• Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.1 2011

Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.1 2011

Science, Knowledge and Power: Observations of the Shadows of the Sun and the Kangxi Emperor’s Role in the Calendrical Reform

Han  Qi
(Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS)

Abstract Greatly impressed by the conflict between Yang Guangxian (1597-1669) and the Jesuit missionaries in the 1660’s, the Kangxi emperor began to learn Western science. He not only learned mathematical sciences diligently in his spare time but also used it as a tool to control people. As an alien knowledge system, European science played a significant role in his political life. Based on two observations of the sun’s shadows in 1668 and 1692, this paper tries to explain the reason why the Kangxi emperor began to learn Western science and how he showed off his ability in front of the Han Chinese officials using newly acquired scientific knowledge. Relying on Chinese, Manchu and European sources, this paper will give a detailed description of the observation of the sun’s shadow at summer solstice in 1711 in its social context. This will help to explain why the Kangxi emperor used science as a tool to control European Jesuits and launched the calendrical reform in 1713.

Keywords  Kangxi, science, power, Jesuits, observations, sun’s shadows, calendrical reform


Prediction Accuracy and Error Analysis of Real New Moon in Kaixi Li
TENG Yanhui
(Research center for the History of Mathematics and Science,Northwest University,Xi’an 710127,China)
TANG Quan
(School of Mathematics and Information Science,Xianyang Normal University,Xianyang 712000,China;Institute of Chinese Ideology and Culture,Northwest University,Xi’an 710069,China)

Abstract  The real new moon is a direct basis for ancient calendars.At the same time,it also directly affects the accuracy of solar and lunar eclipse.This paper calculates all real new moon moments of Kaixi Li.Comparing these calculations with modern values,the paper estimates the accuracy of this calendar,whose overall level of accuracy is found to be about 21 minutes.The error of mean new noon which is 8.4363 minutes can be calculated using a method of periodic function.And then the paper analyses various kinds of errors comprehensively and finds the major factors and their characteristics which affect the accuracy of real new moon.The error of correction term of moon plays the most important role in all errors.
Key words  real new moon; Kaixi Li; accuracy; error; mean new moon

Re-examining Dai Zhen’s Gougu geyuan ji in Terms of Construction and Mathematical Principles

Jiang-Ping Jeff CHEN
(Department of Mathematics, College of St. Cloud, a branch school of Minnesota State University, U. S. A)

Abstract  The contribution of the 18th-century scholar, Dai Zhen, in traditional Chinese mathematics has always been thought to be limited in the discovery and collation of the lost Mathematics Classics such as collating and editing Jiuzhang suanshu.  His mathematics treatise has been criticized as insignificant by scholars and historians since his time.  This article analyzes, from the angle of constructing a mathematical system, Dai’s trigonometric treatise, Gougu geyuan ji.  In so doing, many oftencriticized eccentricities in Dai’s book can be explained reasonably: Dai purposedly used ancient and self-made terms and measuring units to replace those used by the Jesuits.  His goal was, from mathematical properties known to ancient Chinese scholars, to create a system that carries equal computing powers as the western trigonometry. Moreover, in the literature of studying Dai’ mathematics, the role of mathematical principles in his construction was rarely discussed.  Dai considered that all the computational algorithms in trigonometry could be analyzed and derived with a single property that similar triangles have proportional sides.  Therefore, this property becomes a fundamental mathematical principle in constructing Dai’s system. The article also discusses how Dai utilized and expressed this principle in his treatise.
Key words   Dai Zhen, Gougu geyuan ji, mathematical principles, Western learning of Chinese origin

Study on the Approach to Realize the Thought of Gauss’ Non-Euclidean Geometry
CHEN Huiyong
(College of Mathematics and Information Science, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022)
Abstract  The thought of Gauss’ non-Euclidean geometry is intended to reveal that the Euclidean geometry does not have the only physics necessity. Gauss’ intrinsic differential geometry, however, has deeply revealed the non-Euclidean nature of geometry spaces. This paper studies the inherent relations between Gauss’ intrinsic differential geometry and non-Euclidean geometry, and the approach to realize his non-Euclidean geometry, and the authentication of his non-Euclidean geometry in his actual geodesy. This paper points out that the thought of Gauss’ intrinsic differential geometry has pointed out a differential geometry approach of the development and confirmation of non-Euclidean geometry.
Key words  Gauss (1777-1855), non-Euclidean geometry, intrinsic differential geometry


On the Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Agricultural Books and the Ways of Their Transmission in Song Dynasty

