• Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.2 2002

Studies in the History of Natural Sciences  NO.2 2002




Revisit to the Solar Eclipse Theory in Ancient China……QU Anjing(97)

【Abstract】 In his Xuanming Li (822 AD), Xu Ang invented an algorithm for calculating the deviation caused by lunar parallax at the middle time of solar eclipse. The deviation of the distance between the Moon and the node of the ecliptic and the lunar orbit was called shicha which consisted of two independent functions, named qicha and kecha. After Xu Ang, shicha became a core algorithm of solar eclipse theory in every traditional Chinese calendar-making system. In his Ph. D thesis(1944) ,Professor Yabuuti Kiyoshi(1906-2000)established a theoretical system for calculating such a deviation of solar eclipse. Since his theoretical model is very complex, and quite different from that in Chinese calendar-making system, people still cannot make sense what the real meaning of Chinese deviation is. Following the ancient Chinese mode of thinking, according to a series of mathematical demonstration, the theoretical formula of this deviation is simplified to a function of two independent variables, longitude and hour angle of the Sun. These are variables of the function of qicha and kecha in traditional Chinese mathematical astronomy. On the other hand, based on the traditional algorithm, a mathematical model of Chinese deviation is also set up. Then, the similarities and differences between the theoretical and traditional methods are compared in detail. The result drawn from the comparison shows that the mathematical models are similar, and calculations are approximate between the two. The real meaning of Chinese deviation is now brought to light. Two conclusions, therefore, come out: 1. From the standard of modern science, the model of Chinese deviation is reasonable; 2. The algorithm based on this model is not only effective, but also fairly precise. 


The Evolution of Technical View in P R China and Some Problems in Its Research……JIANG Zhenhuan(115)

【Abstract】 After the establishment of P R China, the evolution of its technical view has gone through obvious stages that are closed related with the political atmosphere and the changes of system. Reflecting the ideology during different historical stages, it influences the overall direction, the scope and the speed of technical development in a certain historical period. By inquiring into the relationship between self-reliance and technical introduction, the influence of agriculturalism, the traditional view on industrial-ization thoughts, the role of the technical thinking of state leaders and the impact of national ideology on technical view, the changes of technical view can be accounted for to some extent.

氧氢氮的翻译:1896-1944年………(台)张 澔( 123)

The Chinese Translations of Oxygen ,Hydrogen and Nitrogen:1896-1944………ZHANG Hao(123)

【Abstract】 The chemical terms oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen are the symbols that begin the modern periodic table of elements. Their nomenclatures explain the definitions of modern elements and compounds. They were first introduced in China as yangqi, qingqi and danqi in 1855 by Benjamin Hobson. Most of them were devised from their original meanings. The original Chinese translations of the three elements initially negated their relationship to their mod- em English nomenclature.

关于《镜镜詅痴》中透镜成像问题的再探讨………钱长炎(135 )

A Further Inquiry into the Problems About the Imaginary of Lens in Jing Jing Ling Chi……Qian Changyan(135)

【Abstract】 This paper makes a thorough analysis on the meanings of shun sanxian and ce sanxian which describe the optical characteristics of convex lens and their methods of determination in Jing Jing Ling Chi by Zheng Fuguang of the Qing Dynasty. And then, it points out that the main reasons which lead the author to misunderstand the optical characteristics and the imaginery laws of convex lens are directly developing the laws of reflecting imagery with spherical mirrors to the cases of refracting imagery with convex lens. Furthermore, by comparing the laws of imagery in this book with the corresponding contents in Yuan Jing Shuo and Guang Lun, we conclude that the optics is still standing on the experimnental level in China around the middle of the 19th century, and Jing Jing Ling Chi is its hallmark. Hence, Zheng's contributions to the development of optics must be correctly appraised in the history of science in China. 


A Short History About Gourd……LUO Guihuan(146)

【Abstract】 Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria), which had been regarded by ancient Chinese as a kind of melons, is certainly one of the earliest cultivated plants in China. Not only the remains of its fruit and seed have been found in some Neolithic sites around 5000 to 6000 B. C. but its historical records are very old. The plant has several varieties, which were widely used for different purposes in ancient Chinese daily life. Besides its unripe fruit and leaf being used as food and drug, its ripe fruit can serve as various vessels and tableware as well as floats for crossing streams, etc. In addition, the pith of its fruit had been used as fodder and its seed for the extraction of oil to make candles. Gourd was also very important in people's artistic and religious life. Its ripe fruit was used for making musical instruments and handicraft articles in remote prehistoric times. It also had some influence on painting and poetry as well as decoration of furniture. Gourd was also an important implement in ancient Chinese religions, especially Taoism. Nevertheless, people can find many ancient ceramic pots apparently made in imitating the shape of a gourd. It is beyond doubt that this plant played a great part in the development of ancient Chinese civilization. Perhaps because ancient people praised gourd so highly that they even believed mankind to be originated from the plant. According to relevant historical information, gourd must have its origin in China, probably in South or Southwest China.

