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The Thing You Want to Know About Chinese Science


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#16 vinceliang

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 10:59 PM

History of Telecopes in China

As I said that the Chinese invented the telescope in the Sung Dynasty. As of this technology, the table turned to the West since the industrial revolution. But not the tables have turned back to China.

On December 2008, China has already begun building the worlds largest radio telescope. It is a Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in a remote southwest region on Friday.

The dish-like telescope, as large as 30 football fields, will stand in a region of typical Karst depressions in Guizhou Province when it's done in 2013.

Karst depressions are usually located in regions plentiful in limestone and dolomite, where groundwater has enlarged openings to form a subsurface drainage system.

The facility will greatly improve China's capacity for astronomical observation, according to the National Astronomical Observatory (NAO), the major developer of the program.

FAST's main spherical reflector will be composed of 4,600 panels. Its observation sensitivity will be 10 times more powerful than the 100-m aperture steerable radio telescope in Germany. Its overall capacity will be 10 times larger than what is now the world's largest (300 m) Arecibo radio telescope developed by the United States, according to Nan Rendong, the chief scientist of the project and an NAO researcher.

The project, costing more than 700 million yuan (102.3 million U.S. dollars), will allow international astronomers and scientists to discover more of the secrets of the universe based on cutting-edge technologies, said Zhang Haiyan, an NAO official in charge of construction.

Scientists have so far observed only 1,760 pulsars, which are strongly magnetized spinning cores of dead stars. With the help of FAST, they could find as many as 7,000 to 10,000 within a year, Nan said.

Pulsars have allowed scientists to make several major discoveries, such as confirmation of the existence of gravitational radiation as predicted by the theory of general relativity.

FAST could also be a highly sensitive passive radar to monitor satellites and space debris, which would be greatly helpful for China's ambitious space program.

The telescope could also help to look for other civilizations by detecting and studying communication signals in the universe.

Chinese scientists and officials selected Dawodang, Pingtang County as the site, where a Karst valley will match the shape of the huge bowl-like astronomical instrument.

The sparsely populated, underdeveloped region will provide a quiet environment to ensure the electromagnetic waves, the crucial requirement of operation, are not interrupted by human activities.

Construction of a new residential area about 60 km away also began on Friday to relocate 12 households. By 2013, when the telescope is to be in operation, all 61 farmers will move to their new houses in Kedu town, with farmland allocated by the government.

"The project is beyond my imagination. I'm glad to see that an ordinary old guy like me could contribute to the country's science program," said Yang Chaoli, 68.

On June 2009 China built the world's finest optical telescope . scan 10 million celestial spectra in the coming five-to-six years, one of the world's most ambitious astronomical endeavors to record key data betraying how the universe was formed.

The Chinese government, which awarded the 235 million-yuan (34 million U.S. dollars) contract to a consortium of elite astronomers and engineers, officially unveiled Thursday the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST), the biggest telescope of its kind in the world.

The research team, led by Cui Xiangqun, a world-renowned active optics expert who heads the Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), made a breakthrough in synchronized movements of 24 hexagonal mirrors of a Schmidt reflecting corrector, which is used to track celestial bodies for scientific analyses.

Cui and her team even made each mirror piece, 1.1 meters in diametrical length, capable of deformation for more precise targeting and error correction in observations. Light from celestial bodies are reflected to a bigger spherical mirror, made up of 37 same-sized hexagonal mirrors in a similar way.

With the 3.6-meter-aperture reflector and the 4.9-meter-aperture spherical mirror, together with a focal plane mounted with 4,000 optical fibers, all cutting-edge technologies, scientists, could ascertain spectra of 2.5 million fixed stars, 2.5 million galaxies, 1.5 million brighter cluster galaxies and one million quasi-stellar objects, mostly in the north celestial sphere.

All the 10 million spectra are expected to be completed within five-to-six years, Cui said, adding that the data would be subsequently accessible to global scientists.

Spectra are key for astronomers to read celestial bodies' chemical composition, density, atmosphere and magnetism. So far, the science community have found the existence of billions of celestial bodies, but have only managed to collect spectra of about one in every 10,000 of them.

The ambitious goal of collecting so much data encouraged Cui and her team to overcome the obstacles making a super large telescope that has both a big aperture and wide field of view.

Inspired by her mentor Su Dingqiang, a leading Chinese astronomer who is also a prestigious CAS member, the 58-year-old Cui combined a 15-story-high scope, missile silo-like observatory tower on top of a 960-meter hill 170 kilometers northeast of Beijing.

During observation nights, the upper parts of the lower dome are removed and starlight is reflected from the mirror up through the 40-meter tube to the primary mirror.

The light of space is fed into the front ends of optical fibers positioned on a focal plane, before real-time data are recorded into spectrographs fixed in a room underneath.

