The History of Bioinformatics
The History of Bioinformatics
The Truth of the Sciences
On the Motion of Bodies Resulting from Impact
On Centrifugal Force
Horologium Oscillatorium, Part IV
On the Center of Oscillation
Sharon is interested in the dynamics of environmental and technological controversies and has special interest in the social aspects of engineering, environmental politics, the rhetoric of sustainable development, the philosophies behind environmental economics, and trends in environmentalism and corporate activism/public relations. Most recently she has broadened her research interests to include the promotion of the work ethic, market solutions to social problems anda critique of neoliberalism.
The museum houses an extensive collection of scientifically important zoological material designated as being of outstanding national and international significance by Re:source (formerly the MGC).
As part of the Department of Zoology we are also home to a thriving research community.
Kenneth Keniston is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Human Development in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society and Director of the MIT India Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) provided reliable real-time control for the Apollo spacecraft that carried US astronauts to the moon, 1969-1972. It was designed by the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory (now The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.) and manufactured by Raytheon Corporation.
The AGC was significant for its tight coupling of human and machine, its early use of integrated circuits, and its reliable, mission critical software. The history of the AGC project provides a window into the history of technology in America during the space race and the Cold War. This site is devoted to documenting the machines, people and institutions that made this achievement possible.
We would like to gather important facts including what happened in the last decades, years, or even weeks. In addition, we want to provide interpretations - yours and ours. In the spirit of stimulating discussions, we will juxtapose different accounts of the same episode. You may decide that only one is right - you might find several accounts possible. Compare for example the following two brief explanations of the origin of the modern discipline of materials science and engineering:
At the International Conference on the History of Computing held in Los Alamos in 1976, R.W. Hamming placed his proposed agenda in the title of his paper: "We Would Know What They Thought When They Did It." He pleaded for a history of computing that pursued the contextual development of ideas, rather than merely listing names, dates, and places of "firsts". Moreover, he exhorted historians to go beyond the documents to "informed speculation" about the results of undocumented practice. What people actually did and what they thought they were doing may well not be accurately reflected in what they wrote and what they said they were thinking. His own experience had taught him that.
Daniel Bernoulli was born on January 29th 1700. He came from a long line of mathematicians. His father Johann was head of mathematics at Groningen University in the Netherlands. The family was prone to bitter rivalry: something he was to suffer when he became estranged from his father some 30 years later.
At the age of five, the Bernoulli family returned home to Basel in Switzerland, so that Johann's wife could be with her ailing father. Some years earlier Johann had applied to become professor of mathematics at Basel University, but this was denied him because his elder brother, Jakob had deliberately schemed to prevent him getting the post. Later Jakob got the professorship. En route to Basel, Johann learned that Jakob had just died of tuberculosis. He later recalled rather shamelessly that " ... I could succeed to my brother's position." He set about lobbying for the vacant position and in less than two months he got his way.
The Armillary Sphere
A drawing of a demonstrational armillary sphere, from Libros del saber de astronomia del rey D. Alfonso X De Castilla.
Large image (188K).
Very large image (1.6M).
Armillary spheres can be divided into two main categories: the observational armillary, as used by Ptolemy and Tycho Brahe; and the demonstrational instrument. Both types consist of a number of rings (Latin: armillae) which are arranged so as to model the circles of the celestial sphere. Typically, armillary spheres used for observation were larger and possessed fewer rings than those which served as demonstrational instruments; this made them more accurate and easier to use. Often the rings of demonstrational armillaries, like those of the observational spheres, were divided, and some incorporated sights which could be used to orient the instrument appropriately.