Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop

Location: McKenna Hall

Diffusion of Astronomical Knowledge across and within Cultures

Click here for the conference website.


It is a well recognized phenomenon that astronomical ideas, theories, and data have historically crossed cultural and disciplinary boundaries. For the Eleventh Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop, we invite submissions that explore the theme of diffusion of astronomical knowledge. We understand “diffusion” to be a broad category: How did astronomical theories pass from on culture to another? What ideas expressed in one language or worldview were modified when passing into another system? How do subcultures within a single broader culture, such as professional and amateur within the same geographical region, interact? How do new discoveries make their way through a scientific community, and how do they eventually get rejected or accepted? How does knowledge pass from specialists to the broader popular culture? How do instruments play a role in transferring and shaping knowledge, especially as they pass between cultures? As in previous years, we expect that the theme can encompass a number of different time periods and geographical locations. Proposals that directly address the theme will receive preferential treatment.

Sunday Schedule:

8:30 - 10:00 am  Paper Session
Chair: Marc Rothenberg, National Science Foundation

“Were Ancient Chinese Astronomy and Astrology Transmitted from Babylonia?,” David Pankenier, Lehigh University

“Cultural Adaptation of Astronomical Knowledge in Early Japanese History,” Steven L. Renshaw, Kanda University of International Studies

“Selective Diffusion of Astronomical Ideas in the Indian Context, Feroz Shah Tughlaq and Sawai Jai Singh: Two Case Studies,” N. Rathnasree, Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

10:00 - 10:30 am  Break

10:30 - Noon  Paper Session
Chair: Rachael MacDonald, Yale University

“Conceptions of Space and Place in Plato’s Timaeus,” Amanda Richard, Florida State University

“Classifying Multiverse Structures,” Eric Hatleback, University of Pittsburgh

“The Question of the Intrinsic Curvature of Space: Diffusion between Mathematics and Astronomy, Cosmology and Epistemology (1873–1917),” Connemara Doran, Harvard University

Noon - 12:30 pm  Business Meeting

See conference website for abstracts.

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