Discover how mathematics and science have propelled history From Ancient Greece to the Enlightenment and then on to modern times, Shifting the Earth: The Mathematical Quest to Understand the Motion of the Universe takes readers on a journey motivated by the desire to understand the universe and the motion of the heavens. The author presents a thought-provoking depiction of the sociopolitical environment in which some of the most prominent scientists in history lived and then provides a mathematical account of their contributions. From Eudoxus to Einstein, this fascinating book describes how, beginning in ancient times, pioneers in the sciences and mathematics have dramatically changed our vision of who we are as well as our place in the universe. Readers will discover how Ptolemy's geocentric model evolved into Kepler's heliocentric model, with Copernicus as the critical intermediary.
The author explains how one scientific breakthrough set the stage for the next one, and he also places the scientists and their discoveries within the context of history, including: * Archimedes, Apollonius, and the Punic Wars * Ptolemy and the rise of Christianity * Copernicus and the Renaissance * Kepler and the Counter-Reformation * Newton and the Enlightenment * Einstein and the detonation of the atom bomb Each chapter presents the work of a single scientist or mathematician, building on the previous chapters to demonstrate the evolutionary process of discovery. Chapters begin with a narrative section and conclude with a mathematical presentation of one of the scientist's original works. Most of these mathematical presentations, including the section on Einstein's special relativity, are accessible using only basic mathematics; however, readers can skip the mathematical sections and still follow the evolution of science and mathematics. Shifting the Earth is an excellent book for anyone interested in the history of mathematics and how the quest to understand the motion of the heavens has influenced the broader history of humankind.
ARTHUR MAZER, PhD, is Manager of Quantitative Analytics at Southern California Edison, where he oversees the risk assessment of the company's power and gas portfolio. Throughout his career, he has held various academic positions as well as analyst positions at Electrabel, Progress Energy, and Energy Power Marketing Corporation. Dr. Mazer is the author of Electric Power Planning for Regulated and Deregulated Markets and The Ellipse: A Historical and Mathematical Journey, both published by Wiley.
PREFACE ix ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xv 1 PERFECTION 1 2 PERFECTIONISTS 5 A Tour of Athens / 5 Plato s Challenge / 8 Eudoxus Universe / 10 The Math (a mathematical presentation requiring linear algebra) / 14 3 THE ICONOCLAST 24 Insanity / 24 A Disturbing Insight / 29 Aristarchus and On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon (a mathematical presentation requiring trigonometry) / 29 4 INSTIGATORS 38 A Heavy Hand / 38 Patriarchs / 41 The Irony / 43 Fun / 44 Apollonius Osculating Circle and the Ellipse (a mathematical presentation requiring calculus) / 46 Fun s Harvest / 62 5 RETROGRADE 63 The Imperial Theocracy / 63 Ptolemy s Universe / 67 Ptolemy and The Almagest (a mathematical presentation requiring trigonometry) / 70 Inspiration / 91 6 REVOLUTIONARY 93 Possibilities / 93 Copernicus On Revolutions, the Pursuit of Elegance / 103 The Model (a mathematical presentation requiring trigonometry) / 106 An Elegant Result / 116 7 RENEGADES 117 Countering the Reformation / 117 The Trio: Tycho, Kepler, and Rudolf / 119 Meanwhile in Italy / 131 New Astronomy, in Kepler s Own Likeness / 134 A Path Strewn with Casualties / 136 The Physicist s Law / 142 Tycho s Gift / 145 Mars Bed / 147 Configuring the Ellipse: The Second Law (a mathematical presentation requiring trigonometry) / 149 The Mentor / 167 8 THE AUTHORITY 168 Louis XIV, the Sun King / 168 Newton, the Math King / 172 The Influential Principia / 181 Without Fluxions (a mathematical presentation of Newton s laws of motion and the ellipse requiring high school algebra) / 184 Newton s Laws, Kepler s Laws, and Calculus (a calculus-based presentation of Newton s laws of motion and the ellipse) / 207 Newton s Agenda / 224 9 RULE BREAKERS 225 Beginnings / 225 Debunking the Ether / 232 The Established and the Unknown / 240 Trouble / 246 Exiting the Quantum Universe / 249 Bending the Light / 251 An Ergodic Life / 252 Victory / 254 The Experiment / 259 The Famous and the Infamous / 260 Exodus / 264 The End / 267 Relativity / 268 Special Relativity (a mathematical presentation requiring high school algebra) / 271 EPILOGUE 293 BIBLIOGRAPHY 295 INDEX 301