Dr. R. N. Wilson wrote in an e-mail to Cui, his former colleague at the European Southern Observatory, that LAMOST "embodies every aspect of the most advanced and modern telescope technology."

Before LAMOST, the American Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) had been the most powerful spectra-collecting optical telescope. Installed in a New Mexican astronomical station, SDSS has an aperture of 2.5 meters.

In recent months, Cui's huge telescope managed to capture more than 3,600 spectra in each of the four trials on clear Spring nights.

"We're quite comfortable with the scans," Cui said. "Most of the time, we shot the targets exactly, if not hitting the bull's eyes."

University of Chicago Prof. Donald York, founding director of SDSS, said in an e-mail interview with Xinhua that the data for well-positioned fibers of LAMOST looked "very good."

York, however, said that precise calibrated data in wavelength and absolute flux of the celestial bodies cannot be done until the telescope's fiber positioning becomes "perfect" after debugging.

California Institute of Technology astronomer Richard Ellis said, "A large telescope is one of the best examples of what a civilization does well, and I think here we look at the LAMOST now and we see what China has done."

Cui said Chinese scientists might consider building a similar big telescope on Antarctica, to gain wider and clearer cosmic view.

http://news.xinhuane...nt_10563849.htm
http://news.xinhuane...nt_11487867.htm

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#17 vinceliang

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 04:33 AM

Who invented the sunglasses?

Most people don't know it but the Chinese were the ones who invented sunglasses. Sunglasses aready existed since the 12th Century. In 1300's Chinese judges wore them to cover their eye expressions in court. The lenses were of smoke-colored quartz. Marco Polo records in his account that officals wore sunglasses. This technology was brought to Italy in 1430.

http://www.chinahist...showtopic=15397
http://www.ideafinde.../sunglasses.htm

Edited by vinceliang, 13 August 2009 - 05:30 AM.

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#18 Howard Fu

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 08:04 AM

The foundation of mordern science and mathematics would definitely be laid by China.

Newtons first law of motion: Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.

This law was not stated on the 17th century but the 18th century.

Yet in the 3rd or 4th Century BC the book of Mo Ching states: The cessation of motion is due to the opposing force ... If there is no opposing force ... the motion will never stop. This is as true as that an ox is not a horse.

Newton was 2 melleniums behind.

As for Galileo who claims to be the inventor of the telescope. The Army of the Sung Dynasty were already using the telescope to spot their artillery. There are also records that it existed during the Yuan Dynasty.

http://bbs.chinadail...h...tra=&page=3
http://www.chinahist...mp;hl=telescope
http://www.chinahist...mp;hl=telescope

I don't really buy into the Aristotle vs Galileo, logic vs mythic, experiment vs experience version of scientific development. The biggest difference between modern science and medieval science was quantitative method. Were the ancient Chinese, Indian, Arabian etc really so stupid that nobody ever think of the possible reasons of motion? Newton laid foundation for mechanics because he had calculus. People before Newton, like Galileo, didn't have the help of calculus. That's the main reason mechanics was not developed.

Chinese math reached a peak in 13th century, but declined after. Equation problems were very well researched in ancient China, but China never had a real algebra. What China had was a semi-algebra. When a mathematician wanted to solve an equation, he placed a symbol of 'Heaven', 'Earth', 'People' or 'Thing' beside the number to indicate it's a variable, but the equations were based on numbers not unknowns. Someone had to realize these symbols can stay in the equation for their own sake, then China would have a full blown algebra since equation problems had been developed to a rather high level. Once they had algebra, it wouldn't be too long before someone said, 'hey, why don't we put some marks along the horizontal and vertical lines?' Then they could have Cartesian geometry. If they had Cartesian geometry, it's very possible someone would discover calculus. Calculus was nothing more than someone to realize integral and deferential problems are reverse problems. But this relationship is really difficult to see without the help of Cartesian geometry. Since both integral and deferential problems were already researched in ancient China, it's very possible calculus would be invented if Cartesian geometry existed. Then if they had calculus, the biggest obstacle to modern science would be removed.

All these things sound pretty easy when look back, but they were in fact very difficult, because it required a complete departure from the Chinese math or philosophical tradition. It required someone who mastered traditional Chinese mathematics and at the same time able to think out of the box and start a new direction. It's not impossible some genius could emerge but such opportunities usually came when two distinct cultures met. But then learning scientific knowledge from other civilizations was not a Chinese tradition either.
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#19 vinceliang

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 08:58 AM

The Worlds Tallest Building

The worlds tallest building Taipei 101, is situated in the Taiwan province of China. It is a Chinese landmark desinged by C.Y. Lee. Taipei 101 received the Emporis Skyscraper Award in 2004. It has been hailed as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World (Newsweek magazine, 2006) and Seven Wonders of Engineering (Discovery Channel, 2005). It got it name as 101 because it had 101 floor above ground. 5 floors are underground. Its postmodern style combines Asian and international modern and traditional elements. It is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. A multi-level shopping mall adjoining the tower houses hundreds of fashionable stores, restaurants and clubs.

