A Student's Guide Through the Great Physics Texts, Volume 1: The Heavens and the Earth (Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics)
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This book provides a chronological introduction to the sciences of astronomy and cosmology based on the reading and analysis of significant selections from classic texts, such as Ptolemy's "The Almagest," Kepler's "Epitome of Copernican Astronomy," Shapley's "Galaxies" and Lemaitre's "The Primeval Atom."
Each chapter begins with a short introduction followed by a reading selection. Carefully crafted study questions draw out key points in the text and focus the reader's attention on the author's methods, analysis, and conclusions. Numerical and observational exercises at the end of each chapter test the reader's ability to understand and apply key concepts from the text.
"The Heavens and the Earth" is the first of four volumes in "A Student's Guide Through the Great Physics Texts." This book grew out of a four-semester undergraduate physics curriculum designed to encourage a critical and circumspect approach to natural science, while at the same time preparing students for advanced coursework in physics.
This book is particularly suitable as a college-level textbook for students of the natural sciences, history or philosophy. It also serves as a textbook for advanced high-school students, or as a thematically-organized source-book for scholars and motivated lay-readers. In studying the classic scientific texts included herein, the reader will be drawn toward a lifetime of contemplation.
infinite in size or limited in its total mass, is a matter for subsequent inquiry.2 We will now speak of those parts of the whole which are specifically distinct. Let us take this as our starting-point. All natural bodies and magnitudes we hold to be, as such, capable of locomotion; for nature, we say, is their principle of movement.3 But all movement that is in place, all locomotion, as we term it, is either straight or circular or a combination of these two, which are the only simple movements.
conceded this, then they would have to admit, however, that 5.2 Reading: Ptolemy, The Almagest 51 the turning of the earth was the simply most violent of all the motions around it for it to make so great a revolution in a short time. Then the things not held up by it would all appear to be moving the opposite way as the earth. Neither clouds nor anything else which is flying or thrown could be shown to be passing to the east because the earth would always move faster and overtake their motion
by the philosophers, is an exhalation, warm and dry, moving laterally around the earth, etc. Now, inasmuch as the sun has a triple rising and setting, the summer rising and setting, the equinoctial rising and setting, and the winter rising and setting, according to its relation to the two tropics and the equator, and inasmuch as there are also two sides—to the north and to the south, all of which has winds peculiar to them; therefore it follows that there are twelve winds in all, three eastern,
many miles there are in a degree of that kind, and multiply this number by the number of degrees between the places. The result will be the number of miles between them. Since these will be Italian miles, divide by four and you will have German miles. All that has been said by way of introduction to the Cosmography will be sufficient, if we merely advise you that in designing the sheets of our world-map we have not followed Ptolemy in every respect, particularly as regards the new lands, where on
the others or /7a / without body. In addition, there is the fact that the state of immobility is regarded as more noble and godlike than that of change and instability, which for that reason should belong to the Earth rather than to the world. I add that it seems rather absurd to ascribe movement to the container or to that which provides the place and not rather to that which is contained and has a place, i.e., the Earth. And lastly, since it is clear that the wandering stars are sometimes