Ptolemy Introduction In ancient times there were many great ideas which began to shape the way man perceived his environment. However, there were few minds who were able to put all of these ideas together. One of these minds belonged to Claudius Ptolemy, or just Ptolemy as he is commonly referred to. We know almost nothing of the chronology of Ptolemy’s life, and we don’t even know his birth or death dates. We do know, though, about his ideas in several fields, which include geography, astronomy, optics, astrology, music, and other topics.
His most profound and lasting contributions came in the fields of geography and astronomy, where his two written works Geography and Almagest dominated the thinking on these subjects throughout ancient times and for many centuries to follow. To geographers, Geography represented a breakthrough in the spatial tradition of geography through Ptolemy’s principles on cartography and the maps that were created from this. This will be reviewed as well as other aspects of Ptolemy’s work that made him such a respected figure in the history of geography. Astronomy and Almagest It is important to mention the impact that Ptolemy had in the field of astronomy, as it allows us to understand the ideas that he was able to bring to geography. Ptolemy did his astronomical observations in Alexandria, Egypt, and it has been estimated by scholars that his findings were made in 150 AD After recording his observations and analyzing them, he incorporated them into a work that would be called the Almagest, which is a combined Greek and Latin term meaning “the greatest”. Almagest is revered as one of the top astronomical works of all time, as it was a thirteen book mathematical treatment of the phenomena of astronomy.
It contains a myriad of information ranging from earth conceptions to sun, moon, and star movement as well as eclipses and a breakdown on the length of months. Among his astronomical observations were the idea that the earth did not move, but rather it was the motionless center of the universe with the sun, moon, planets, and stars revolving around it. Another of Ptolemy’s ideas was that the planets were closer to the earth than the stars, but farther away than the moon (which is true). These and other ideas were accepted as scientific fact for several centuries following the writing of Almagest. In fact, these ideas weren’t changed or corrected until the findings of Copernicus in 1543.
Geography Although we don’t know if Geography was written before or after Almagest, it remains a trivial side note compared to geographical concepts presented in it that draw the interest of geographers. The introduction to Geography states what Ptolemy wants to accomplish, which includes an explanation of the principles of cartography such as giving coordinates to places around the world and geographic features as well as recommendations for making world and regional maps. He then starts his coverage of the world with Europe in Books 2 and 3. He goes on to cover Africa in Book 4 and covers Asia and summarizes his findings in Books 5-8. Geography included 26 colorized regional maps as well as one map of the “known world”.
Ptolemy stayed away from orthogonal (or cylindrical) world mapping in favor of three other projection types. He returns to orthogonal projection on some regional maps with dimensions based on mean latitude. The farthest point north on his map was Thule at 63 degrees north, while the farthest point south was the Agysimba and Prasum promontory east of Africa at 16 degrees, 25 minutes south. He measured the north-south length of the known world to be about 7392 kilometers or 4580 miles, while his east-west measurement was about 13,306 kilometers or 8250 miles. Geography held the same respect in the field of geography that Almagest had in astronomy.
Geography was regarded as a complete and inerrant document on the subject of geography, and it dominated geographical theory until the Renaissance. The Almagest is now regarded as a better document than Geography scientifically. This is because the application of the concepts presented in Geography was substantially limited, although advances in geography theory were made. Actions After Geography Ptolemy’s work has been discovered and used through the ages by several noted people around the world. Arabic writer al-Mas’udi, while writing around 956, mentioned a colored map of the Geography which had 4530 cities and over 200 mountains.
Byzantine monk Maximus Planudes found a copy of the Geography in 1295, and since there were no maps in his copy, he drew his own based on the coordinates found in the text. The first Latin translation of the Geography was made in 1406 by Florentine Jacobus Angelus, and since this, various translations in other languages have been made available to people all over the world. However, the most important discovery of Ptolemy’s Geography may have been made by Christopher Columbus. Columbus obtained one of the first Latin editions of the book (an edition printed in 1475) without the maps. We know that he definitely considered Ptolemy’s distances while he was creating his own maps since his text of the Geography has some annotations in it and bears his signature (this text is currently in Madrid). In fact, scholars believe that Ptolemy’s information may have encouraged Columbus to make his famous voyage.
After the voyages by Columbus and Magellan that were sponsored by Prince Henry the Navigator, Ptolemy’s maps were found to be rather exaggerated and in need of revision. The land mass from Spain to China was overestimated by Ptolemy and the ocean size was too small, and this was due to the limits placed on his ability to measure precisely, as was mentioned above. However, the discoveries made by Columbus and Magellan did not overshadow Ptolemy’s work and his contributions to the mapping of the world. An example of this is that his maps, although erroneous, continued to have some their conceptions placed maps of Africa until the 19th century in some cases. Conclusion As we have seen, Ptolemy’s contributions to the field of geography have been quite remarkable.
Although his findings may not have been perfectly correct, he inspired other notable people such Columbus to research his results and make correction to them where it was necessary. His principles on cartography were particularly innovative in a time where maps were either in a nonexistent or very primitive stage. When his work and influence in the field of astronomy is considered in addition to his work in geography, it can be concluded that Ptolemy was indeed of the great scientific minds of the ancient era. The Andromeda Strain Andromeda Strain starts when a satellite, code named “Scoop,” crash lands in the middle of a small town in the southwestern United States called Piedmont. When the US Army went to pick it up everyone in the town of 48 was dead except an old man and a young baby. The Army realized that the deaths were probably the result of the crashed satellite, so they sent men clothed in bio-hazard suits to retrieve the remains of the crashed probe Scoop and the two surviving humans.