The buiding itself has many fetures that surpasses any buiding in the world:

Ground to highest architectural structure (spire): 509.2 metres (1,670.60 ft). Previously held by the Petronas Towers 452 m (1,483 ft).
Ground to roof: 449.2 m (1,473.75 ft). Formerly held by the Willis Tower 442 m (1,450 ft).
Ground to highest occupied floor: 439.2 m (1,440.94 ft). Formerly held by the Willis Tower 412.4 m (1,353 ft).
Fastest ascending elevator speed: 16.83 m/s (55.22 ft/s) (60.6 km/h, 37.7 mi/h).
Largest countdown clock: On display every New Year's Eve.

Tallest sundial.
Posted Image

Yet the buiding was the first in the world to break the half-kilometer mark in height. It was the first "world's tallest building" to be constructed in the new millennium.

Various sources, including the building's owners, give the height of Taipei 101 as 508.0 m (1,667 ft), roof height and top floor height as 448.0 m (1,470 ft) and 438.0 m (1,437 ft). This lower figure is derived by measuring from the top of a 1.2 m (4 ft) platform at the base. CTBUH standards, though, include the height of the platform in calculating the overall height, as it represents part of the man-made structure and is above the level of the surrounding pavement.

Taipei 101 is designed to withstand the typhoon winds and earthquake tremors common in its area of the Asia-Pacific. Planners aimed for a structure that could withstand gale winds of 60 m/s (197 ft/s, 216 km/h, 134 mi/h) and the strongest earthquakes likely to occur in a 2,500 year cycle.[12]

Skyscrapers must be flexible in strong winds yet remain rigid enough to prevent large sideways movement (lateral drift). Flexibility prevents structural damage while resistance ensures comfort for the occupants and protection of glass, curtain walls and other features. Most designs achieve the necessary strength by enlarging critical structural elements such as bracing. The extraordinary height of Taipei 101 combined with the demands of its environment called for additional innovations on the part of engineers.

The design achieves both strength and flexibility for the tower through the use of high-performance steel construction. Thirty-six columns support Taipei 101, including eight "mega-columns" packed with 10,000-psi concrete.[13] Every eight floors, outrigger trusses connect the columns in the building's core to those on the exterior.

These features combine with the solidity of its foundation to make Taipei 101 one of the most stable buildings ever constructed. The foundation is reinforced by 380 piles driven 80 m (262 ft) into the ground, extending as far as 30 m (98 ft) into the bedrock. Each pile is 1.5 m (5 ft) in diameter and can bear a load of 1,000 metric tons (1,100 short tons) - 1,320 metric tons (1,460 short tons). The stability of the design became evident during construction when, on March 31, 2002, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Taipei. The tremor was strong enough to topple two construction cranes from the 56th floor, then the highest, and killed five people in the accident. An inspection afterwards showed no structural damage to the building and construction soon resumed.

A 660 metric tons (728 short tons)[14] steel pendulum serves as a tuned mass damper, at a cost of NT$132 million (US$4 million).[15] Suspended from the 92nd to the 88th floor, the pendulum sways to offset movements in the building caused by strong gusts. Its sphere, the largest damper sphere in the world, consists of 41 circular steel plates, each with a height of 125 mm (0.41 ft) being welded together to form a 5.5 m (18 ft) diameter sphere.[16] Another two tuned mass dampers, each weighing 6 metric tons (7 short tons),[15] sit at the tip of the spire. These prevent damage to the structure due to strong wind loads.

Posted Image

Taipei 101's characteristic blue-green glass curtain walls are double glazed, offer heat and UV protection, and can sustain impacts of 7 metric tons (8 short tons).[12]

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Taipei_101

Posted Image

Edited by vinceliang, 12 November 2009 - 09:09 AM.

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#20 brightness

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 11:34 AM

The foundation of mordern science and mathematics would definitely be laid by China.

Newtons first law of motion: Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.

This law was not stated on the 17th century but the 18th century.

Yet in the 3rd or 4th Century BC the book of Mo Ching states: The cessation of motion is due to the opposing force ... If there is no opposing force ... the motion will never stop. This is as true as that an ox is not a horse.

Newton was 2 melleniums behind.



That's like saying modern atomic science of the early 20th century was 2300 years behind because ancient Greeks (Democratius) had proposed Atomic Theory.

Newton's "1st law" was merely a singularity in his systematic quantitative approach to mechanics (f = m * a | f=0).

As for Galileo who claims to be the inventor of the telescope. The Army of the Sung Dynasty were already using the telescope to spot their artillery. There are also records that it existed during the Yuan Dynasty.