QIU Zhicheng
(School of History,Capital Normal University,Beijing 100089,China)

Abstract  Characteristics of temporal and spatial distribution of Song dynasty’s agricultural books are the outcome and manifestation of agricultural development in different periods and regions in Song dynasty. Various efficient transmission ways of Song dynasty’s agricultural books constitute a key factor for promoting agriculture in Song dynasty. Owing to its establishing of southern agricultural technology system and opening-up of new research areas such as horticulture. Song dynasty’s agronomy reaches the peak of traditional Chinese agronomy.
Keywords  Song dynasty’s agricultural books,  temporal and spatial distribution,  transmission ways, agricultural history

Mould Design for the Restored model of
Zhang Heng’s Seismometer

WU  Yuxia            WANG  Peibo 
(China Earthquake Network Center, Beijing 100045) (Art College of  Tsinghua University,Beijing 100084)
FENG  Ru               LI  Xiandeng  

(China Earthquake Network Center, Beijing 100045)(National Museum, Beijing 100006)
ZHU Xiaomin     LI  Hui 
(Institute of Automation of Mechanical Industry of Beijing, Beijing 100011)
TIAN  Kai            WU  Jian
(Henan Museum, Zhengzhou 450002)(Institute of Geophysics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing 100081)

Abstract  Mould design for the restored model of Zhang Heng’s seismometer is one of the important parts in restoration research, whose outside mould reflects the basic requirement of instrumental function and which is also a visual form of displaying to a certain degree the culture and art in Han dynasty.  So the mould design of the restored model includes the two study aspects of structural mould and art mould.  In this paper, some new results obtained from the relevant historical literatures and archaeological study are reviewed first, and then the three kinds of tube-, bell- and egg-shaped moulds designed in existing models are discussed briefly.  Based on the newly restored model turned out by the research group of China Earthquake Administration and State Cultural Relics Bureau,in addition to analyzing the corresponding design restoration of basic shape, the position of upper hanging point, adjusting structure and instrumental stability relating to structural mould,  the paper also introduces the design idea, cultural succession and art expression relating to art mould. The purpose of design restoration of Zhang Heng’s seismometer is for better displaying Zhang Heng’s great historical contribution to the world.
Key words  Zhang Heng’s seismometer,  culture and art in Han dynasty, structural mould,  art mould,  design restoration

The Whole Story about Academia Sinica’s "Case of Researching to Improve the Chinese National Physique"
DU Jing
(Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology,CAS,Beijing 100044,China)
Abstract  In Chinese anthropological history,the Academia Sinica’s "case of researching to improve the Chinese national physique" is a famous event.By investigating relevant archives,this paper reaches three conclusions.First,the event has the following background:after Nanking was occupied by the Japanese army,the National Government withdrew to the Southwest of China.In order to solve the problem of war resources,Chiang Kai-shek ordered that Academia Sinica to do research to improve the Chinese national physique.Second,researching to improve the Chinese national physique included four elements,such as biological basis,nutritional environment,cultural environment,and geography.In addition,many departments were involved,including the Military members of the National Government,as well as lots of disciplines,universities and academies.Therefore,this study is unprecedented in Chinese scientific history.Third,the preparatory office of the Institute of Physical Anthropology of the Academia Sinica had emerged from the historical background.But as the current political situation had been very unfavourable,and the funding for research had not been enough,the preparatory office of the Institute of Physical Anthropology suffered a miscarriage after running for two years.
Key words  Academia Sinica; the event of researching to improve the Chinese national physiques; the preparatory office Institute of Physical Anthropology;

The Contribution of Chevalley to the Class Field Theory
YAN Chenguang
(College of Mathematics and Information Science , Hebei Normal University ,Shijiazhuang 050016, China;
College of Science , Hebei University of Science and Technology, Shijiazhuang 050018, China)
DENG Mingli
(College of Science , Hebei University of Science and Technology, Shijiazhuang 050018, China)

Abstract  The early development of the class field theory is reviewed , particularly Hilbert’s research . With Chevalley’s idele conception at the core and based on the exploration of its importance, the historical significance of Chevalley’s work is re-evaluated. This paper concludes that it is the conception of idele that makes Chevalley accomplish the global class field theory , as well as the purely arithmetic proof of the class field theory without analysis. More importantly, by means of the idele conception, Chevalley’s work integrates topology and functional analysis together, thus providing some reference for the perspective on Chevalley’s work.  
Key words  Chevalley ,class field theory,idele