Probably Halley ́s biggest impact on history was from an idea for finding the distance to the sun. After viewing a transit of Mercury across the sun ́s face during a starmapping trip to the southern hemisphere, Halley hit on the idea of timing a transit of Venus in different parts of the world as a way of discovering the distance to the sun. Halley ́s scheme would eventually send Captain James Cook on his first voyage into the South Pacific aboard Endeavour years after Halley ́s death.
Halley himself made several scientific trips to southern waters. His aim was to investigate the earth ́s magnetic field, but he was also charged with attempting to discover new lands in the South Atlantic. Beyond a scrap of land many miles off the coast of Brazil, he found nothing new in the way of land. But measurements of the earth ́s magnetism gave support for his ingenious theory of how the earth is put together.
Adventurer Halley also gained fame as an early underwater explorer. He developed a diving bell and a diving helmet and used them under the waters of the English Channel, intending eventually to hunt for sunken treasure.
Halley was surely the 17th century ́s most active promoter of science, serving for years as editor for publications of the influential Royal Society. He is acclaimed for encouraging the reluctant Isaac Newton to publish his ideas about motion and gravity. Altogether, Halley gave the world much more than a name for a speedy comet.
Halley became a close friend of Isaac Newton. He encouraged Newton to publish his discoveries, his "Principia," but when the Royal Society had no money to pay for the publication, Halley paid for and accomplished the publishing himself.
As seventeenth-century scientists gradually came to believe that the inside of the Earth was magnetized they were puzzled by the fact magnetic north not only varied slightly from place to place, but gradually changed over time, suggesting a slow variation of the Earth's magnetic field. But if the Earth was permanently magnetized, how could its magnetism vary? Edmond Halley, Britain's Astronomer Royal, ingeniously proposed that the Earth contained a number of spherical shells, one inside the other, each magnetized differently, each slowly rotating in relation to the others. This brilliant deduction earned Halley the command of a small sailing ship, the 52-foot Paramore, and with it, a royal mandate. Halley was to sail forth â€œto stand so far into the South, till you discover the Coast of the Terra Incognita.â€ But more importantly, determine the variation between true and magnetic north in order to more accurately calculate longitudeâ€"a feat that would improve Britain's navigational skills and ensure its dominance of the high seas.
Halley's Quest takes readers on a trilogy of sea voyages, each of which proved to be as novel and revealing as it was difficult and controversial. But more than a yarn of risk and adventure, the story at the core of the book is a deeply personal and intellectual tale that captures the science and the spirit of an almost forgotten episode in the history of navigation. Once branded a heretic by the Church and denied a prestigious scholarly chair at Oxford University, Halley ultimately changed the course of science, producing charts that described more accurate ways to navigate and documenting new geophysical phenomena ranging from ocean patterns to the motion of Jupiter's moons. This delightful book emphasizes the drama of Halley's mission and the passion of an era hungry for the stories science had to tell.
The present work provides the first complete English translation of Halley’s reconstruction of Book VIII with supplementary notes on the text. It also contains 1) an introduction discussing aspects of Apollonius’s Conics 2) an investigation of Edmond Halley's understanding of the nature of his venture into ancient mathematics, and 3) an appendices giving a brief account of Apollonius’s approach to conic sections and his mathematical techniques.
This book will be of interest to students and researchers interested in the history of ancient Greek mathematics and mathematics in the early modern period.
"Van Helden's authoritative treatment is concise and informative; he refers to numerous sources of information, draws on the discoveries of modern scholarship, and presents the first book-length treatment of this exceedingly important branch of science."—Edward Harrison, American Journal of Physics
"Van Helden writes well, with a flair for clear explanation. I warmly recommend this book."—Colin A. Ronan, Journal of the British Astronomical Association
Robert Hooke and Edmond Halley, whose place in history has been overshadowed by the giant figure of Newton, were pioneering scientists within their own right, and instrumental in establishing the Royal Society.
Although Newton is widely regarded as one of the greatest scientists of all time and the father of the English scientific revolution, John and Mary Gribbin uncover the fascinating story of Robert Hooke and Edmond Halley, whose scientific achievements neatly embrace the hundred years or so during which science as we know it became established. They argue persuasively that, even without Newton, science would have made a great leap forward in the second half of the seventeenth century, headed by two extraordinary figures, Hooke and Halley.
Typically, we remember our greatest scientists from one single invention, one new formula or one incredible breakthrough. This narrow perspective does not give justice to the versatility of many scientists who also earned a reputation in other areas of science. James Watt, for instance, is known for inventing the steam engine, yet most people do not know that he also invented the copier. Alexander Graham Bell of course invented the telephone, but only few know that he invented artificial breathing equipment, a prototype of the ‘iron lung’. Edmond Halley, whose name is associated with the comet that visits Earth every 75 years, produced the first mortality tables, used for life insurances. This entertaining book is aimed at anyone who enjoys reading about inventions and discoveries by the most creative minds. Detailed illustrations of the forgotten designs and ideas enrich the work throughout.
To the fae of the Onyx Court, living in a secret city below London, these scientific developments are less than welcome. Magic is losing its place in the world—and science threatens to expose the court to hostile eyes.
In 1666, a Great Fire burned four-fifths of London to the ground. The calamity was caused by a great Dragon—an elemental beast of flame. Incapable of destroying something so powerful, the fae of London banished it to a comet moments before the comet's light disappeared from the sky. Now the calculations of Sir Edmond Halley have predicted its return in 1759.
So begins their race against time. Soon the Dragon's gaze will fall upon London and it will return to the city it ravaged once before. The fae will have to answer the question that defeated them a century before: How can they kill a being more powerful than all their magic combined? It will take both magic and science to save London—but reconciling the two carries its own danger...
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Both of these ideas of cosmos were based on the perception of the sky as a solid structure, a work of art, divine art. The four revolutionary scientists of the modern era Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton did a great deal to challenge the cosmos. Their work was limited, however, to our solar system. They left the solid sky standing.
This book identifies Edmond Halley as a neglected revolutionary who provided the first evidence against the solid sky. Halley opened the opportunity for us to begin the search for a new theory of creation.