Archimedes by E. J. Dijksterhuis

By E. J. Dijksterhuis

Dijksterhuis E.J., Dikshoorn t.C., with a brand new bibliographic essay Wilbur R. Knorr. Archimedes (PUP, 1987., 5000)(ISBN 0691084211)(600dpi)(T)(460s)

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Hydrogen and helium are the predominant elements in the universe. But Earth and all of its living creatures contain hardly any helium; instead, they contain many 34 / Deciphering the Real World other elements besides hydrogen. Where did these elements come from? When stars finally use up their hydrogen, they decay and disintegrate. As a result, the heavier nuclei of other elements are formed and dispersed into space. Our Earth’s and our bodies’ contents of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and so on—all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium—have arisen from stellar decay that occurred earlier in the evolution of the universe.

These early mathematical physicists firmly established that the heliocentric model was a more correct description of reality than the geocentric model (after inclusion of the ellipticity of the planetary orbits that Kepler discovered). Furthermore, Newton demolished the ancient Greek view of the complete distinction between the Earth and the Heavens by mathematically proving that gravitational acceleration had the same value for planetary motion as for the free fall of objects on the Earth. The Newtonian synthesis was the first grand demonstration of the powers of the rational methods of the new science.

Mythology probably first arose in hunter-gatherer societies, well before the invention of the technology of agriculture only about 10,000 years ago. The introduction of agriculture, however, completely transformed the human societies that practiced it. By providing, for the first time in human history, both a stable source of food and a means of generating wealth, agriculture helped to change humanity’s view of itself: rather than seeing themselves as just another group of powerless and completely subservient creatures in the world, human beings began to perceive themselves as sentient beings that were unique among, and superior to, all the other animals around them.

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