• Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.1 2001

Studies in the History of Natural Sciences  NO.1 2001




A Primary Probe into the Problems about Human Elements in Traditional Chinese Agricultural Theory……ZENG Xiongsheng

【Abstract】 Traditional Chinese scholars concerned very much about human beings while they are doing the research about nature. They believed that the human being is the most important factor in agriculture, military affairs and other activities, which is more important than heaven and earth. As the human factor was often mentioned as ren li (人力, manpower) and ren he (人和, harmonious relations), and manpower is composed of physical power and intelligence, and harmonious relations are maintained by morality




A Study on the Institutionalization of China's Higher Mathematical Education in the First Half of the 20th Century……KANG Kuanying

【Abstract】 The recruiting of students by the Department of mathematics of Peking University in 1913 marked the beginning of higher mathematical education in China. The period from then to 1929 was the initial stage of the system of China's higher mathematical education. During this stage, returned students set up many methematical departments in domestic colleges and universities, and a number of organizations and publications on mathematics appeared in the colleges and universities.




Algorithm for Calculating Solar Shadows in Ancient Chinese Calendars……QU Anjing; YUAN Min; WANG Hui

【Abstract】 In ancient China,the areas far from the national capital were called by the joint name of Jiu Fu. How to calculate the length of solar shadows casted by a 8-Chi-gnomon in these areas had become a necessary work in traditional calendars after the completion of the Dayan Calendar by the Buddhist monk Yi Xing. The algorithms for calculating solar shadows in Jiu Fu were different from the others in the calendars from the Tang Dynasty to the Yuan Dynasty. Based on circumspect interpretation of relevant texts in the calendars during this preiod, the principle and characteristic of these algorithms are verified. Yi Xing used the table of solar shadows in his Dayan Calendar. Bian Gang adopted a formula of the solar shadows in his Chongxuan Calendar. In the Qintian Calendar, by taking advantage of the result of Yi Xing's meridian survey during the Kaiyuan period of the Tang Dynasty, Wang Pu proposed a particular formula of solar shadows in Jiu Fu, from which the first expression of tangent function in the history of Mathematical Astronomy can be drawn.




The Constant System of Xiao'an Xinfa……NING Xiaoyu

【Abstract】 Xiao'an Xinfa is one of the most difficult calendars. It contains more than 900 basic and inductive constants. Among them, those about 200 constants in the second volume are fundamental to the calculation of the calendar. Therefore, the key point for the interpretation of Xiao'an Xinfa is to find out the concrete meaning of every constant. This paper first aims at explaining their meanings and providing criterion of determination for some constants. Then it explores the origin of these constants by comparing with Xiyang Xinfa Lishu. Finally, it discusses some problems about the longitude difference of ecliptic.




Explanation on Tan Qiao's “Four Mirrors”……DAI Nianzu

【Abstract】 In his Hua shu (Book on change), Tan Qiao, a Taoist scholar of the Five Dynasties (907-960), speaks of "I usually keep four mirrors. M Based on Tan's description of image formation of these four mirrors, some thought them to be four reflectors while others believed them to be four lenses. After an analysis of the various statements coupled with textual research done on correlated writing and excavated archaeological objects, this paper supports the former argument and gives its new views with regard to the type of the four lenses.




Initial Study on Carbon Fibre in the Black Pottery of the Dawenkou and Longshan Cultures……QIU Ping; WANG Changsui;LI Fanqing; ZHOU Gui'en

【Abstract】 Analysis and test made by the authors on the polished black pottery of the Wangying site and the eggshell black pottery of the Longshan culture show the existence of lots of carbon fibres in the body of the two kinds of black pottery. By further probing into the technological conditions for the formation of carbon fibres in the black pottery, this paper deems that the carbon fibres were formed by the organic fibres in peat or material similar to peat after being sintered in a reduction atmosphere. 




Query on Wang Fuzhi's Concept of Conservation of Movement……HU Huakai

【Abstract】 The conservation and transformation of movement are a basic law in nature. Some of the treatises and works on the history of science in China published in recent years consider that Wang Fuzhi had taken cognizance of the conservation and transformation of movement in the last stage of Ming Dynasty. This paper deems after analyzing the data that they had come to their conclusion owing to their misapprehension of Wang Fuzhi's theory about the conservation of matter. It points out that Wang Fuzhi had not really taken cognizance of the conservation and transformation of movement.




On the Astronomic Painting of the Fang Maison on the Lacquer Chest of Marquis Yi of the Zeng State……WU Jiabi

【Abstract】 By referring to ancient documents, unearthed cultural relics and actual phenomenon, this paper identifies the celestial bodies painted on one side wall of lacquer chest, which was unearthed from the tomb of Marquis Yi of the Zeng State in the Warring-States Peiiod, to be "房宿(the Fang Mansion of the twenty-eight lunar mansions)", which was the Nongxiang Xing (农祥星, the Patron Saint of agriculture). The celestial bodies were worshipped and offered to with sacrifices by the Kings of the Zhou Dynasty and the feudal lords at the "Jitianli (籍田礼, the Field-Ploughing Ceremony)" held by them in the outskirts of their capitals in the first month of the Chinese traditional lunar-solar year, which was an important ceremony at that time, and the lacquer chest might be one of the utensils taken by Marquis Yi of the Zeng State at the ceremony.