• Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.2 2012

Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.2 2012


On Cosmology of the Pre-Qin Period
GUAN Zengjian
(Department for the History and Philosophy of Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University,shanghai 200240,China)
Abstract  This paper discusses the cosmology in Pre-Qin Period. On the basis of an analysis of related materials in Dao De Jing (Moral Classics) and Zhou Yi (Book of Changes), the paper points out that Confucianists and Taoists hold the same view about the way of the generation of the universe. It also takes about the effect of the idea of “being harmonious but different” as regards the ancient cosmology. It raises a view that the cosmology in Pre-Qin Period not only determined the development direction of the cosmology in later dynasties, but also influenced the development characteristics of traditional Chinese science.
Key words  Pre-Qin Period, cosmology, Dao De Jing (Moral Classics), Zhou Yi (Book of Changes)

The Prelude to the Transmission of New Learning in late Qing China:Content, Significance and Influence of Gezhi Xinxue Tigang by Joseph Edkins and WANG Tao

DENG Liang1 ,  HAN Qi2
(1. Institute for History of Science and Technology & Ancient Texts, Tsinghua University, Beijing 10084, China;  2. Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100190, China)

Abstract  The translation of the Outlines of New Learning on the Investigations of Things (Gezhi Xinxue Tigang) by Joseph Edkins and WANG Tao, published in two issues of the Chinese and Foreign Concord Almanac  in 1853 and 1858 respectively, was the earliest work in late Qing China on the chronology of Western science. It introduced the progress and discovery of Western science since Nicolaus Copernicus. This article identifies numerous scientists introduced in the Outlines, analyzes its content, and investigates its process of transmission, especially the influence on WANG Tao’s The Origins of Western Learning (Xixue Yuanshi Kao,)and HUANG Zhongjun’s The Continuation of the Biographies of Mathematicians (Chouren Zhuan Sibian). It also points out that the purpose of writing this Outlines was to change Chinese scholars’ old views of Western learning. This helped greatly the transmission of new Western science in late Qing China.
Keywords  Gezhi Xinxue Tigang, Chinese and Foreign Concord Almanac, Joseph Edkins, WANG Tao, Chouren Zhuan Sibian, history of Western science

Liu Yueyun’s Viewpoint on the Theory of “Chinese Origin of Western Learning ” and His Construction of Scientific &Technical Knowledge System:A Research on The Chinese Way of Investigating Things(Gewu Zhongfa)
ZHANG Mingwu
(Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100190,China)
Abstract  The Chinese Way of Investigating Things(Gewu Zhongfa)is a representative work about the Theory of “Chinese Origin of Western Learning” in the late Qing dynasty. Its author Liu Yueyun collected various records of scientific and technical knowledge from the ancient Chinese classics and works, constructed them into a system of Chinese scientific knowledge to prove “Western Learning Being Originated in China”, and tried to show that “Chinese science” surpassed “Western science”. This paper analyzes the material and structure of The Chinese Way of Investigating Things, and reveals its meaning for the research of the history of science in China.
Key words The Chinese Way of Investigating Things(Ge Wu Zhong Fa), The Theory of “Chinese Origin of Western Learing”, Liu Yueyun

Mathematical Interpretation on the Knowledge of Projectile Motion in Zhong Xue by Late Qing Traditional Chinese Mathematicians

GAO Hongcheng
(School of Mathematical Science, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300387, China)

Abstract  The knowledge of projectile motion in Zhong Xue greatly aroused the attention of traditional Chinese mathematicians in the late Qing Dynasty. Using his knowledge of circle, Li Shanlan first of all gave a graphic interpretation of knowledge of projectile motion in his Zhong Xue published in 1859. During over 40 years after Li, more than 10 mathematicians re-interpreted Huoqi Zhenjue, which rendered the knowledge of projectile motion to be widely disseminated at that time. Most of the mathematicians cast aside parabola when they discussed the knowledge of projectile motion. This paper deems that the traditional Chinese mathematicians selected and interpreted the western learning introduced into China on the basis of their own and soldiers’ composition of knowledge, whose process was made even more compact and thorough by the Late Qing specific social context.
Key words  knowledge of projectile motion,  dissemination,  composition of knowledge

Chiang Kai-shek’s China’s Destiny and the Responses Academia Sinica
GUO Jin-hai
(Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100190, China)

