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Why was the 17th Century the Dawn of Science Fiction? My basic thesis is that the rise of Science Fiction is inseparable from the Rise of modern Science, whose publications influenced all sufficiently well-read intellectuals. That's why I list both Science Fiction (Bacon, Kepler, Godwin) and science nonfiction here. From the collaboration of Kepler and Brahe to Hamlet's Ghost, to the death of Jean Racine, this was an enormously exciting century in the growth of ideas, institutions, and literary conceits.
There are 3 hotlinks here to authors, magazines, films, or television items elsewhere in the Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide or beyond.
Most recently updated: 24 December 2003
Over 141 Kilobytes of text.
This web page draws heavily on FACTS as listed in "The Timetables of Science", by Alexander Hellemans and Bryan Bunch [New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988]. It does not copy the TEXT of that fine and recommended reference, and has value added in correlating the scientific and literary production of the century, and in hotlinking to additional resources.
Facts were also checked against "The 1979 Hammond Almanac" [ed. Martin A. Bacheller et al., Maplewood, New Jersey, 1978], p.795; and the Wikipedia. It also utilizes facts and quotations from Volume I of D.E. Smith's "History of Mathematics" [(c) 1921 by David Eugene Smith; (c) 1951 by May Luse Smith; New York: Dover, 1958]. Data also from the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica and the Wikipedia.
Executive Summary of the 17th Century Mathematical/Scientific/Philosophical/Literary People of the Century Inventions and Discoveries Tension in the Heart of 17th Century Mathematics 17th Century Theatre Major Books and Events of the Decade 1600-1610 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1610-1620 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1620-1630 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1630-1640 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1640-1650 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1650-1660 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1660-1670 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1670-1680 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1680-1690 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1690-1700 Science Fiction About this Century Non-Fiction About this Century Major Writers Born this Century {to be done} Major Writers Died this Century Decade by Decade Science Background Decade by Decade Mundane Background Hotlinks to other Timeline pages of SF Chronology Where to Go for More: 51 Useful Reference Books

Executive Summary of the 17th Century

"During the seventeenth century the world became a machine" [see below for explanation]. The Scientific Revolution was in full flower. Mathematics, Science, and Philosophy were forever transformed. The next Century (18th Century) would bear the fruits of that with "The Enlightenment" -- but the Road of Mathematical Mechanistic Rationalism was the path taken by Europe in the 17th Century. I contend that the educated 17th Century person read alike works of science, pseudoscience, and science-influenced literature. That is, the line between fiction and nonfiction was hard to draw. There were works that, in retrospect, were clearly Science Fiction, or influenced the broader modern genres of Fantasy and Horror. See, below: * "Hamlet" by Shakespeare, ghost story ever told, is first performed on stage [1600]. * "Don Quixote of La Mancha" by Miguel de Cervantes, see: [1605] * "The Tempest", by William Shakespeare see: [1611] for parallel's with the film "Forbidden Planet" * "The New Atlantis" by Francis Bacon [1627], posthumously published fable inspired by Sir Thomas More's "Utopia." * "Somnium" (Dream) by Johannes Kepler [1634], a voyage to an inhabited Moon. This is unquestionably a work of Science Fiction. * "The Man in the Moone" by Bishop Francis Godwin has birds pull a raft to the Moon, which is of course absurd, and yet correctly predicts that Lunar gravity is weaker than Earth's. A definite work of Science Fiction, and Hard Science Fiction to the extent that it made a correct scientific prediction. [1638] * Cyrano de Bergerac: in a remarkable pair of Science Fiction publications advances seven ways for interplanetary travel, six of which don't work, but the seventh does: rockets (1657), and he also correctly describes the use of parachutes during return: "Histoire comique des etats et empires de la Lune" (1648-1650) "Histoire comique des etats et empires du Soleil" (1662) * The most world-famous Danish Fantasy or Science Fiction author is almost certainly Hans Christian Andersen -- but before him, the author of note was surely L. Holberg (1684-1754) who achieved prominence with "Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground." [1656]

"the World Became a Machine"

