proportions.

Almagest: Vol. IX, Issue 2

Table of Contents and Abstracts, Almagest 9-2, November 2018

John Hedley Brooke
Orthodoxy and Science: Varieties of Engagement and Indifference
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116767
Many attempts have been made to produce a viable taxonomy for the possible relations between scientific and religious thought. Of these the most widely discussed is that of Ian Barbour, whose categories of conflict, independence, integration and dialogue have provided a structure helpful to many as they enter this field of study. Critics have stressed the need for supplementary models, historians in particular calling for more nuanced analysis. In this paper I suggest that, in many general discussions of “science and religion”, a relationship of indifference is neglected. I also suggest that the Orthodox tradition may provide helpful case-studies of circumstances in which a religious indifference to the sciences may arise. Four main reasons for indifference are identified.

Dimitris Kilakos
Religion and ideological confrontations in early Soviet mathematics: The case of P.A. Nekrasov
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116768
The influence of religious beliefs to several leading mathematicians in early Soviet years, especially among members of the Moscow Mathematical Society, had drawn the attention of militant Soviet marxists, as well as Soviet authorities. The issue has also drawn significant attention from scholars in the post-Soviet period. According to the currently prevailing interpretation, reported purges against Moscow mathematicians due to their religious inclination are the focal point of the relevant history. However, I maintain that historical data arguably offer reasons to cast reasonable doubts on this interpretation. In this paper, by reviewing the relevant literature, I raise some methodological and philosophical concerns, in an attempt to contribute to a better understanding of the issue. I maintain that an efficient line of reasoning is to discuss issues in the context of their making, taking into consideration the specific features of each era’s culture. Thus, by focusing on P.A. Nekrasov’s case, I attempt to point to an alternative interpretation, in which the different treatment of religious inclined mathematicians by Soviet authorities is explained in the context of the ideological confrontation between two contrasting worldviews, as part of the ongoing class war in the several phases of Soviet history.

Chris Howell
The Rose and the Stag. An American Orthodox Converstation on Modernity, Science, and Biblical Interpretation
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116769
Though the Orthodox in America remain a small minority, two figures have nevertheless exerted great influence on Christianity both within and without the United States. The monk Seraphim Rose and the theologian David Bentley Hart may seem at first to have little in common, but they agree on one foundational issue: that modernity is essentially nihilistic, the result of the modern world’s inexorable slide away from Christianity into “nothingness.” However, though they share this diagnosis of what ails the modern world, they differ wildly in their solution to it. Rose was deeply hostile to ecumenism and evolutionary biology, finding refuge in a creationism he thought backed by the Church Fathers. Conversely, Hart argues there is only hope in ecumenical unity, and he rejects creationism and Intelligent Design, arguing instead for the classical doctrine of creatio ex nihilo and a biblical hermeneutic based not on literalism but reading ad litteram.

Anne Tihon
Le diagramme des horizons et les prosneuses des éclipses dans l’astronomie de Ptolémée
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116770
This paper analyses the horizon diagram in Ptolemy’s Almagest and in the Handy Tables. In both works this diagram is used only for the calculation of the prosneusis in an eclipse. The aim of such a calculation is not clear : one has suggested some astrological purpose, or ancient meteorological theory. The paper examines the prosneusis calculations given by Theon of Alexandria and by some Byzantine authors : Stephanos, Barlaam, Nicephorus Gregoras, Theodorus Meliteniotes. For each calculation a figure is drawn showing the angles obtained for the prosneusis and the positions of Sun and Moon at the different moments of the eclipse. In each case this figure is very similar to a modern diagram showing the scheme of the eclipse, but inverted, as seen in a reflecting surface such as a basin full of some liquid. So one can suggest that the prosneusis calculation was intended to give a precise account of the phases of the eclipse, perhaps with help of a figure reproducing the phenomenon as seen by the observer.

Noël Golvers
New Jesuit testimonies from the Far East on the comet of March 1668: the diary of Visitor Luis da Gama (Macau) and a letter of Ferdinand Verbiest (Peking)
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116771
A fragment of a handwritten private diary from a Jesuit in Macau (1668) contains, among others, a first person description of the ‘sungrazing’ comet of March 1668. Although not made by a expert observer, it confirms that the simultaneous description, given by Ferdinand Verbiest, SJ, living in Peking, 2000 km. more to the North, was indeed of this comet (see Almagest 2014); both testimonies should therefore be added as authentic complementary evidence for the study of this historical comet, which was described incompletely, on far distant places on the globe, mostly by Jesuit observers within an intercontinental network of observations.

Andrei Vasilescu, Magda Stavinschi
1877- Henri Poincaré : le voyage d’étude et la fabrication de l’acier dans le Banat
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116772
Le présent article traite principalement de l'histoire du voyage d’Henri Poincaré dans la région minière de Banat.
En 1877, Henri Poincaré, élève à l'École des Mines de Paris, a effectué le voyage d’étude obligatoire de trois mois, à la fin de la seconde année des études. Le long itinéraire du voyage (Paris, Vienne, Prague, Cracovie, Trieste, Gènes) inclut aussi la région industrielle de la ville Reşiţa de Banat, conclut avec le « Mémoire sur la fabrication de l'acier dans le Banat ». Ce mémoire, une véritable monographie technique à l'organisation rigoureuse, nous révèle l'esprit du jeune chercheur, ses connaissances théoriques et met en valeur aussi son intérêt pour tous les aspects techniques. En même temps quelques aspects de la vie des ouvriers des exploitations minières et des usines métallurgiques sont présentés. Le texte est illustré par des tableaux, des planches et des dessins à l’échelle. Le mémoire a une valeur inestimable pour l’histoire de techniques métallurgiques, spécialement pour la Roumanie.

This paper deals mainly with the history of Henri Poincaré's trip to a mining region of Banat. In 1877, Henri Poincaré, in those times student at the “École des Mines” in Paris, went on a compulsory three-months study trip, at the end of the second year of studies. His travel route was passing through Paris, Vienna, Prague, Krakow, Trieste, Genoa included the industrial region of the city of Resita in the Romanian Banat. His visit in Banat concludes with a travel report entitled « Mémoire sur la fabrication de l'acier dans le Banat » (Report on the manufacture of steel in Banat). This manuscript is a real technical monograph, reveals us the young researcher Poincaré, who proves the depth of theoretical knowledge, the rigour in the organization of his writing and his interest in technical aspects. It the same time, he presents some aspects of the living conditions of workers in mining and metallurgical plants in that period. The text is illustrated with tables, boards and scale drawings. This technical report is invaluable for the history of metallurgical techniques, especially in Romania.

Book Reviews
Tuncay Zorlu
Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Osmanlı Bilim Mirası (Ottoman Scientific Heritage)
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116773
Stefano Daniele
C. Guerra, Lavoisier e Parthenope. Contributo ad una storia della chimica del Regno di Napoli
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116774
Gianna Katsiampoura
Costas V. Krimbas, The Darwinism in Greece
DOI 10.1484/J.ALMAGEST.5.116775