That was actually an interesting invention, with practical use. Too bad by the time of Song, Chinese intellectuals had turned to secularized "neo-confucianism," which wasn't all that interested in observing celestial bodies and mapping out their trajectories. The Ming ban on maritime travel cut off another important market for telescopes. I do wonder sometimes whether there was developed geometric optics knowledge in ancient China . . . and whether it would have been possible to have had a prescription glasses market in China in ancient times. The widespread near-sightedness in East Asia is probably not a new phenomenom in the 20th century. Not having prescription glasses before the 20th cetury may well have inhibitted the societies.

#21 The Stoic

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 12:48 AM

I'm going to have to give nods in the direction of Howard and Brightness on this one.

In the past 3 decades there's been two new and different streams of thought that prevade the historiography of the rise and the development of science.

With post-colonial studies on the rise and the "Islamization of Knowledge" movement, some have gone back to the ancient texts of their respective civilization and tried to tease out interpretations of passages that seem to predict modern findings.

I've had to sit through conversations and lectures where some folks would swear up and down that the ancient Indian Risis must have known about quantum mechanics and issues regarding the "bends" in space/time due to evidence found in the Indian epic the Mahabharata. I can tell similar stories for medieval Islamic science and Chinese science.

Such narratives usually go onto to say that you can trace back all of the modern developments in science to (fill in blank) civilization, that all other civilizations accomplishments are of course simply derivatives of (fill in blank) civilization's hard work. Etc. etc.

The other trend takes a far more nuanced view, actually tracing the interconnections between civilizations and thinkers spanning centuries. With this in mind, a few historians of science tend to bring up an objection to the usual narrative of "falling behind."

The very concept of a civilization "falling behind" in scientific development is a little imprecise. One can see continuous growth in the applied sciences throughout all major civilizations straight through to the 16th century. Its not like the Indians, Persians, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabs woke up the next day and decided "hey, i'm not going to do any sort of research anymore."

Granted, government oppression, societal dislocations, and the ever present threat of war tends to disturb scientific work, but it does not cause it to come to a complete grinding halt unless mass slaughter ensues.

To echo comments made by Shigeru Nakayama - perhaps the more appropriate question would be not how Japan or China or India "fell behind" since that presupposes that developments in science MUST have arrived at its present configuration.

It should rather be, how did the West "spring forward"?

And Howard kind of hit the nail on the head - A better method and the a better representational system for quantities/measurements.

#22 The Stoic

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 01:06 AM

But then learning scientific knowledge from other civilizations was not a Chinese tradition either.


But Howard, the Yuan/Ming/Qing, at least in terms of astronomy, imported Persian and Indian astronomers into the respective State Burea to make adjustments to the imperially authorized calendar. The Jesuits were also invited into the mix later on. Surely with this many different astronomical methods/systems, someone must have taken notice.

However, i do see your point. A scholarly work on the 3rd great pandemic of the Bubonic plague in the 19th century reviewed the actions of both colonial European powers and others in dealing with the the spread of the disease.

Casualty ratings were extremely high for the Guangdong/Guangxi area and Bombay in India. Mohammed Ali's Egypt, specifically the port city of Alexandria, suffered very little in comparison. One of the writers pointed out that because the Arab community did not consider their scientific texts to hold any particular ineffable truths, they were more readily willing to adapt to the public sanitation initiatives suggested by the English and the French.

This was NOT the case in terms of the people in China and India, whose local authorities rebuffed these suggestions - partially on grounds of Ayurvedic and Wenbing xue theories.

#23 vinceliang

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 02:37 AM

World's Largest Shopping Malls

Out of the worlds largest shopping malls, 3 of them are from China. The Beijing Mall is the 10th, 2nd is Jin Yuan and the worlds largest is the South China Mall.

Golden Resources Shopping Mall, or Jin Yuan (abbreviated from Chinese: 金源时代购物中心) is a shopping mall located near the Fourth Ring Road in Beijing, People's Republic of China.

In English, the mall has earned the nickname Great Mall of China,[1][2] owing to its total area of 7.3 million square feet (680,000 square metres) over six floors. At 1.5 times the size of the Mall of America, Golden Resources Mall was the world's largest shopping mall from 2004 to 2005.[1][2]

The mall was completed on 20 October 2004 after 20 months of construction and opened four days later. The Christian Science Monitor describes:

For sale: everything. goat-leather motorcycle jackets, Italian bathroom sinks, hand-made violins, longcase clocks, colonial-style desks, Jaguars, diapers. And that's barely getting started. It takes about two days to explore [...] With 230 escalators, more than 1,000 shops, restaurant space the size of two football fields, and a skating rink - the Art Deco mall is a testament in glass and steel to the communist party's desire to create a stable, happy, middle-income consumer class.

