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Edited by Carlos Montemayor and Robert Daniel

The Study of Time XVI: Time’s Urgency celebrates the 50th anniversary of the International Society for the Study of Time. It includes a keynote speech by renowned physicist Julian Barbour, a dialogue between British author David Mitchell, Katie Paterson and ISST’s previous president Paul Harris. The volume is divided into dialogues and papers that directly address the issue of urgency and time scales from various disciplines.

This book offers a unique perspective on the contemporary status of the interdisciplinary study of time. It will open new paths of inquiry for different approaches to the important issues of narrative structure and urgency. These are themes that are becoming increasingly relevant during our times.

Contributors are Julian Barbour, Dennis Costa, Kerstin Cuhls, Ileana da Silva, Margaret K. Devinney, Sonia Front, Peter A. Hancock, Paul Harris, Rose Harris-Birtill, David Mitchell, Carlos Montemayor, Jo Alyson Parker, Katie Paterson, Walter Schweidler, Raji C. Steineck, Daniela Tan, Frederick Turner, Thomas P. Weissert, Marc Wolterbeek, and Barry Wood.

Keeping Watch in Babylon

The Astronomical Diaries in Context

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Edited by Johannes Haubold, John Steele and Kathryn Stevens

This volume of collected essays, the first of its kind in any language, investigates the Astronomical Diaries from ancient Babylon, a collection of almost 1000 clay tablets which, over a period of some five hundred years (6th century to 1st century BCE), record observations of selected astronomical phenomena as well as the economy and history of Mesopotamia and surrounding regions. The volume asks who the scholars were, what motivated them to ‘keep watch in Babylon’ and how their approach changed in the course of the collection’s long history. Contributors come from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, including Assyriology, Classics, ancient history, the history of science and the history of religion.

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Ileana Chinnici

In Decoding the Stars, Ileana Chinnici offers an account of the life of the Jesuit scientist Angelo Secchi (1818-1878). As well as providing an invaluable account of Secchi’s life and work—something that has been sorely lacking in the English-language scholarship—this biography will be especially stimulating for those interested in the evolution of astrophysics as a discipline from the nineteenth century onward. Despite his eclecticism, reminiscent of the natural philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Secchi was in many ways a very modern scientist: open to innovation and cooperation, and a promoter of popularization and citizen science. Secchi also appears fully inserted in the cultural context of his time: he participated in philosophical and scientific debates, spread new theories and ideas, but also suffered the consequences of political events that marked those years and impacted on his life and activities.

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Agustín Udías

After their restoration of 1814, the Jesuits made significant contributions to the natural sciences, especially in the fields of astronomy, meteorology, seismology, terrestrial magnetism, mathematics, and biology. This narrative provides a history of the Jesuit institutions in which these discoveries were made, many of which were established in countries that previously had no scientific institutions whatsoever, thus generating a scientific and educational legacy that endures to this day. The article also focuses on the teaching and research that took place at Jesuit universities and secondary schools, as well as the order’s creation of a worldwide network of seventy-four astronomical and geophysical observatories where particularly important contributions were made to the fields of terrestrial magnetism, microseisms, tropical hurricanes, and botany.

The Lynx and the Telescope

The Parallel Worlds of Cesi and Galileo

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Paolo Galluzzi

Set in the context of Counter-Reformation Rome, this book focuses on the twenty-year long relationship (1611-1630) between Galileo Galilei and Federico Cesi, the founder of the Academy of the Lynx-eyed. Contrary to the historiographical tradition, it demonstrates that the visions of Galileo and Cesi were not at all convergent. In the course of the events that led to the adoption of the anti-Copernican decree of 1616, Galileo realized that the Lynceans were not prepared to support his battle for freedom of thought. In addition to identifying the author of the anonymous denunciation of Galileo’s Assayer, Paolo Galluzzi offers an original reconstruction of the dynamics which culminated in the Church’s condemnation of the famous Tuscan scientist in 1633.

This book was originally published in Italian as Libertà di filosofare in naturalibus: I mondi paralleli di Cesi e Galileo (Storia dell’Accademia dei Lincei, Studi 4). Rome: Scienze e Lettere, Editore Commerciale, 2014.