Then they took them back to a secret underground lab known as “Wildfire.” The scientists at Wildfire were amazed by what they saw. After spending many hours looking at the satellite with an electron microscope, they found little pieces of what looked like luminescent paint. They cut away a single molecule of the substance and saw that it was a crystal life form. The crystal used everything, wasted nothing, and grew in every substance known to man. To make matters worse, it grew and multiplied very quickly.
Now that the scientists at Wildfire knew what caused the deaths at Piedmont, they had to figure out how to control it. They did a lot of different tests on the crystal and found out that it grew on every known substance. The US government’s code named for the project was “Andromeda”. There were no new reported deaths related to Andromeda Strain near Piedmont or any other neighboring towns. The scientists assumed the it was dead.
Then a story came through that a fighter pilot had flown over the area and afterwards his air mask and everything else made or rubber just dissolved into thin air. Meanwhile the President of the United States was being told about Andromeda Strain. With hopes of eliminating the threat, the President considered and agreed to dropping a nuclear bomb on the Piedmont area. At the same time the team at Wildfire had come upon a major discovery. The Andromeda Strain thrived on energy sources like plutonium and radiation.
They realized that the President was planning on nuking the Piedmont area, which would result in a huge spread of this disease. Their only hope was that the Andromeda Strain would either mutate into a non-fatal form, or that their continued experiments would uncover a cure or a way to make it harmless. The President took back his previous order to drop the bomb. During this debate about dropping the bomb, some of the researchers realized why the old man and the boy did not die. Andromeda could only survive in a very narrow range of blood pH. If anyone’s blood was too acid (the old man had two bleeding stomach ulcers) or too alkaline (the baby had been crying for hours causing the alkalinity in his blood to increase), then the Andromeda Strain could not survive in that person’s body.
There was still no way to contain Andromeda, which had turned in to a non lethal form and it spread throughout the whole southwestern US Meanwhile, the people at Wildfire did all they could to prevent Andromeda from mutating again. They seeded the clouds over the Pacific Ocean where Andromeda was so the rain would force Andromeda into the ocean where the water would be too acidic for it to survive. The most talked about characters in Andromeda Strain are Dr. Mark Hall, Dr. Peter Leavitt and Dr.
Jeremy Stone. Dr. Stone was the head of all operations at Wildfire in a way because he helped plan and make it happen. Most of the story depended on Dr. Hall.
He was the only single man among the other scientists. He also made many of the important discoveries. The Telephone THE INVENTION The telephone is a device that was such a wonder in its early days but now we just take it for granted. Life would be very different without the telephone and its spin-offs like the fax machine, the computer with modem or the cellular phone. All of these are based on some of the principles of the telephone.
The telephone makes many things possible, whether its talking to someone on the other side of the world or next door. It all started in 1854 when the French inventor Charles Bourseul suggested that vibrations from the voice could move a diaphragm and connect and disconnect an electric circuit. This would produce similar vibrations in a diaphragm at another location, where the original sound would be reproduced. A few years later, the German physicist Johann Philip Reis invented an instrument that transmitted musical tones but could not reproduce speech. This only worked with musical notes but an American inventor named Alexander Graham Bell discovered that only a steady electric current could be used to transmit speech. So he improved the idea and produced the first telephone capable of transmitting and receiving human speech with any quality.
The basic unit of Bell’s invention consisted of a transmitter, a receiver, and a single connecting wire. The transmitter and receiver were identical; each contained a flexible metallic diaphragm and a horseshoe magnet with a wire coil. Sound waves would strike the diaphragm cause it to vibrate in the field of the magnet. This vibration generated an electric current in the coil that varied in proportion to the vibrations of the diaphragm. Then the current traveled through a wire to the receiving station, where it produced changes in the strength of the magnetic field of the receiver, causing its diaphragm to vibrate and reproducing the original sound. In the receiver of a modern telephone the magnet has been flattened into the form of a watch, and the magnetic field acting on an iron diaphragm has been made more exact and uniform.
The modern transmitter consists of a thin diaphragm mounted behind a perforated grill. At the center of the diaphragm is a small dome that makes an enclosure filled with carbon granules. Sound waves pass through the grill and make the dome move in and out. When the diaphragm presses in, the granules become densely packed, allowing an increase in the flow of current through the transmitter. In early telephones the current was generated by a battery.
In addition to a battery and a transmitter, there was one winding of a transformer called an induction coil; the other winding, connected to the line, increased the voltage of the sound wave. The connections between telephones were made manually, by operators working at switchboards located in central switching offices. The switchboard operators were usually women because it was considered to easy for a mans work and the managers could get women to work for cheaper. As telephone systems grew, manual switching was too slow and labor intensive. This provided the development of a series of mechanical and electronic devices that allowed switching to be done automatically.
In the modern telephone, an electronic device transmits either a number of successive impulses of current or a series of audible tones corresponding to the number being called. Electronic equipment at a central switching station automatically translates the signal and routes the call to the receiving party. The signal of modern telephones is relayed through at least one of these methods, by standard telephone cable, undersea telephone cable, radio or satellite. A computer modem uses the same idea as a telephone but instead of converting voice into electrical impulses and back, it turns digital information from a computer into electrical impulses and back MoDem- Mo=modulate, Dem=demodulate THE Inventor Alexander Graham Bell was an American inventor and teacher of the deaf, of course he is most famous for his invention of the telephone. He was born on March 3, 1847, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and educated at the universities of Edinburgh and London. He immigrated to Canada in 1870 and …