"During the seventeenth century the world became a machine, and mechanics became the mathematical science of motion. The two developments proceeded in tandem, driven... by people's desire for greater intelligibility than that offered by the traditional world picture. They understood nature better because it was now mechanical, and mechanics better because it was now mathematical. But what about mathematics itself? It too underwent radical change over the course of the [17th] century, not only in its theories and techniques but also in how mathematicians understood their subject. The Ancients would hardly have recognized geometry in the book Descartes published by that name, and what he thought incomprehensible in the 1630s formed part of standard mathematical practice in the 1690s...." [INFINITESIMALS AND TRANSCENDENT RELATIONS:THE MATHEMATICS OF MOTION IN THE LATE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, Michael S. Mahoney, Princeton University, Published in D.C. Lindberg and R.S. Westman (eds.), Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution (Cambridge, 1990), Chap. 12; a shorter, preliminary version appears as "Changing Canons of Mathematical and Physical Intelligibility in the Later Seventeenth Century" in Historia Mathematica 11(1984), 417-23 Before we dig deeper into the Books that described the 17th Century World Machine, let us examine the context of major events of the century. EUROPE: Europe was convulsed by the Thirty Years' War [1618-1648]. Scotland and England entered a friendly merger with the Union of the Crowns. Protestants from Scotland and England colonized Ireland, as reaction to Irish Catholicism. The English Civil War [1642-1651] is considered by some modern historians as the first battle of these three Anglo-American conflicts: English Civil War, American Revolution, American Civil War. Wars and civil wars raged in Poland with Sweden, Russia, Prussia, and Transylvania. As a result, Poland lost power, and Russia began to gain geopolitical status. Dutch East India Company was created [1602] by Antwerp merchants, a new style of colonial expansion based on return on investment shareholders (as opposed to royal families). The Dutch republic became the economic/political superpower in Europe. It also experienced economic reverses, such as the "windhandel" in tulips which caused widespread bankruptcies [1637]. The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands obtained formal independence from the former superpower of Spain [1648]. Dutch merchant ships sail all the seas, resulting in a Dutch Golden Age in the country, as vividly portrayed by an army of talented painters. AMERICAS: At Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, the Pilgrims land in America [1620]. Quebec founded [1610] as French colony in what is now Canada. Harvard College is founded [1636]. CHINA: The Manchu Dynasty takes over when Li Zi-Cheng overthrows the Ming Dynasty of China [1644]. JAPAN: {to be done}

Mathematical/Scientific/Philosophical/Literary People of the Century

  1. Francis Bacon, scientific philosopher [22 Jan 1561-1626]
  2. see: [1605],[1620],[1626],[1627]
  3. Cyrano de Bergerac [1619-1655], see [1650]
  4. Jean (Johann) Bernoulli [1667-1748], mathematician of Switzerland, see [1697]
  5. Robert Boyle, British Physicist [1627-30 Dec 1691], see [1660],[1661],[1662],[1664],[1666],[1667],[1670]
  6. Giordano Bruno, philosopher [1548-1600]
  7. Robert Burton [1577-1640], English author and clergyman, see: [1621]
  8. Miguel Cervantes Saavedra, author [Oct 1547-23 Apr 1616], see: [1605]
  9. Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician
  10. [1596-1650], see: [1619],[1634],[1637],[1638],[1639],[1663],[1664]
  11. John Donne, Clergyman/Poet [1572-1631]
  12. Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician [1601-1665]
  13. see: [1601],[1636],[1640],[1654]
  14. Galileo Galilei, scientist
  15. [15 Feb 1564-8 Jan 1642] see: [1609],[1610],[1612],[1613],[1632],[1633],[1638]
  16. William Harvey, English physiologist
  17. [1578-1657], see: [1616]
  18. Thomas Hobbes, philosopher
  19. [1588-1679] see: [1651]
  20. Robert Hooke, English physicist
  21. [1635-1703], see: [1665],[1674],[1676],[1679],[1680],[1684]
  22. Christiaan Huygens, Astronomer [1629-8 July 1695], see: [1656],[1657],[1659],[1664],[1673],[1678]
  23. Ben Jonson, English Playwright/Poet [1572-1637]
  24. , see: [1610]
  25. Johannes Kepler, astronomer/astrologer
  26. [16 May 1571-15 Nov 1630] see [1606],[1609],[1611],[1615],[1618-1621],[1619],[1627],[1634]
  27. Gottfried Leibniz, philosopher and mathematician
  28. [1646-1716], see: [1639],[1666],[1671],[1673],[1675],[1676],[1677],[1679],[1684], [1686],[1692]
  29. John Locke, philosopher
  30. [29 Aug 1632-28 Oct 1704], see: [1690]
  31. Marin Mersenne, mathematician
  32. [????-????], see: [1615],[1636],[1638]
  33. John Milton, English Poet/Pampleteer [1608-1674]
  34. , see: [1667]
  35. John Napier, Scottish mathematician
  36. [1550-1617], see: [1614],[1617]
  37. Isaac Newton, physicist and mathematician
  38. [1642-1727] see: [1665],[1669],[1675],[1676],[1679],[1680],[1684],[1686],[1687],[1689]
  39. Blaise Pascal, theologian, mathematician and physicist
  40. [1623-1662], see [1640],[1642],[1647],[1648],[1654],[1658],[1663],[1665],[1670]
  41. William Shakespeare, playwright and poet
  42. [23 Apr 1564-23 Apr 1616]
  43. Baruch Spinoza, philosopher
  44. [1632-Feb 1674], see: [1662]
  45. Jonathan Swift, English author [1667-1745],
  46. Born in Dublin, this clergyman is considered the greatest satirist in the history of the English language. See: [1726]
  47. John Wallis, mathematician [1616-1703]
  48. , see [1655],[1656],[1668],[1685],[1693]

