• Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.3 2006

Studies in the History of Natural Sciences  NO.3 2006 

The Attempts to Establish Atomic Energy Science by Academia Sinica and Central Institute of Beiping in 1940s

LI Yanping, WANG Shiping, DAI Nianzu

(Department of Physics, Capital Normal University,  Beijing 100037, China)

Abstract Based on relational archives, the article narrates some attempts that Academia Sinica and Central Institute of Beiping had made to establish atomic energy science in China in 1940s.

Key words atomic energy science, Academia Sinica, Central Institute of Beiping


The Character Hua(Change)in Chinese Inorganic Nomenclature:1896—1945


(General Education Center,Fortune Institute of Technology,Gaoxiong,Taiwan)

Abstract Under the influence of Japanese nomenclature,a character hua that means change appeared in Chinese inorganic terms. The inorganic salts and bases are written with three characters:the negative element,a connecting symbol,hua,and the positive element. Although similar to French,this order is opposite to the English system of naming the metal first. But after the Opium Wars,English became the main language to be translated for the Chinese. It is interesting to note that a similar term had appeared in 1868,but it caused little resonance.By the 20th century,the terms hua in Chinese inorganic nomenclature were recognized by the public. Even though,such a term with hua was subjected to discussion in the view of chemical theories,Chinese language and education at that time. The formation of many Chinese terms that are related with hua is one of the reasons for their use today.

Key words inorganic chemistry,nomemclature,Chinese,Japanese


The Attempt at Merging Chinese and Western Mathematics: A Case Study on the Compilation of the Tongwen Suanzhi (1614)

PAN Yining

(Institute for the History of Natural Science,CAS,Beijing 100010,China)

Abstract From the late 16th century,Jesuits such as Matteo Ricci (1552—1610) arrived in China. In order to arouse the interest of Chinese literati in Christianity,they introduced Western mathematics to China. The Chinese literati began to learn Western mathematics and tried to integrate it with traditional Chinese mathematics. The Tongwen Suanzhi of Li Zhizao (1565—1630) was compiled in this context. Based on Chinese and Western sources,the author points out that the Tongwen suanzhi comes not only from the Epitome Arithmeticae Practicae (1583) of Christoph Clavius(1537—1612),but also from the Shendao dabian lizong suanhui of Zhou Shuxue and the Suanfa Tongzong of Cheng Dawei (1533—1606). This will help to understand the social context of the introduction of Western mathematics in China.

Key words Tongwen Suanzhi,Shendao Dabian Lizong Suanhui,Li Zhizao,Matteo Ricci,Christoph Clavius,Zhou Shuxue,equation


A Study on Pierre Simon de Laplace's Théorie Analytique des Probabilités

XU Chuansheng,

(Department of Mathematics, Linyi Teachers College, Shandong Linyi 276001; Centre for the History of Mathematics and Sciences, Northwest University, Xi'an 710069, China)

QU Anjing

(Centre for the History of Mathematics and Sciences, Northwest University, Xi'an 710069, China)

Abstract P.S.de Laplace was a pioneer of probability theory. His Théorie Analytique des Probabilités is an important work in this field. Laplace's work has been taken as a turning point in the history of probability theory. He introduced the concept of probability, and created the anlytical method. He made the first rather fine theoretical system of the probability theory which was from combinational technique to analytical method. Up to now, his thoughts still have a far-reaching influence on modern mathmatical creativity.

Key words P.S.de Laplace, probability, limit theorem, mathematical statistics, social sciences


Research on the Xian Qin Huangzhong Pipe: An Attempt to Calculate the Inside Diameter of Huangzhong Pipe with Modern Acoustic Formula


(College of Humanities,Univ.of S & T of China, Hefei 230026,China)

WANG Changsui,

(Dept.of History of S & T and Archaeometry,Graduate School of CAS,Beijing 100039,China)


(Department of Music,Luoyang Teachers College,Luoyang 471022,China)

Abstract Lüshi Chunqiu (Master Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals) states that the Huangzhong pitch pipe has a length of 3.9 cun,whereas according to the literature of Han Dynasty,it is 9 cun long. The authors made a comprehensive survey to find out the real length of the pipe. It is the Qing Huangzhong pipe that is recorded in Lüshi Chunqiu. And its pitch is octachord of 9 cun Huangzhong pipe. Using the currently accepted acoustic formula, it can be inferred that the inside diameter of the Xian Qin bamboo pipe must be about 0.71 cun. This paper also argues that the 8.1 cun pipe hypothesis and the 8.71 cun pipe hypothesis are groundless.

Key words Huangzhong pipe, music pipe, mouth-correction


Concerning the Provenance of Lapis Lazuli

FU Xiufeng,

(Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, CAS, Shanghai 201800, China)

GAN Fuxi,

(Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, CAS, Shanghai 201800; Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China)

MA Bo,

(Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China)

GU Donghong

(Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, CAS, Shanghai 201800, China)

Abstract Lapis lazuli is one of the oldest precious stones and also a proof of cultural exchange between the western and eastern world. The history of its provenance and application is summarized in this paper. Proton induced X-ray emission(PIXE), X-ray diffraction(XRD), Laser raman spectroscopy(LRS) and scanning electron microscope(SEM) are used to study the mineralogy of several lapis lazuli samples from Afghanistan, Baikal of Russia and other places. Experimental results show that lapis lazuli specimens of different qualities have different compositions and structures. The categories and quantities of accompanying minerals provide beneficial information for exploring the provenance of lapis lazuli.