Fu Yuehong, general manager of the New Yansha Group which operates nearly half the mall, explains:

From the beginning we wanted the largest shopping center in the world [...] We are the country with the most people in the world. We have the fastest growing economy. The largest mall shows our progress as a society [...] We think it will take three to five years to start making a profit.[2]

Before 2005, Golden Resources Shopping Mall was the world's largest mall unitil South China Mall in Dongguan was completed.

South China Mall (simplified Chinese: 华南MALL; pinyin: Huánán MALL) in Dongguan, China is the largest mall in the world.[1] It has leasable space for over 1,500 stores in approximately 6.5 million square feet (600,000 square metres) of total floor area. The mall has seven zones modeled on international cities, nations and regions, including Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, Egypt, the Caribbean, and California. As of 2009, the mall had been renamed the New South China Mall

http://en.wikipedia....gs_in_the_world
http://en.wikipedia...._Resources_Mall
http://en.wikipedia....outh_China_Mall

Posted Image

Edited by vinceliang, 15 August 2009 - 03:04 AM.

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#24 Howard Fu

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 04:05 AM

I'm going to have to give nods in the direction of Howard and Brightness on this one.

In the past 3 decades there's been two new and different streams of thought that prevade the historiography of the rise and the development of science.

With post-colonial studies on the rise and the "Islamization of Knowledge" movement, some have gone back to the ancient texts of their respective civilization and tried to tease out interpretations of passages that seem to predict modern findings.

I've had to sit through conversations and lectures where some folks would swear up and down that the ancient Indian Risis must have known about quantum mechanics and issues regarding the "bends" in space/time due to evidence found in the Indian epic the Mahabharata. I can tell similar stories for medieval Islamic science and Chinese science.

Such narratives usually go onto to say that you can trace back all of the modern developments in science to (fill in blank) civilization, that all other civilizations accomplishments are of course simply derivatives of (fill in blank) civilization's hard work. Etc. etc.

The other trend takes a far more nuanced view, actually tracing the interconnections between civilizations and thinkers spanning centuries. With this in mind, a few historians of science tend to bring up an objection to the usual narrative of "falling behind."

The very concept of a civilization "falling behind" in scientific development is a little imprecise. One can see continuous growth in the applied sciences throughout all major civilizations straight through to the 16th century. Its not like the Indians, Persians, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabs woke up the next day and decided "hey, i'm not going to do any sort of research anymore."

Granted, government oppression, societal dislocations, and the ever present threat of war tends to disturb scientific work, but it does not cause it to come to a complete grinding halt unless mass slaughter ensues.

To echo comments made by Shigeru Nakayama - perhaps the more appropriate question would be not how Japan or China or India "fell behind" since that presupposes that developments in science MUST have arrived at its present configuration.

It should rather be, how did the West "spring forward"?

And Howard kind of hit the nail on the head - A better method and the a better representational system for quantities/measurements.

I don't know much about Mahabharata, but it's probably a bit stretch to say there was quantum mechanics in it.

India's contribution to modern mathematics was undeniable. The Kerala mathematicians had come up with something very close to calculus. Anyway, I think the basic elements for modern science already existed as early as 14th century, but it was spread out in ancient Greek, Arabian, Indian and Chinese works. It was indeed amazing how European scientists, since the knowledge boom after printing press invented, could catch up and spring ahead within just two centuries. But it's probably too early to say those ancient developments were not total waste of time. Maybe some physicist or mathematicians will indeed find some inspiration from those ancient texts. Who knows? For example, I think modern economists still have much to learn from ancient Chinese works, not just Taoism, but also legalism etc.
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#25 vinceliang

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 06:44 AM

Historically significant scientific discoveries and inventions are usually not isolated events/accomplishments like planting flags on mountain tops or on newly discovered islands as colonies. "Necessity is the mother of all inventions." There has to be a market place for the outcome of discoveries and inventions in order for the process and human endeavors in discovery and invention to continue. Absent such a positive market feedback, even if there were occasional random sparks, they tended to peter out. For example, ancient Greeks probably thought of the steam engine before anyone else, but there simply wasn't the developed coal market and coal mines to allow the first primitive steam engine to go through stages of efficiency improvement (the earlierst steam engines were burning so much coal for the little work they did that they could not be used profitably in any place other than inside the coal mines) . . . Vikings (Eric the Red and his band) were probably the first people, aside from native Americans, to land in North America, as they settled in Greenland and journeyed as far south as Cape Cod if not further south, yet due to lack of market driven follow-up's, that discovery meant very little before Columbus' trip.

Ancient mathematics were pursued to a very high degree in ancient China, mesopetamia, Greece and Egypt (not in that time order, obviously) due to religious needs. Those whose astronomers could predict the movement of objects in the "heavens" gained the political legitimacy to rule the peons on the earth.