Inventions and Discoveries

include: * Calculus is invented, see [1676], formulates classical mechanics. * Cannon and gunpowder technology improved * planet Earth is a magnet [1600] * making Coke from Coal [1603] * circulation of blood [1604],[1616],[1628],[1660],[1666] * laws of planetary motion [1609] * compound microscope [1609] * applied tidal power [1609] * Moons of Jupiter, Rings of Saturn [1610],[1656] * Sunspots [1611] * Revolving Beacon Lighthouse [1611] * Logarithms [1614],[1617],[1668] * light wave diffraction and interference [1618] * working man-powered submarine [1620] * slide rule [1621] * opposite electrical charges attract [1630] * Vernier scale [1631] * Musical Equal Temperment [1636] * Philosophical basis for scientific method [1637] * Projective Geometry [1639] * Micrometer [1639] * Hydrodynamics [1640],[1686] * Calculating Machine [1642] * Magic Lantern [1646] * Integral Calculus [1634],[1647],[1655],[1675],[1686] * Mercury Barometer [1648] * Air Pump perfected [1650] * Sealed Thermometer [1654] * Infinite Series [1655],[1668],[1671],[1672] * Mathematical Induction [1656] * Mathematical Expectation (Probability) [1657],[1671] * Watch Balance Spring [1658] * Red Blood Cells [1658] * Martian Geology [1659] * Barometer used to predict weather [1660] * Life Table (basis of Life Insurance) [1662] * applications of Steam Power [1663],[1690],[1698] * Reflecting Telescope [1663],[1668],[1672] * Jupiter's Great Red Spot [1664] * Living Cells [1665] * General Binomial Theorem [1665],[1685] * Martian Icecaps [1666] * Blood Transfusion [1667] * Artificial Respiration [1667] * Conservation of Momentum [1668] * Hydrogen [1670] * Airship (theoretical) [1670] * First measurement of the speed of light [1675] * Universal Joint [1676] * Microscopic Protozoa [1677] * Spermatozoa [1677] * Binary Arithmetic [1679] * Artificial Ruby [1679] * Steam Digester [1679] * Clock with Minute Hands [1680] * Halley's Comet [1682] * Bacteria [1683]

Tension in the Heart of 17th Century Mathematics

include: "Close examination of the works of leading mathematicians of the seventeenth century often reveals a certain tension between two modes of mathematical thought: an old, traditional, geometric mode and a new, in many ways revolutionary, algebraic mode. For example, one can often see this tension in Pierre de Fermat: on the one hand, he consciously solves problems that the ancient mathematicians were powerless to confront or that they could not even have posed; on the other hand, he maintains that his solutions carry on the traditions of ancient mathematics, even though these solutions employ mathematical tools and concepts with which an Archimedes or an Apollonius would hardly have agreed.2 One senses the same tension in Fermat's contemporary and rival, Rene Descartes, who on the one hand holds his algebraic universal mathematics to be a reconstruction of those general methods that underlay Greek mathematics and that the Greeks meanly withheld from later generations, and who on the other hand praises himself for having created a mathematical method that the Greeks had never possessed." "The explanation for this tension may well lie in the fact that both mathematicians treated old problems by means of a new symbolic algebra, without themselves being clear on the extent to which the new means had changed not only the techniques of solution but also the very manner of posing problems. With the new algebra, the ars analytica, mathematicians thought at first that they had regained the mathematics of the Golden Age of antiquity. Within a short time, however, the highest achievements of Greek mathematics had been exceeded, and it gradually became clear that something brand new was at hand, something of which the scope was almost limitless. In the meantime, mathematicians were subject to the tension mentioned above." ["The Beginnings of Algebraic Thought in the Seventeenth Century", in S. Gaukroger (ed.), Descartes: Philosophy,  Mathematics and Physics (Sussex: The Harvester Press/Totowa, NJ:  Barnes and Noble Books, 1980), Chap.5]