Key words lapis lazuli, provenance, application, mineralogy


A Study on the Yuan Ye Theory of the Classic Human Habitat


(The Economics and Management School at Wuhan University &

The Tourism Planning and Research Institute at Wuhan University,Wuhan 430072,China)

Abstract It is widely accepted that western scholars first advanced the modern human habitat environmental theory in the 1950s. More than 370 years ago,however, Yuan Ye had established a basic framework for the theory. Not just a classic work on the historical and traditional concepts of garden construction,Yuan Ye integrates theoretical work on every nuance of the ideal environment for humanity. This paper considers such an additional perspective as shedding fresh light allowing an alternative synthesis,which suggests that the “modern inhabitant environment theory” actually finds its essence in Yuan Ye. It demonstrates that the modern theory finds its roots in the philosophy of geomantic omens,called “Feng Shui”. But Yuan Ye develops the useful and discards the useless,putting forward the basic framework of the theory. It advocates the dialectic and unified chain of influence based on the arrangement and design of the natural and artificial ecosystem,creating and harmonizing a healthier physical,social,and spiritual environment. Simultaneously,Yuan Ye features three primary characteristics: the spirit of cosmology (integration of humanity and nature),exemplifying the character of the age and the concept of traditional Chinese values,combining science and art in this theory through the medium of visualized thought.

Key words Yuan Ye, Chinese classic,human inhabitant environment


Mathesis Perennis: The Characteristics and Trends of History of Mathematics Judged from the 22nd International Congress of History of Science

JI Zhigang, ZHENG Fanglei

(Department of History of Science and Philosophy of Science,Shanghai Jiaoton University,Shanghai 200030,China)

Abstract By a comprehensive analysis on the plenary lectures,symposia and scientific sections related to the mathematics history in the 22nd International Congress of History of Science,this paper points out that the traditional internal-history studies for the history of mathematics are still of great vitality,but we should concern ourselves with some new hot issues,for example,the exchanges and transmission of mathematical knowledge between multicultures have become a main trend. For replying the challenge arisen from the globalization and cultural diversity,the new ideas,new perspectives,and new approaches appeared in the 22nd ICHS should be of great importance to the history of mathematics in China.

Key words 22nd International Congress of History of Science,the characteristics and trends of history of mathematics,exchanges and transmission of mathematical knowledge,cultural diversity


Roving Scholar,Troubadour,and Faquir: An Introduction to Ho Peng Yoke's New Memoir and Congratulations to His 80th Birthday


(Institute for the History of Natural Science,CAS,Beijing 100010,China)

Abstract This essay was originally drafted as a preface to Professor Ho Peng-Yoke's newly published memoir: Reminscence of a Roving Scholar (Chinese version,forthcoming). The author at the outset introduces the journeys Prof. Ho embarked upon between the fields of sciences and humanities,and indicates the impact Ho's three pivotal choices had on his academic career. Simultaneously,the author makes explicit comments on Ho's cultural and historical views,which illuminate the significance of historiographic subjects such as the ties between science and humanity,the science in various historical contexts,and the perspective of ancient Chinese science. Finally,the author reveals,through personal experiences,the special contributions Ho made to the enterprise of the history of Chinese science,in his multiple roles as researcher,organizer,fundraiser and advocator; and the very reasons for his respectability among fellow historians of science the world over.

Key words science,humanity,history of Chinese science,Joseph Needham,Ho Peng Yoke


Re-discussion on “Was Sinan a Magnetic Ladle”

LIU Bingzheng

(College of Physics, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China)

Abstract In 1948, Mr.Wang Zhen-duo put forward that sinan or zhinan in ancient Chinese documents was a magnetic ladle. This view was quickly accepted by many people. But the author thinks that there exist many problems or difficulties with Wang's view. Since 1956, the author had written several papers to query the validity of this opinion, and proposed a new opinion which considered sinan as the Great Dipper. Quoting the classics, Mr.Dai Nianzu, a faithful follower of Wang Zhen-duo, recently published an article, in which he attempted to further prove sinan to be a magnetic ladle. After making a serious study of Dai's article, the author found his discussion and arguments turned out to be invalid. In this paper, as a reply to Mr. Dai, the author also further explains his opinion and points out the difficulties and contradictions in the opinion of a magnetic ladle.

Key words sinan, magnetic ladle,Wang Zhen-duo,Dai Nianzu, Great Dipper


Additional Discussion on Selected Readings of Ancient Literature Concerning Zhang Heng's Seismograph with a Discourse on the Relation Between Literature and Simulated Test

 ZHAO Guanfeng

(Institute of Social Development,Henan Normal University,Henan Xinxiang 453007,China)

Abstract Based on the author's research,while studying and reproducing a seismograph,the relevant content of Yuan Hong's Hou Han Ji (Record of the Later Han Dynasty) should be the first literature to be selected,and the information from the Hou Han Ji indicates that the axiom of Zhang Heng's seismograph is quite correct,but it fails to work effectively. Through analysis of the literature about the earthquake in West Gansu and the earthquake in the Capital in history,the possibility of using the West Gansu earthquake that occurred in AD 143 to test seismograph's function is denied again. In the simulated test and reproduction research of history of science,between literature and simulated test there exists the relation of unavoidable tension,whose authenticity is closely related to the disciplinary property of a problem under study.

Key words seismograph,earthquake,literature,simulated test, Hou Han Ji (Record of the Later Han Dynasty)