Howard very accurately pointed out the importance of men like Galilei, Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, etc.. in the annals of European scientific advancement. And they were not isolated tinkerers either. There was a whole market for their discoveries and inventions. In generations before them, and during much of their own life times, most European university were still focusd on not science but on scripture-studying scholarsticism, dialectical reasoning applied to Christian scriptures! That was fundamentally rather similar to the Confucianist studies in China up through the end of 19th century. By the 1500's in Europe however, there was enough market demand for scientists and technologists for more and more students in the universities to divert from scripture-studies to the study of physical science and technology. Galillei was working on explosives chemistry and optics, Newtonian physics was preceded by impact physics (cannon balls) and architectual demands on physics. Descartes' dimentional analysis rapidly found use not only in physics but also financial/economic use. People nowadays often credit Galillei with the idea of "mathematical universe" . . . the idea that the world was described by math was propounded upon at least as early as Pythagorus, some 2000 years before Galillei. The economic implosion during the "dark ages" following the Roman unification meant PYthagorus' insight was forgotton until Galillei's rediscovery.

The problem with Confucian ruled China was that, the top-down society tried to make do with bureacrats replacing merchants as agents of exchange/collaboration. That inhibitted the growth of genuine competitive market place. Aside from when the country was broken down into pieces (such as during Southern Song), the market place was suppressed. Therefore, there wasn't much of a competitive market demand for brains to divert from their medieval scripture studies. Knowledge and study in physical science and technology did not help one climb the scholarstic ladders in either the Christian Church hirarchy or the Confucian scholar-gentry hirarchy. In other words, in terms of memic competitions, Confucianism suffered from its own success in controlling the entire society thoroughly.

Early Qing court did not ban cannons at all. In fact, Qing court retained Jesuits to help design and cast cannons in their campaings against both the Three Feudatories in the Southwest and the Russians at Nurchisk. After Qing eliminated those competitions, the entire dynasty simply atrophied.

I'm not sure what you meant by Chinese sailing to Venice in the middle ages. The Suez Canal wasn't dug yet until much later. I have my doubts about Gavin Menzie's claims about Chinese discovering North America in 1421. (It would have be about 500 years later than Eric the Red anyway, even if a landfall without historical consequence were made). His theory that Chinese explorers went all the way north past the North Pole to reach North America would have run into serious problems with anyone using a magnetic compass for guidance, as the Chinese had been since at circa at least 200AD (probably much earlier); the logistics of surviving a trip across thousands of miles of polar ice (not tundra but ice) is never explained. Sure, Chinese (and Arab) knowledge transmission probably had a lot to do with Renaissance (more importantly, IMHO, the market capital structure of the merchant Republic putting those knowledge to good use), but having enormous Chinese sailing ships pulling up in Venice harbor in 1431? How and why? How did they get the ships across the Suez land block / Ismuth? And why bother doing that since there was already well established Turkish, Venetian and Geonoese fleets on the other side of the Ismuth in the Mediterrenean. Columbus did not need a map to sail west: starting from Spain, sailing west, it would be nearly impossible not to set landfall somewhere in the Americas. The fact that he landed in the Bahamas first and called it India (not China, btw) goes to show that he probably didn't have the help of any map. Now, if we are to speculate that Vasco da Gama's trip rouding Africa Continent to reach India had some kind of help from Chinese, Arabic, or for that matter ancient Carthagian map/knowledge, that would be much more believable. Europeans knew that the earth was spherical since at least ancient Greek time (the idea was older than even Pythagoras). Even the diameter was caculated quite accurately (to within 10% or less error) by several different people based on surface curvature observation/caculation. Columbus thought the earth was much smaller than it actually is. If not for the Americas landmass stopping him, his merry band of explorers would have died at sea as they sailed into oblivion.


First of all, the Confucianist Culture was what helped progress China, not just in science but in all other factors as well. Cofuciusism is very often mistaken to be only ideologies which Confucius himself invented. That is probably due to the name of the philosophy. It is both Confucius and also Menicus ideology. When both ideologies are combined, it is call Rujia. The ideology recommends people to avoid extremeltism, obtain a high moral standard with intelligence, work hard in life and so on. One ideology is in regards to a nation’s strength. Confucius states that inorder for a nation to be strong, encounters on 3 factors:
1. enough to feed the population
2. strong military to defend a nation.
3. nationalism

To have a strong military requires advance science to be capable of manufacturing firearms. During the late Ming, the quality of firearms improved so much that they surpassed the west. It was the Qing Dynasty which banned firearms to keep their power secured. Yet it is hard to believe that a Confucist nation that had been so advanced for thousands of years to end up behind because of Confuciusim.

As for the Chinese Armada’s discovering the world during the Ming Dynasty, it must be true for there is a mountain evidence to prove it. The Shipwrecks, plants native to asia, Chinese procilein, Chinese DNA on the natives, all are in the American continent. When reading 1421, The Year China Discovered the World, Gavin Menzies stated a lot of evidence. You just can’t invent that amount of evidence so there is no doubt that it is true.