17th Century Theatre

The 17th century was a golden age of theatre in England, Spain, and France. In Italy, there was the extraordinary rise of the Opera. This was the greatest literary accomplishment of 17th Century Italy, otherwise in decline, and had ultimate impact on Literature in general throughout the world. Chief among the gifted European dramatists were: * Beaumont and Fletcher: Elizabethan English dramatists and collaborators, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. * Calderon and Lope de Vega: Spain's two greatest playwrights, Pedro Calderon de la Barca [1600-1681] and Lope de Vega [1562-1635]. Calderon was more poetic than Lope de Vega, weaker in comedy, stronger in tragedy, and notable here for his effective use of Horror and Supernatural Fantasy plots. * William Congreve [1670-1729]: Restoration English dramatist. * Pierre Corneille [1606-1684]: French dramatist. His landmark drama was the Cid, about the 12th century Spanish hero. * Thomas Corneille [20 Aug 1625-1709]: French dramatist, younger brother of Pierre Corneille. * Sir William Davenant [Mar 1606-1668]: English poet and dramatist, rumored to be the illegitimate son of William Shakespeare. * John Day [1574-1640?]: English dramatist, relevent here for "The Parliament of the Bees", a masque satire from the viewpoint of insects. * Thomas Dekker [ca.1570-1632]: Elizabethan English dramatist. * John Dryden [xxxx-xxxx]: Restoration English dramatist. * Ben Jonson [1572-1637]: Elizabethan English dramatist. * Philip Massinger [1583-1640]: English dramatist. * Moliere, nom de plume of Jean Baptiste de Poquelin [1621-1673]: French dramatist. * Jean Racine [1639-1699]: French dramatist, leading classical tragedian, also a prose Historian.

