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UCI EUROST 10 - First scientific work

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Professor Smith European Studies Department Europe Studies 10 European History Course Code: 24000 ● First scientific work ○ First discoveries about the nature of the pendulum (the period/time of the swing does not depend on the arc, but not on the length) ○ Invention of the pendulum clock, the most accurate time piece at the time ○ Contribution to modern “homogeneous time” ○ Parallel to the change of space in linear perspective ○ 1592 Galileo becomes professor of mathematics at the university of padua ○ Spends time in Venice, esp. Interested in ship-building and nautical devices ○ 1609 he “invents” the telescope (or improves upon the dutch invention) ○ Sells it for practical purposes ○ But then trains it on the night skies… ● Challenge to tradition ○ We saw the long and continuous tradition established by the catholic church in the middle ages ● Why “the school of athens” in the vatican ○ Since around 1200, the church also interpreted the philosophy of Aristotle (4th Century BCE) as supporting its doctrine ○ For example, Aristotle’s argument for a “prime mover” was interpreted as arguing for the existence of a monotheistic god ○ Also, aristotle’s assumption that all heavenly bodies must be perfect that all heavenly bodies must be perfect was interpreted as showing that a perfect god created a perfect universe ● Authority and Tradition ○ What aristotle said was considered beyond doubt ○ For example: heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones ○ What does Galileo do? ○ Drops stones of different weights from the tower of Pisa… ○ Drops feather and stone in a vacuum jar ○ Empiricism? ● Revolutionary ideas ○ The “imperfection” of celestial bodies disproved Aristotle’s view that they must be perfect because they are in the heavens ○ Laid the groundwork for Newton’s ideas that the same laws applied on earth and in the heavens… ○ The existence of other earthlike bodies revolving around planets and the similarity between the moon and earth “disproved” the “ptolemaic” or heliocentric view of the solar system and confirmed the “copernican” or geocentric model ○ 1610 he moves to Florence (hence the name of the “stars” revolving around Jupiter)○ First allowed to publish on the copernican system (if only a “mathematical proposition”) ■ But then condemned as heresy and he was under house arrest until his death, 1642 ● Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) ○ Committed Marxist playwright, so he stressed… ○ ...the economic foundations of society ■ And hence the connections between science and economic forces ○ Opposed and was forced to leave Nazi Germany ● Brecht ○ In exile in Norway and then the United States ○ Was interrogated by HUAC (House on Un-American Activities Committee) led by Joseph Macarthy (an anti-communist witch hunt) ○ Fled the US and settled in East (communist) Germany ○ Main director of the Berliner Ensemble theater ● Galileo’s observations and reasoning ○ What did Galileo see? ○ What did he conclude? ○ How did he reach those conclusions? ○ So what does it mean that Galileo “abolished heaven” ○ The older, stable model of “celestial spheres” gives way to an open universe ○ A fun example from art: ● The “Immaculate Conception” (1660) ○ The Virgin Mary was typically portrayed as standing on the moon ■ Why? ○ What did the moon, as a celestial body, represent in the traditional view of the church (along with aristotle) ■ What was its iconography? ● Lidovico Cardi (Cigoli) 1559-1613 A close friend of Galileo’s ○ Assumption of the virgin (santa maria maggiore, rome) ○ “Assumption” refers to the virgin mary’s rising up to heaven ● Cigoli’s “Assumption of the virgin” ○ If renaissance art helped pave the way to science, here science is influencing art ○ And the art is making an ironic challenge to religion ● Galileo in our “big picture” ○ If we’ve been tracing different causes of instability (in religion, in politics, in philosophy) and attempts to attain a new stability (Treaty of Westphalia, a new political “science”, Cartesian rationalism), where does the new natural science fit in? ○ Ironic: it both introduces a major instability (challenge to church authority and authority of the ancients) but also promises a kind of stability ○ Like rationalism, it offers something everyone can agree with ■ Galileo offers his observations to be tested by anyone else ● “Mathematicization of nature”○ Where do you see Galileo abstracting from observations to use mathematics to gain greater certainty? ○ For example, his calculation of the heights of the moon’s mountains…. ○ This provides a new kind of stable knowledge even as it destabilizes (and eventually destroys) an older way of looking at nature ● What’s the problem with Galileo’s views? How do they introduce instability ○ Galileo and the Catholic church ○ Galileo vs “authority” ○ Galileo’s “revolutionary” science also a revolutionary politics? (parallel to Luther’s “revolutionary” theology) ○ How is science linked to society and ideology? ● Ptolemaic model ○ Named after a Greco-Roman astronomer and mathematician who lived in the first century CE in Alexandria, Egypt ○ Placed the earth in the center of the solar system and universe ○ Adopted by the catholic church because of the special place accorded to human beings in god’s plan ● Earlier geocentric (“Ptolemaic”) model ○ The geocentric model had to get increasingly complicated to account for the motions of the planets, but it managed to be relatively accurate ○ Of course, sea farers were interested in even greater accuracy so more and more epicycles needed to be added to the model ○ When does one model give way to another? ● Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) ○ Portrait: detail in St. John Basilique in Torun, Poland, C.1580 ● Copernicus ○ Published his De Revolutionbus orbium coelestium (on the revolutions of celectial bodies) in 1543 ○ Why was his claim that the earth revolves around the sun (i.e., against the Ptolemaic system) not a problem? ○ Preface claimed that the system it proposed was “only a mathematical hypothesis” ○ Placed on the index of banned books only in 1616 after Galileo’s ideas reached a wider audience ○ Galileo strove to offer


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