Columbus did have a map to take him the the America’s. The evidence is in the Letter from Toscanelli to Columbus:
“. . . I notice your splendid and lofty desire to sail to the regions of the East by those of the West . . . as is shown by the chart which I send you . . .”

From Columbus account:
I should steer west-southwest to go there [to reach Antilia] . . . and in the sphere which I have seen and in the drawings and mappae mundi it is in this region. . .”

http://www.gavinmenz...p?EvidenceID=11
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#26 Howard Fu

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 10:57 PM

As for the Chinese Armada’s discovering the world during the Ming Dynasty, it must be true for there is a mountain evidence to prove it.

JFYI, there is also probably a mountain of evidences against it. There is a thread on the forum for that debate.
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#27 brightness

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 09:35 AM

First of all, the Confucianist Culture was what helped progress China, not just in science but in all other factors as well. Cofuciusism is very often mistaken to be only ideologies which Confucius himself invented. That is probably due to the name of the philosophy. It is both Confucius and also Menicus ideology. When both ideologies are combined, it is call Rujia. The ideology recommends people to avoid extremeltism, obtain a high moral standard with intelligence, work hard in life and so on. One ideology is in regards to a nation’s strength. Confucius states that inorder for a nation to be strong, encounters on 3 factors:
1. enough to feed the population
2. strong military to defend a nation.
3. nationalism


Confucianism at the time of Confucius was a Tian religion. It advocated the divine power of the Emperor/King. The idea of "nation" did not become a central topic until Neo-Confucianism of the Song Dynasty; Neo-Confucianism was very different animal: it was a secularized faith in the omnipotence of the bureacracy . . . something that Confucian himself probably would have regonized as closer to "FaJia" than his own "RuJia."

The central theme of Confucianism as adopted by the Chinese State, whether the state sponsored old divine-inspired version or the secular "Neo" variety that was started by a few bureacrats, was the antipathy towards trade and merchants . . . supposing that government bureacrats, whether appointed by the divine-inspired Emperor or climbing up the ladder according to some secular template of merit, would do a better job than the traders and merchants. The result of course was a less efficient food distribution system, less efficient military system, and massive bureacratic corruption.

To have a strong military requires advance science to be capable of manufacturing firearms. During the late Ming, the quality of firearms improved so much that they surpassed the west. It was the Qing Dynasty which banned firearms to keep their power secured. Yet it is hard to believe that a Confucist nation that had been so advanced for thousands of years to end up behind because of Confuciusim.


Regardless the relative advancement in early Ming, by the late Ming and early Qing, Chinese artilleries were decidedly behind that of the West. Manchu/Qing hired a number of Jesuits (who were by no means artillery experts in their own home country) to cast guns for them, and defeated the remnant/revivalist Mings.

As for the Chinese Armada’s discovering the world during the Ming Dynasty, it must be true for there is a mountain evidence to prove it. The Shipwrecks, plants native to asia, Chinese procilein, Chinese DNA on the natives, all are in the American continent. When reading 1421, The Year China Discovered the World, Gavin Menzies stated a lot of evidence. You just can’t invent that amount of evidence so there is no doubt that it is true.


Gavin Menzie's claims are largely discreditted. The Shipwreck off Pacific Northwest is of unkonwn origin; could have been a late Qing relic. In any case, if we are interested in landings in North America with no significant historical consequence, the followers of Eric the Red from modern day Norway had done that as early as around 1000AD, or early Song Dynasty in Chinese timeline. Asian plants, porcelains and even Chinese DNA are easily explained without having a Chinese ship sailing from China to Adriatic: there were plenty trade going on carried out by Arab/Persian traders along the north shore of Indian Ocean, and by land-bound traders along the inland trade route (what's usually called "silk road"). The Suez Canal wasn't opened until the year 1869. Before that time, one would have to drag a ship across 160+ miles of desert in order for the ship to travel from the Red Sea to the Meditteranean. Why would anyone do that to a large ship, instead of moving the cargo one case at a time on camels?

Columbus did have a map to take him the the America’s. The evidence is in the Letter from Toscanelli to Columbus:
“. . . I notice your splendid and lofty desire to sail to the regions of the East by those of the West . . . as is shown by the chart which I send you . . .”

From Columbus account:
I should steer west-southwest to go there [to reach Antilia] . . . and in the sphere which I have seen and in the drawings and mappae mundi it is in this region. . .”