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1600-1610

1600: The odd couple of Johannes Kepler (theorist) and Tycho Brahe (experimentalist) begin a stormy but spectacular collaboration in Prague 1600: "De Magnete" [Concerning Magnetism] by William Gilbert is the first book on Physics to be entirely based on experiment. It includes chapters on static electricity and the revolutionary idea that the planet Earth is a magnet. 1600: The 4th Apollonian problem (about constructing a circle to touch any three given circles) is solved by Franciscus Vieta [1540-13 Dec 1603] 1600: Pi is calculated as 3.1415929 by Adriaen Anthoniszoon and son... we now correct that slightly to 3.141592653589793238462644... 17 Feb 1600: Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was burnt at the stake for his writings, which were influenced by Platonic mysticism, Aristotelianism, pantheism, naturalism, the new natural sciences, and skepticism. He taught that God was as one with the universe, a diversity exhibiting unity, with life and intelligence in everything. He taught that there was an infinity of worlds, and thus there must be worlds identical to our own but with a single minor difference. 1600: "Hamlet" by Shakespeare, the greatest ghost story ever told, is first performed on stage. 1601: Tycho Brahe dies, Johannes Kepler named to succeed him at Prague observatory 20 Aug 1601: Birth of Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician 27 Sep 1601: Birth of King Louis XIII of France 1601: Death of Scipione Ammirato, Italian historian 1601: "De Vocis Auditusque Organis Historia Anatomica" [On the Anatomy of the Voice and Hearing] by Julius Casserius, with illustrations of ear and larynx 1602: Posthumous publication of "Astronomiae Instauratae Progymnasmata" [Introduction to the New Astronomy] by Tycho Brahe inckuding exact positions of 777 stars and more about the supernova of 1572 1602: Barium Sulfide discovered by Vincenzio Casarido 1603: The death of Queen of England, Elizabeth I (see: "Elizabethan" in Authors "E" 1603: "Uranometria" by Johann Bayer (1572-?) is the most comprehinsive star atlas yet, and establishes the system still used today of naming stars after their constellations plus Greek letters 1603: "De Venarum Ostiolis" [On Vein-Valves] by Hieronymus Fabricius is published 13 years before this anatomy is understood in terms of the function of these valves in the circulation. This advances the notion that the body is a machine. 1603: Sanctorius Sanctorius of Yugoslavia (29 Mar 1561) writes about a pendulum for counting and timing the heartbeat 1603: Federigo Cesi founds the Accademia dei Lincei, a scientific society in Rome still active today 1603: By heating coal without burning it, Coke is discovered by Hugh Platt 1603: Pietro A. Cataldi discovers the 6th and 7th Perfect Numbers which, like the 1st and 2nd (6 and 28) are equal to the sum of their factors: 8,859,869,056 and 137,438,691,328 1604: Galileo writes to Paolo Sarpi that the distance a falling body covers is proportional to the square of its time of fall 1604: Johannes Kepler sees and writes about a supernova in the constellation Ophiuchus, as do astronomers in China and Korea 1604: "Ad Vitellionem Paralipomena Quibus Astronomiae pars Optica Traditor" [The Optical Part of Astronomy] by Johannes Kepler correctly analyzes how light is focussed in the human eye, and how the brightness of light decreases with the inverse square of distance 1604: Hieronymus Fabricius publishes "De Formata Foetu" [On the Formation of the Fetus], a major work of Embryology, including blood circulation in the umbilical cord 1604: "Triumphwagen des Antimonii" [Antimony's Triumphal Chariot] by Johan Tholde discusses the metal Antimony and some of its chemical compounds, although he says the discoveries were the work of an otherwise unknown 1th century monk (Basil Valentine) 1605: Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote of La Mancha" was published in two volumes, 1605 and 1615. Your humble webmaster's mother