By Tim Carr

If Nicholas of Cusa and Ulugh-Beg weren't famous then this man certainly was, and still is. The "father of modern philosophy" and brilliant mathematician has an honoured place in European history but what you might not know is that he also tried to reconcile the church and the Copernicans as to which world-view was correct.

In 1612, …

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Book review by Tim Carr


Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer


By Michael White

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Like most people my view of Isaac Newton was the traditional one. Lonely recluse who single handedly changed our view of the universe in the most profound way - liked by few, admired by many.

Michael White's long book doesn't contradict any of this, …

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By Tim Carr

In 1676 a thirty-two year old astronomer from Denmark stood up in the Academy of Sciences in Paris and announced that he had made a discovery. Some people in the scientific community, such as Newton and Halley, paid attention to him; some, like the director of the Paris Observatory, Giovanni Cassini, didn't. But what Romer had …

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By Tim Carr

The great Mongol empire was not noted for its scientific achievements and with good reason. But in 1428 Tamerlanes' grandson Muhammed Targai Ulugh-Beg, who was governor in part of central Asia, established an astronomical observatory at Samarkand.

As the telescope was still centuries away, astronomers had to content themselves with naked-eye observation. He published a …

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By Tim Carr

You might think that anyone who published a book in 15th century Europe, saying that the Earth was just another world orbiting the sun rather than the centre of the universe, might run foul of the catholic church very quickly. That is just what the German cardinal Nicholas Krebs did in 1440 more than a century before …

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By Tim Carr

At the western edge of the Sea of Storms on the Moon, there is a crater named Hevel. Seventy miles wide, its walls are 6,000 ft high in places and a good telescope will show a fine system of rilles on the crater floor. It is named after a German astronomer called Johannes Hevel (or Hewelcke) …

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By Tim Carr

Being a contemporary of Isaac Newton and Edmund Halley is not a recipe for fame but James Bradley was not the sort to worry about such things. His contribution to
modernizing astronomy speaks for itself.

Born in 1693, he studied theology at Oxford but developed a fascination for astronomy from his uncle, James Pound, who was a …

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