李约瑟的世界和世界的李约瑟……刘 钝(155)

Needham's World and the World's Needham……LIU Dun(155)

【Abstract】 What may be called the "Chinese Needham complex"mainly appears under three aspects: (1) Considering the contribution of Joseph Needham as consisting merely in extolling the achievements of science and technology in pre-modern China; (2) Believing that the final goal of the Science and Civilisation in China project is to solve the question"Why did not China develop modern science?"; (3) Being disturbed by the fact that it was a foreigner who first wrote the history of Chinese science and technology. Therefore , if we hope to comprehensively understand this "Modern Renaissance Man", we ought to survey his thought and works adopting a wide perspective; and if we hope to see clearly who Needham is in the world's view, we ought to seek to understand the worldview of Needham himself. The "Needham Question" did not originate from Needham himself. The Jesuits who first came to China around 1600 as well as some Enlightenment thinkers of Europe noted the "lagging behind" issue. Ren Hongjuan's article "On China's lack of science" (1915) initiated the discussion of this kind of question among Chinese intellectuals. In the 40s of the 20th century, the mutual discussions and illuminations between Needham and his Chinese academic friends became one of the most important motives for his later initiative in the writing of SCC. Influenced by biological evolutionism and a materialist view of history, Needham was a firm believer in the "inevitability of scientific progress". like some other left-intellectuals in Cambridge in that time, Needham felt passionately about social problems, and he believed science was a huge force which could push society forward. This led him to devote himself to the struggle against fascism ,to come to China where he directed the Sino-British Science Coopera tion Office ,and then to serve as the first Head of the Natural Science Section of UNESCO. On the other hand, Needham was also a devout Christian. The philanthropism of Christianity and Socialism's spirit of equality were two foundation stones of his thought, in addition to ancient Chinese philosophy. His understanding of and sympathy towards non-Western civilizations came from the following faith: science was the common heritage of the whole of mankind, the unity of nature was reflected in the unity of science and the latter was an affirmation of the unity of mankind. Most contemporary historians of science regard the "Needham Question" as being somehow connected with the "scientific revolution" issue. To supply essential intellectual context for some Chinese scholars who are still bogged down in the "Needham Question", the author introduces some recent researches made by foreign scholars on relevant topics. Meanwhile, he also points out the modern significance of Needham's works: They set out the contribution of non-Western civilizations to the development of the whole human race, using ancient China as an example, and seriously criticize "Occident-centralism" in terms of cultural diversity and scientific oecumenism. Finally, the author provides a comment on the argument whether there was science or not in ancient China".


Colonialist Scientists in the Changes of History: A Comment About the Books Related to Old

Central Testing Institute……HAN Jianping(170)

【Abstract】 This paper discusses some important books appearing in postwar Japan about the study of scientists at the old Central Testing Institute (CTI)in China. Most of these books are recollections, a few of them consist of research writings. Rather limited in subject matter, they mainly deal with two problems. One problem treats the postwar peaceful transfer of CTI, and its participation in the reconstruction of new China; the other problem is about the outstanding research achievement of the prewar CTI. In the evaluation of colonialist science, there are also some wrong ideas in the books. Despite their limitation, these books are still quite valuable because they not only provide leads for looking into the major research and development projects of CTI but are also precious material for inquiring into postwar colonialist science.

颛顼历三事考……白光琦( 179)

A Study on the Zhuanxu Calendar……Bai Guangqi(179)

【Abstract】 Appearing in the Warring States period and as an advanced edition of the Xia calendar, the Zhuanxu calendar prevailed for more than 300 years until 104 B.C. during the reign of the Han emperor Wu Di. It witnessed little change except for a very short period in State Qin. It assigned the tenth month of the Xia calendar as the initial month of the year after the Qin tradition. State Chu adopted it but named several months in their own way. This article holds that the compiling time of the said calendar could be c. 378 B. C. (±32 years) ,which is figured out by checking the celestial movement.