learned to read Spanish primarily to read this great masterpiece of world literature. An elderly country gentleman of La Mancha reads so many chivalric romances that he becomes insane, believes them to be true, and goes forth into the world as a knight-errant to right wrongs and defend the oppressed. Today one might read this as a warning to obsessed science fiction fans to, in the words of a famous William Shatner skit on Saturday Night Live "Get a Life!" Since knight errants cannot do their thing without a lady-love, he chooses a local peasant girl he knew and dubs her Dulcinea. After his first sortie, wherein he's knighted, he convinces a good-natured but ignorant middle-aged local to be his sidekick, or esquire. Off they go, through one adventure after another, which Don Quixote sees in delsional forms: a windmill as a giant, inns as castles, galley slaves as oppressed gentlemen. His buddy Sancho Panza sees things as they are, but both suffer terribly, returning home depressed and damaged. A pseudo-Quixote novel was published in the next decade, and this goaded Miguel de Cervantes to write his own genuine sequel, which is even better than the first volume. Wonderful chapters cover his dream in the cave of Montesinos, the puppet shows of Maese Pedro, adventures at the Duke's castle, scenes with Robin Hood Guianrt, and the final defeat. When Quixote dies, Sancho Panza has become a beloved figure himself, so that the reader can hardly stand to leave the world of Quixote, which may have started as a satire on the fantasy genre of the day, but grew into a panoramic masterpiece of 17th century Spanish life. The mere entertainment became what many consider the first modern novel, which set a standard for self-aware fantasy (at one point Quixote encounters a character pretending to be Quixote) which endures in the best work of today. 1605: "Advancement of Learning" by Francis Bacon (22 Jan 1561-?) advances the power of the Scientific Method, and discourages the old beliefs in Magic 1606: Johannes Kepler publishes "De Stella Nova" [On the New Star] about the 1604 supernova in the constellation Ophiuchus, covering both Astronomy and Astrology 1607: founding of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia 1608: Hans Lippershey, a German-born Dutch scientist, invents the telescope 1608: Cornelius Drebbel (1572-?) publishes "Ein Kurser Tractat von der Natur der Elementum" [Aclchemical Tract on the Transmutation of Elements] which is wrong about turning one element into another but correct in predicting that heated saltpeter would give off oxygen 1609: Galileo build his first telescope (see 1608: Hans Lippershey) and improves it until it magnifies by a factor of 30 1609: Thomas Harriot draws nicely detailed pictures of the Moon based on observation through a telescope 1609: "Astronomia Nova" [New Astronomy] by Johannes Kepler lays out his correct laws of planetary motion (including that orbits are ellipses, and that equal areas are swept out in equal times), although these empirically derived laws were not mathematically deduced from basic principals until Isaac Newton 1609: the first use of Tidal Power is demonstrated as small mills are powered by the the tides of the Bay of Fundy 1609: Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Janssen both make Compound Microscopes, but Janssen may have done so as early as 1590 William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" (1611, revised in First Folio 1623) is a superbly wrought, graceful play, with some of the Bard's best lines. It was also so science-fictional as to have been rewritten into the modern film "Forbidden Planet." Here's the key: * Prospero, Duke of Milan, Magician = Dr. Morbius (Mad Scientist) * He studies magic = He studies the alien technology * Magic Island = Altair-4 (Alien Planet) * Shipwreck = Forced landing of Spaceship * Beautiful daughter Miranda = Beautiful daughter Altaira * Brutish servant Caliban = Robbie the Robot * Ariel, Spirit of the Air = invisible "Monster of the Id"

