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THE EVOLUTION OF PHYSICS The now numerous public which tries with some success to keep abreast of the movement in science, from seeing its mental habits every day upset, and from occasionally witnessing unexpected discoveries that produce a more lively sensation from their reaction on social life, is led to suppose that we live in a really exceptional epoch, scored by profound crises and illustrated by extraordinary discoveries, whose... more...

PART I THE SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY PHYSICAL MEANING OF GEOMETRICAL PROPOSITIONS In your schooldays most of you who read this book made acquaintance with the noble building of Euclid's geometry, and you remember — perhaps with more respect than love — the magnificent structure, on the lofty staircase of which you were chased about for uncounted hours by conscientious teachers. By reason of our past experience, you would... more...

INTRODUCTION The Science of Astronomy is sublime and beautiful. Noble, elevating, consoling, divine, it gives us wings, and bears us through Infinitude. In these ethereal regions all is pure, luminous, and splendid. Dreams of the Ideal, even of the Inaccessible, weave their subtle spells upon us. The imagination soars aloft, and aspires to the sources of Eternal Beauty. What greater delight can be conceived, on a fine spring evening, at the... more...

CHAPTER I ON RAYS PROPAGATED IN STRAIGHT LINES   s happens in all the sciences in which Geometry is applied to matter, the demonstrations concerning Optics are founded on truths drawn from experience. Such are that the rays of light are propagated in straight lines; that the angles of reflexion and of incidence are equal; and that in refraction the ray is bent according to the law of sines, now so well known, and which is no less certain... more...

§ 1. Introduction. Some twelve years ago I published, in England, a little book entitled the 'Glaciers of the Alps,' and, a couple of years subsequently, a second book, entitled 'Heat a Mode of Motion.' These volumes were followed by others, written with equal plainness, and with a similar aim, that aim being to develop and deepen sympathy between science and the world outside of science. I agreed with thoughtful men who deemed it good for... more...


Page 3 RECREATIONS IN ASTRONOMY. I. CREATIVE PROCESSES. During all the ages there has been one bright and glittering page of loftiest wisdom unrolled before the eye of man. That this page may be read in every part, man's whole world turns him before it. This motion apparently changes the eternally stable stars into a moving panorama, but it is only so in appearance. The sky is a vast, immovable dial-plate of "that clock whose pendulum... more...

INTRODUCTION. When on board H.M.S. 'Beagle,' as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, it occurred to me, in... more...

ASTROLOGY. Signs and planets, in aspects sextile, quartile, trine, conjoined, or opposite; houses of heaven, with their cusps, hours, and minutes; Almuten, Almochoden, Anahibazon, Catahibazon; a thousand terms of equal sound and significance.—Guy Mannering. ... Come and see! trust thine own eyes.A fearful sign stands in the house of life,An enemy: a fiend lurks close behindThe radiance of thy planet—oh! be warned!—Coleridge.... more...

PREFACE The object of this book is to give an account of the science of Astronomy, as it is known at the present day, in a manner acceptable to the general reader. It is too often supposed that it is impossible to acquire any useful knowledge of Astronomy without much laborious study, and without adventuring into quite a new world of thought. The reasoning applied to the study of the celestial orbs is, however, of no different order from that... more...

CHAPTER I A REVALUATION OF THE EVIDENCE ON WHICH THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION WAS BASED We use the word evolution in many ways—to include many different kinds of changes. There is hardly any other scientific term that is used so carelessly—to imply so much, to mean so little. Three Kinds of Evolution We speak of the evolution of the stars, of the evolution of the horse, of the evolution of the steam engine, as though they were all... more...