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FROM THE MAKERS OF BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE

THE STORY OF

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

P The rail revolution P Ancient Greek technology P Brunel Milestones in global science P Astronomy P The Royal Society P Galileo P Women of the space race P Heroes of invention £9.99

FROM THE MAKERS OF

MAGAZINE


Ideas & Inventions / Greece

TECHNOLOGY

GETTY

ANCIENT

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IN THE

WORLD From crop harvesters to automated statues and even proto-computers, the Greeks and Romans loved a gadget. Laurence Totelin traces the technological advances, from the practical to the pointless, made two millennia ago

The 2,000-year-old three-level Pont du Gard aqueduct, part of a 50km aqueduct that supplied the city of NĂŽmes, formerly known as Nemausus, with water The Story of Science & Technology

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Heaven & Earth / Galileo

MOON SHAKER Over 400 years on from the first lunar observations by telescope, Christopher Lewis considers how Galileo Galilei changed our view of the Moon and the heavens

T

he first giant leap towards landing on the Moon may have been taken over 400 years ago. From the summer of 1609 onwards, telescopic studies by Galileo Galilei and other astronomers helped to shatter the dominant medieval belief in the intrinsic separateness and inaccessibility, the literal other-worldliness, of the heavens and the Moon. “The surface of the Moon,” claimed Galileo, “is not smooth, uniform, and precisely spherical as a great number of philosophers believe it (and the other heavenly bodies) to be, but it is uneven, rough, and full of cavities and prominences, being not unlike the face of the Earth, relieved by chains of mountains and deep valleys.” The telescope, an instrument that Galileo did so much to refine, transformed our understanding of the Moon (and of the heavens in general) even more profoundly than the Apollo astronauts’ first view of ‘Earthrise’ from the Moon helped change modern awareness of our fragile Earth. From the moment that Galileo began to point his telescope towards the skies, it was 4

only a small step further to imagine the Moon as another ‘New World’, ripe for exploration and colonisation. It was on 13 March 1610 that the English ambassador to the Republic of Venice, Sir Henry Wotton (1568–1639), dashed off a letter to secretary of state Robert Cecil (1563–1612), enclosing a slim booklet, hot off the press: “I send herewith unto His Majesty [James I] the strangest piece of news (as I may justly call it) that he hath ever yet received from any part of the world; which is the annexed book (come abroad this very day) of the Mathematical Professor at Padua, who by the help of an optical instrument (which both enlargeth and approximateth [brings closer] the object) invented first in Flanders, and bettered by himself, hath discovered four new planets rolling about the sphere of Jupiter, besides many other unknown fixed stars;

Galileo wanted to prove that the Moon was basically like the Earth

likewise, the true cause of the Via Lactea [Milky Way], so long searched; and lastly, that the Moon is not spherical, but endued with many prominences… And the author runneth a fortune to be either exceeding famous or exceeding ridiculous.”

Through the looking glass The optical instrument was a telescope. The first clear, public claim to “a new invention”, “a certain device by means of which all things at a very large distance can be seen as if they were nearby, by looking through glasses”, was made in the Dutch Netherlands in September 1608. News of the invention spread rapidly throughout Europe and actual working examples of the ‘spyglass’ or ‘optic tube’ followed not far behind, arriving in Italy in the summer of 1609. The “Mathematical Professor at Padua” referred to by Wotton was the 45-year-old well-respected academic Galileo Galilei. He had been improving the telescope design, and by the end of August 1609 he had developed a telescope that magnified some eight or nine times; by the end of the year he had a good eyeglass of 20x power. The booklet Robert Cecil received was Galileo’s The Sidereal Messenger (Sidereus The Story of Science & Technology


PAINTING OF GALILEO AFTER JUSTUS SUSTERMANS, 1635: WELLCOME LIBRARY, LONDON/DREAMSTIME

Portrait of Galileo by Justus Sustermans (1635) to which is added an image of the Moon showing the apparent mountains and valleys the great astronomer discovered

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Heaven & Earth / Industrial revolution

Heroes of

BRIDGEMAN

The industrial revolution brought insecurity and squalor to many, but, as Christine MacLeod explains, many of the great inventors and industrialists of the 19th century – particularly those in steam power – were lionised and honoured in their lifetimes

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Invention BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARY/ NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA

BACKGROUND Nantyglo ironworks in south Wales, c1829. Industrialisation would have an immeasurable impact on Britain’s physical and social landscape FOREGROUND William Walker’s imaginary gathering of Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain 1807/8 (1862) celebrated industrial trailblazers such as James Watt

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People & Personalities / Hidden Figures

Mathematician Katherine Johnson was played by actor Taraji Henson (left) in the acclaimed film Hidden Figures, inspired by the story of the women who provided Nasa with important data needed to launch the programme’s first successful space missions

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The 2016 film Hidden Figures revealed the stories of female African-American mathematicians at Nasa in the 1960s. Ellie Cawthorne spoke to the author Margot Lee Shetterly, whose book inspired the film, about the real-life women who broke through the era’s racial and gender prejudices

FIGURES

The real women at Nasa who inspired the film Hidden Figures

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FROM THE MAKERS OF

THE STORY OF

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY This collector’s edition from BBC History Magazine explores the history of science and technology, from the earliest Greek gadgets to the modern exploration of space. Meet astronomers, engineers, experimenters and inventors – the trail-blazing thinkers who shaped our world Inside you will find: ◆ An informative timeline of the history of science ◆ The lives and discoveries of Galileo, Ptolemy, Brunel, Watt, Newton, Boyle and many more ◆ Expert writers on the world’s greatest scientific advances ONLY ◆ Insights into over 2,000 years of scientific ideas and inventions, people and personalities

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Global milestones in technology

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Landmark discoveries

Inventors and pioneers

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