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1610-1620

1610: "Tyrocinium Chymicum" by Jean Beguin (1550?-?) is the first textbook to be unambiguously about Chemistry as opposed to Alchemy. See Ben Johnson, below. 1610: Ben Johnson's "The Alchemist" (acted 1610, printed 1612) deals with various swindles and duplicitous cons exploiting people's gullible desire to obtain the Philospher's Stone, key to turning base metals into gold. This robust comedy is science fictional in its arch self-awareness of valid versus invalid technologies, and the effect of imperfect knowledge of technology on human affairs. 1610: Galileo, using his telescope, on 7 Jan 1610 discovers the 4 largest Moons of Jupiter; and subsequently the rings of Saturn (although he doesn't figure out that they are rings), the phases of Venus, and that the Milky Way is composed of a vast number of faint stars. He publishes a best-selling series of newsletters "Siderus Nuncius" [Starry Messenger] unequalled in impact by any science fiction serial. 1610: Quebec founded as French colony in what is now Canada 1611: The King James Bible is published: the greatest-ever translation of this monumental work of Historical Fantasy. 1611: Sunspots are discovered more-or-less simultaneously by Galileo, Thomas Harriot, Father Scheiner, and Johannes Fabricius. If the sun is not perfect, what did God have in mind when creating the universe? 1611: The Orion Nebula is discovered by Nicolas Fabri de Peiresc 1611: Rainbows are first explained scientifically by Marco de Dominis and ever since artists and scientists argue about whether this increases or decreases the subjective beauty of rainbows. 1611: "A New Year's Gift, or On the Six-Cornered Snowflake" by Johannes Kepler 1611: "Dioptrice" by Johannes Kepler describes the Inverting Refractor, a.k.a. The Astronomical Telescope 1611: Completion of the first Revolving Beacon Lighthouse (Tour de Condonan) 1612: The Andromeda Galaxy is first described in print by Simon Marius (20 Jan 1573-?). It would be over 300 years before we understood what a galaxy was. 1612: "Discurso Intorno alle cose che Stanno in su l'Acqua" [Discourse on Water-Floating-Things] by Galileo is the breakthrough book on Hydrostatics, albeit anticipated in some respects by Archimedes 1613: Galileo publishes "The Sunspot Letters" and for the first time takes a public position in favor of Copernicus; he also for the first time describes Inertia 1613: "Commentaria in Artem Medicinalem Galeni" by Sanctorius Sanctorius is the first book to mention the previous invention of the Thermoscope by Galileo 1613: "Hortus Eychstettensis" by Basilius Besler beautifully illustrates plants and flowers 1613: Pietro A. Cataldi finds cool new ways to manipulate continued fractions 1614: "Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descrpto" [Description of the Wonderful Canon of the Logarithm] by John Napier 1614: "De Statica Medicina" by Sanctorius Sanctorius quantifies changes in the author's temperature, pulse, and weight, and provides the first study of the Metabolism 1614: Franciscus Sylvius openly condemns the theory that disease is caused by an imbalance of the four Humors; he suggests that it is due to an imbalance between acid and alkali 1615: William Baffin (1584?-?) comes within 800 miles of the North Pole, a record not broken until the 19th Century. 1615: Johannes Kepler makes the single biggest step towards the invention of Integral Calculus in "Nova Stereometria Doliorum Vinariorum" [New Measurements of the Volume of Wine Casks] with infinitesimal analysis of solids of revolution. Think of that the next time you drink a glass of wine... 1615: Marin Mersenne spreads word of the curve called the Cycloid, soon nick-named 'The Helen of Geometers" beacuse of the disagreements it provokes. Cycloids later are the key to the pendulum clocks of Huygens. 1616: The single worst day in literary history: 23 April 1616, when Shakespeare died in Stratford-on-Avon and Cervantes died in Madrid 1616: The London arrival of Pocahontas, though not as depicted by Disney 1616: Cardinal Robert Ballarmine tells Galileo to renounce Copernicus or suffer the consequences... "De Revolutionibus" by Copernicus is put on the church's "Index Librorum Prohibitorum" where it continues to be censored until 1835. 1616: Hoping to win Philip III's huge prize for a way to find the longitude of ships at sea, Galileo details the use of observing the Moons of Jupiter. He is right, but wins no cash. 1616: In England's Royal College of Physicians, William Harvey (1 Apr 1578-?) delivers a revolutionary lecture on the circulation of blood 1617: John Napier writes about his device for semi-automated multiplication, later called "Napier's Rods" or "Napier's Bones." 1617: "Logarithmorum Chilias Prima" by Henry Briggs (1561-?) adapts John Napier's invention to Base 10 (the Common Logarithms). 1617: "Eratosthenes Batavus" by Willebrord van Roijen Snell explains how to find distances by triangulation and trigonometry 1618: The diffraction and interference of light are discovered by Francesco Maria Grimaldi (2 Apr 1618) but this evidence that light is a wave phenomenon is ignored until rediscovered in 1803 by Thomas Young. 1618-1648: Conflict between Protestant and Catholic ignites and sustains the bloody Thirty Years' War in Europe 1618-1621: Johann Kepler publishes "Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae" and helps establish the new view of the cosmos, which heralds the origins of Science Fiction be reestablishing the place of humanity noncentrally in the universe. The Roman Catholic Church immediately puts it on the list of banned books (the Index Librorum Prohibitorum). 1619: Johann Valentin Andraea published "Christianopolis" in 1619, clearly extrapolating from Thomas More's 1515 English translation of "Utopia" (originally in Latin). 1619: Rene Descartes has the most influential dream in philisophical history on 10 Nov 1619, and follows the dream-advice to rationally unify all sciences. 1619: "Harmonice Mundi" [The Music of the Spheres] by Johannes Kepler discourses on musical and mathematical harmony in nature, and describes his Third Law of planetary motion: that the square of the time of revolution in an orbit is proportional to the cube of the average distance from the Sun.

