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Early Chinese Work in Natural Science

A Re-examination of the Physics of Motion, Acoustics, Astronomy and Scientific Thoughts

Joseph C.Y. Chen

Publication Year: 1996

This book re-examines the nature of early Chinese work in natural science, on the basis of original records analysis and artifacts discovered in recent decades by archaeological explorations of China's past.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

front matter

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Contents

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pp. vii-ix

List of Illustrations

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pp. xi-xv

List of Tables

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pp. xvii-xviii

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Foreword

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pp. xix-xxii

Language difficulties, cultural differences, and religious bias have long been formidable barriers facing many European missionary scholars and other sinologists in their earlier attempts to decipher, and evaluate objectively, what has been so richly documented in the Chinese literature and archaeological records for millennia. Recognition of early ...

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Author's Note

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pp. xxiii-xxiv

This work is based on the Sixth Annual East Asian History of Science Foundation Lecture, October, 1988, sponsored by the East Asian History of Science Foundation and the University of Hong Kong. In this written version, I have added the topic astronomy to the two topics, namely the physics of motion and acoustics, selected in the lecture for the ...

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Acknowledgements

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pp. xxv-

... the East Asian History of Science Foundation for their support of the lecture and publication of this work. My gratitude also goes to the students of Hong Kong University and Dr Dimon Liu with their heart..warming request for extra lectures. Although I was only able to accommodate one lecture due to time constraint, their interest in ...

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Introduction

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pp. xxvii-xxxiii

As did many postwar students who went abroad, I decided to major in science, but I sustained an interest in the early Chinese work in mathematics. One day when I was working on a term paper for a sophomore course, the problem with my teacher's answer suddenly occurred to me. Mathematics and science should have no ethnicity or ...

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1. Early Chinese Work on the Physics of Motion

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pp. 1-18

The direct physical experience of man in his immediate environment is predominantly mechanical. Ever since the dawn of civilization, humanity has been fascinated by the phenomenon of motion. They not only studied it but made ingenious use of it. But not until the phenomenon of motion was analyzed in terms of its general features and its relationship ...

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2. Early Chinese Work on Acoustics

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pp. 19-112

We live in an environment filled with sound waves. Much of our acoustical experience comes naturally and spontaneously. The early students of acoustics certainly did not know that the audible sensation of sound is produced by mechanical wave motions in an elastic medium, and that sound waves are longitudinal waves with the disturbances in the medium moving in the same or opposite direction from that of the sound. ...

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3. Early Chinese Work in Astronomy

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pp. 113-190

In general, the Chinese works in astronomy are better studied than those in the physics of motion and in acoustics discussed above. However, for the early astronomical works, especially in the pre-Q

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4. Early Scientific Ideas and Thoughts of Nature in Ancient China

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pp. 191-226

Much has been said about the influence of the various philosophical schools on the development of science in ancient China. It is beyond the scope of this work to examine individually the influence of the various philosophical schools. Although the major schools differ greatly in their philosophical views of social and ethical values and in their approaches ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 227-241

The re-examination of early Chinese works in natural science presented here, though limited only to three specific topics (the physics of motion, acoustics and astronomy) and a brief account of early scientific ideas and thoughts of nature, serves to illustrate that the traditional characterization of early Chinese work in natural science requires ...

Bibliography A: Chinese Books and Documents Before 1800

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pp. 242-244

Bibliography B: Books and Articles in Chinese and Japanese Since 1800

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pp. 245-248

Bibliography C: Books and Articles in Western Languages

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pp. 249-252

Index

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pp. 253-264


E-ISBN-13: 9789882201095
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622093850

Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 1996