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Edited by John M. Steele

Astronomical and astrological knowledge circulated in many ways in the ancient world: in the form of written texts and through oral communication; by the conscious assimilation of sought-after knowledge and the unconscious absorption of ideas to which scholars were exposed.
The Circulation of Astronomical Knowledge in the Ancient World explores the ways in which astronomical knowledge circulated between different communities of scholars over time and space, and what was done with that knowledge when it was received. Examples are discussed from Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Greco-Roman world, India, and China.

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Edited by Tomasz Bigaj and Christian Wüthrich

This book is a collection of essays whose topics center around relations between analytic metaphysics and modern physical theories. The contributions to the volume cover a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from metaphysical implications of selected physical theories (quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, general relativity, string theory etc.), to specific problems in scientifically-oriented analytic metaphysics, such as the problem of emergence and reduction, the part-whole relation, and the question of objecthood, properties and individuality on the fundamental level of reality. The authors of the contributions are philosophers of science, physicists and metaphysicians of international renown, and their work represents the cutting edge in modern metaphysics of physical sciences.

Contributors are: Tomasz Bigaj, Jessica Bloom, Nazim Bouatta, Jeremy Butterfield, Adam Caulton, Dennis Dieks, Mauro Dorato, Michael Esfeld, Steven French, Andreas Hüttemann, Marek Kuś, Douglas Kutach, Vincent Lam, Olimpia Lombardi, Kerry McKenzie, Thomas Møller-Nielsen, Matteo Morganti, Ioan Muntean, Dean Rickles, Antonio Vassallo, Jessica Wilson, Christian Wüthrich

The Star of Bethlehem and the Magi

Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Experts on the Ancient Near East, the Greco-Roman World, and Modern Astronomy

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Edited by George H. van Kooten and Peter Barthel

This book is the fruit of the first ever interdisciplinary international scientific conference on Matthew's story of the Star of Bethlehem and the Magi, held in 2014 at the University of Groningen, and attended by world-leading specialists in all relevant fields: modern astronomy, the ancient near-eastern and Greco-Roman worlds, the history of science, and religion. The scholarly discussions and the exchange of the interdisciplinary views proved to be immensely fruitful and resulted in the present book. Its twenty chapters describe the various aspects of The Star: the history of its interpretation, ancient near-eastern astronomy and astrology and the Magi, astrology in the Greco-Roman and the Jewish worlds, and the early Christian world – at a generally accessible level. An epilogue summarizes the fact-fiction balance of the most famous star which has ever shone.

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José Chabás Bergón and Bernard R. Goldstein

During the Middle Ages and early modern times tables were a most successful and economical way to present mathematical procedures and astronomical models and to facilitate computations. Before the sixteenth century astronomical models introduced by Ptolemy in Antiquity were rarely challenged, and innovation consisted in elaborating new methods for calculating planetary positions and other celestial phenomena. Essays on Medieval Computational Astronomy includes twelve articles that focus on astronomical tables, offering many examples where the meaning and purpose of such tables has been determined by careful analysis. In evaluating the work of medieval scholars we are mindful of the importance of applying criteria consistent with their own time, which may be different from those appropriate for other periods.

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José Chabás and Bernard R. Goldstein

A Survey of European Astronomical Tables in the Late Middle Ages is a first attempt to classify and illustrate the numerous astronomical tables compiled from about the 10th century to the early 16th century in the Latin West. The compilation of astronomical tables was a major and dynamic intellectual enterprise. These tables respond to a wide variety of astronomical problems and computational needs, and contain a large number of ingenious solutions proposed by astronomers over the centuries. In the absence of algebraic notation and mathematical graphing techniques, a table was often the best way to transmit precise information to the reader. Indeed, an astronomical table is not a just a list of data, but a structured way to present numerical information of astronomical interest.

"...the whole book which is an excellent guide for all those who are interested in the history of medieval European astronomy and, especially, in medieval astronomical tables."
Julio Samsó, University of Barcelona