Abstract  Published in 1943, China’s Destiny is Chiang Kai-shek’s monograph on national policy. In the monograph, Chiang proposes a nation-building plan, which integrates the three parts of culture, economics and national defense into one system. The focal point and urgent task of the plan are economic construction. At the same time, economic construction as industrialization as a matter of top priority, whose key rests with the implementation of industrial plan. Under the orders of Office of the Secretary of the Supreme National Defense Council, Academia Sinica carried out two activities about the monograph between April and August in 1943. The main suggestions made by the institutes of Academia Sinica taking part in the activities consisted of the neglect of agriculture with emphasis being laid on applied science in Chiang’s industrial plan. In order to support the implementation of nation-building plan, especially the industrial plan, the institutes taking part in the second activity worked out the implementation methods related with their research and other works. To a certain extent, China’s Destiny caused Academia Sinica to pay more attention to the research of applied science since 1943, which was related with actual urgent problems in the state and China’s society. Chiang’s modification for the relevant content in the revised and enlarged edition of China’s Destiny in 1944 was related with these suggestions. The interactive effects between Chiang and Academia Sinica implicating the state and Academia Sinica had a complex relationship that the state and Academia Sinica were to some extent interdependent, but tension still existed to a certain degree between the two sides.
Key words  Chiang Kai-shek, China’s Destiny, nation-building plan, industrial plan , Academia Sinica

An Alternative Interpretation of Baitian(white field) and Shuitian(water field):Discussion with Mr. Xin Deyong

ZENG Xiongsheng

(Institute for the History of Natural Science, CAS,Beijing 100190, China) 

Abstract  This paper disagrees with prof. Xin Deyong's view on baitian and shuitian, which literally mean the white field and the water field; this paper gives another interpretation of the two words in ancient Chinese documents, and suggests that baitian is a kind of dry land without any artificial irrigation, but not an equivalent of dry-land. Meanwhile it also means bare land including baitian and shuitian that not tilled and occupied by crops and other plants. Similarly, shuitian does not just refer to the paddy field as the times after the Tang and Song dynasties, but to the irrigated field, including some dry land are irrigated in ancient China. The separation of baitian and shuitian was the result of the development of irrigation works and water conservancy in northern China, and has nothing to do with the development of agriculture in southern China as Prof.Xin suggested.
Key word  Baitian (white field),  Shuitian(water field) , dry land,  irrigated field,  paddy field

Indian Rasāyana in Tang Dynasty
HAN Jishao
(Institute of Religion, Science and Social Studies, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China)
Abstract  Rasāyana is one of the eight branches of Āyurveda. It represents not only rejuvenation therapy, or use of medicines that cure all ailments, but also to prevent old age and prolong life. In the early Tang Dynasty, in order to cure disease or prolong life, some Indians brought Rasāyana to Taizong, Gaozong and Wu Zetian. As a result, Rasāyana left some of its traces in Tang culture, especially in Daoism.
Key words  India,  Rasāyana,  Daoism(Taoism),  Chinese alchemy

An Analysis of Hassler Whitney’s Work on Differentiable Mannifolds from 1934 to 1936
DENG Mingli, WANG Tao
(College of Mathematics and Information Science, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050016, China)

Abstract  Hassler Whitney is one of the  most influential mathematicians in America during the 20th century, as well as the founder of differential topology. The concept of manifold in his Manifold (1936) is a representative basic mathematical concept in the 20th century, which is described as a space form for numerous natural phenomena. But Whitney worked on graph theory early until he switched to topology in 1933. Basing on the classified researches of primary sources,this paper discusses the reason why Whitney shifted to topology from graph theory, analyses his work on differential manifolds from 1934 to 1936 and reviews the historical significance of his specific work as well as its impact on Chinese mathematics.
Key words  Hassler Whitney,  graph theory,  topology,  differential manifold

The Calabi Conjecture and Its Proof
Feng Xiaohua,  Gao Ce
(Research Center for Philosophy of Science and Technology, Shanxi University ,Taiyuan Shanxi 030006, China)

Abstract  The proof of the Calabi Conjecture by Shing-Tung Yau in 1976 has generated a number of important results. These results are fundamental for the subsequent development of mathematics as well as that of physics. Based on the original literature, this paper outlines the origin of the Calabi conjecture and its final proof by Yau. The paper also discusses the close relation between the Calabi Conjecture and Kähler-Einstein metric through the work of Shing-Tung Yau and that of Thierry Aubin.
Keywords  Eugenio Calabi, Calabi Conjecture, Shing-Tung Yau, Thierry Aubin, Kähler-Einstein metric

Several Astronomical Observations Considered as Signals of Mars in the Late Nineteenth Century: Debate and Impact

MU Yunqiu,  JIANG Xiaoyuan
(School of the History and Culture of Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai  200030,China)

Abstract  The early history of SETI program is an issue which should arouse our attention. This paper discusses systematically the controversies in the astronomical community and the impacts on the science fiction about several astronomical observations considered as signals of Mars in the late nineteenth century, which have been hardly mentioned by previous works. In addition to shedding light on the field of historiography of science, this paper is a beneficial attempt to analyze the science fiction from a broader scientific and cultural perspective.
Key words  signals of Mars, projection of Mars, astronomical observation, science fiction, SETI(Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)