A map is not the same thing as a detailed or even correct map, much less a detailed and correct map from China. Columbus called the place where he made landfall "India" . . . that should give us some idea just how wrong whatever map he was using was. In fact, his "sphere" must also had a wrong diameter, because if he thought the other side of the Atlantic Ocean from Europe was India across the correct earth diameter, his ships would not be able to carry nearly enough provision to sail half way around the globe . . . hence would not have dared to start the voyage . . . that was probably the reason why people did not sail west in order to reach India before him. Earth was known to be round since the time of ancient Greeks (before Pythagaros, circa 500BC). Ptolemy of 100BC had very good idea that his "geography" only covered about 1/4 the earth. The Viking Church in Greenland were known to write back to the Pople from 1000AD to about 1400AD; some of the Vikings left artifacts all along the Atlantic coast, as far south as today's mid-atlantic states in the US.

#28 vinceliang

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 09:42 AM

Lin Zexu is more than just an Opium Burner

So whats Lin Zexu got to do with Chinese science and technology? Before he was sent to surpress the Opium Trade in Guangdong, Lin was at Jiangsu to solve irrigation problems and helped increase production.

After the Qing Goverment surrendered to the British in the Opium Wars, Lin was sent to exile in Xinjiang. This was were he used his experience to solve some of the province's water shortage problems. By building a canal that is almost five kilometers long to draw water from the river to provide water for the people. As an engineer, he also discovered a new way of digging wells. He is the inventor of this underground water system. It was the best irrigation system of that time and even today it plays an impotant role for the drive to modernization.

http://www.eastasian...ian/5921_01.htm
http://www.silkroadc...turfan-tour.htm
http://whc.unesco.or...tivelists/5347/

Edited by vinceliang, 18 August 2009 - 10:29 PM.

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#29 vinceliang

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 09:00 AM

The Way Lin Zexu Burnt Opium, Scientificly and Environmentaly

As Lin Zexu is most well know for burning the illegal Opium imported to China in the 1830's. Yet we don't know much about how he burn't. Yet we would imagine that he got it all piled up and just simply burn't it.

Infact it is interest to know the technique of burning opium which he invented. The pools he used to destroy the opium still exists today and is a cultural heritage. Two quadrate pools, with each side measuring 45 meters, were used to destroy the opium. The pools are made up of flagstones on its bottom, having rails around. There are a culvert near them and a drain behind. When burning the opium, people first filled the pools with water and then put salt into them to turn the water into thick brine. Opium was put into the thick brine then to be dissolved, and at last quicklime was put in it to get the opium disintegrated completely. The destroyed opium was drained to the river. The way of buring the opium stops the burnt Opium from contaminating the air which is very environmentally air friendly.

http://www.chinacult...ntent_32309.htm

Edited by vinceliang, 21 August 2009 - 12:59 AM.

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#30 vinceliang

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:36 PM

Newton laid foundation for mechanics because he had calculus.


The Chinese themeselves invented calculus. The method of exhaustion was used in China by Liu Hui in the 3rd century AD in order to find the area of a circle. In the 5th century AD, Zu Chongzhi used what would later be called Cavalieri's principle to find the volume of a sphere. In the 11th century, the Chinese polymath Shen Kuo developed 'packing' equations that dealt with integration. So in that case, it was China, not Newton who laid the foundation for mechanics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculus

Chinese math reached a peak in 13th century, but declined after.


Chinese discovered how to work out Latitude and Longitude during the Ming Dynasty when the Chinese Armada led by Zheng He was navigating the world. Star maps of Zheng He’s voyages show which stars Zheng He’s fleet actually used to determine latitude and longitude on their passage to India. Zheng He’s navigators were able to calculate latitude within half a degree, or 30 miles, and longitude to within two seconds, or 3 degrees. When the fleets arrived in Venice and Florence, their methods of calculating latitude and longitude were transferred to Europeans. In due course, Columbus and Vespucci used them to reach the New World. Latitude and Longitude was Not brought from the west by Jesuits as some Chinese scholars assumed.

http://www.gavinmenz...sp?EvidenceID=4

China never had a real algebra.


The first people to express geometrical shapes by equations, were the Chinese. A Chinese book of the third century AD called the Sea Island Mathematical Manual gives a series of geometrical propositions in algebraic form and describes geometrical figures by algebraic equations. Throughout Chinese history after that, if one wanted to consider geometry, algebra was regularly employed.

These techniques spread westward to the Arabs when the famous mathematician al-Khwdrizmi was sent by the Caliph to be ambassador to Khazaria during the years 842 to 847. (Khazaria lay on the main trade routes between China and the West.)

It is curious that the Chinese should have been a thousand years ahead with the basic idea!

The Problem of the Broken Bamboo, from Yang Hui's book Detailed Analysis of the Mathematical Rules in the 'Nine Chapters'and Their Reclassiftcation, published in 1261. Yang Hui was one of China's leading mathematicians, and in his works quadratic equations with negative coefficients appear for the first time. Here the broken bamboo, which forms a natural right- angled triangle, is discussed as an example of the properties of such triangles, their expression in algebra, and the use of such expressions for measuring heights and distances.

http://bbs.chinadail...h...tra=&page=3
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