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Astronomy as a Model for the Sciences in Early Modern Times

Menso Folkerts and Andreas Kühne, editors
Publisher: 
Dr. Erwin Rauner Verlag
Publication Date: 
2006
Number of Pages: 
498
Format: 
Paperback
Series: 
Algorismus
Price: 
0.00
ISBN: 
9783936905229
Category: 
Proceedings
[Reviewed by
Fernando Q. Gouvêa
, on
05/21/2007
]

Astronomy has played an important role in the history of mathematics. It has often served as motivation for mathematical research, posing interesting problems and questions. In the Ancient World, observational astronomy was deeply intertwined with "spherics," which we would now call spherical geometry and trigonometry. In some cultures (i.e., Ancient Greece), astronomy was viewed as a part of mathematics. In others (i.e., India), it seems to have almost been the other way, with mathematical treatises often appearing as parts of astronomical works.

This book collects articles on the role of astronomy in early modern science, focusing in particular on the idea that it was a "model science." Like many early modern "mathematicians," Pedro Nunes, Leonhard Euler, and Regiomontanus also worked on astronomy, and the book includes articles on that side of their work. Only a few articles, however, deal directly with mathematics (mostly with trigonometry). Nevertheless, historians of mathematics interested in the scientific context in which early modern mathematics was done will find several articles of interest. 


Fernando Q. Gouvêa is Carter Professor of Mathematics at Colby College in Waterville, ME. He is the editor of MAA Reviews.

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