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1620-1630

1620: at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, the Pilgrims land in America 1620: Cornelius Drebbel builds a working man-powered submarine and tests it underneath the Thames, probably using his secret method for obtaining Oxygen from Saltepeter. 1620: Johannes van Helmont mispells the Flemish word for "Chaos" and establishes the word "Gas" for air-like materials 1620: "Novum Organum" [New Organon, as opposed to the Old Organon of Aristotle] by Francis Bacon, argues forcefully for experiment and induction as the basis of Science 1620: "Arithmetische und Geometrische Progrss-Tabulen" by Joost Burgi of Switzerland is an independent discovery of Logarithms, but was beaten to the punch by both Napier and Briggs. 1621: Robert Burton's "The Anatomy of Melancholy" is a rambling scientific-philosphical treatise dissecting the body, mind, and soul with unsurpassed wit and learning, which one can never be sure is serious or a grand joke. It does seem to conclude that the entire world is mad, which would seem to be the apotheosis of the alienated protagonist in a way aped by Robert Heinlein in the fiction "They." 1621: The posthumous publication of "De Formatione Ovi et Pulli" by Hieronymus Fabricius establishes the science of Embryology, and permanently put into the public arena the question "Which came first, the Chicken or the Egg?" 1621: A well-known edition of "Arithmetica" by Diophantus is published in Greek and Latin, reinvigorating Number Theory and popularizing Diophantine Equations. This edition is most famous for having margins too narrow to contain the putative proof of Fermat's Last Theorem (not actually solved until three and a half centuries later). 1621: The refraction angle of light goes as the sine of the angle of incidence, as discovered by Willebrord Snell (so we call it Snell's Law) 1621: William Oughtred claims 11 years later to have invented the slide rule in 1621 1622: the Societas Ereunitica, Germany's first academy of science, founded 1622: Magnetic declination varies over time, as discovered by Edmund Gunter (1581-?) and we still don't understand exactly how the earth's magnetic field changes 1623: Tommaso Campanella published "The City of the Sun" an important UTOPIAN book 1623: "Pinax Theatri Botanici" by Gaspard Bauhin (17 Jan 1560-?) initiates the use of binomial (genus/species) for plants 1623: A wooden computer, based on Napier's Bones, is built by Wilhelm Schickardt, and with some assiatnce by a human, it can multiply and divide (it adds and subtracts automatically) 1624: "Arithmetica Logarithmica" by Henry Briggs expands his tables of common logs to the ranges 1-20,000 and 90,000-100,000; and it also introduces the terms "characteristic" and "mantissa" 1624: "The English Hippocrates" Thomas Sydenham is born (10 Sep 1624), becomes the first physician to describe measles and scarlet fever; and promotes opium to curb pain, Chinchona bark (which contains quinine) to treat malaria, and iron to overcome anemia. 1625: Johann Rudolf Glauber discovers Glauber's Salt 1626: Godfried Wendilin (6 Jun 1580-?) verifies that the Moons of Jupiter have orbits that match the predictions of Kepler's Laws 1626: Johann Baptista van Helmont suggests that diseases are caused by invading aliens which he calls "archaea." His theory that diseases are extraterrestrial in origin was rediscovered over 300 years later by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe. The word "Archaea" bcame known in the late 20th Century for a kingdom of life, neither planet nor animal nor protozoan, which may account for a third of all life on earth. 1626: The advocate of experiment in science, Francis Bacon, performs his first experiment -- the preservation of a chicken by stuffing it with snow -- gets chilled, catches cold, becomes sicker, and dies a month later (9 Apr 1626) 1627: Francis Bacon posthumous publication "The New Atlantis", a fable inspired by Sir Thomas More's "Utopia." The hero visits the island of Bensalem, where the government is paternalistic and Bacon's hopes for the future of science (the very core of science fiction) are fulfilled in the research college "Solomon's House." Here various inventions are forecast: electric motors, tape recorder, robots, refrigeration, oxygen tanks, vivisection, cross-breeding of plants, telephones, artificial flavors, airplanes, submarines, and optical illusions. To spread the word, and to bring data from other lands, there are the ambassadors called "Merchants of Light." But otherwise, the island exists in splendid isolation, like a planet of super-civilization connected to the barabaric galaxy only by visiting astronauts. 1627: The "Rudolphine Tables" by Johannes Kepler (presented to the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph) positions 1,005 stars (777 from Tycho Brahe's previous listing) and gives mathematical calculations of the positions of planets 1627: The last Aurochs seen in Europe; this ancestor of cattle is hereafter presumed extinct 1628: "Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus" [Anatomical Treatise on the Movement of the Heart and Blood in Animals] by William Harvey, describes what he has earlier lectured upon, namely his discovery of the circulation of blood.

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1630-1640

1630: Cabaeus discovers that bodies of opposite electric charge attract each other and then, after coming in contact, repel each other. 1631: Calculation by Kepler leads Pierre Gassendi (22 Jan 1592-?) to the first observations of a Transit of Mercury (seeing the planet's orbit cross the disk of the Sun). See 1639 Transit of Venus. 1631: Richard Lower disproves Galen's claim that phlegm is created in the brain, and also notices that dark venous blood becomes bright when exposed to air (as we now know, because hemoglobin molecules bind to oxygen). 1631: The posthumous publication of "Arithmetic" by Edward Cocker affects a century of mathematics education in England. 1631: "Artis Analyticae Praxis" [Practice of the Analytic Art] by Thomas Harriot represents the cube of A as AAA, and similarly represents higher powers with repetition instead of the later-used exponentiation. He shows multiplication with a centered dot (as mathematicians and engineers do today) and also was the first to use the left caret symbol for "is less than" and the right caret symbol ">" for "is greater than." 1631: "Clavis Mathematicae" [Key to Mathematics] by William Oughtred introduces many symbols, of which only the X for multiplication is still used. 1631: What we now call the vernier scale for precise measuring is described by Pierre Vernier (19 Aug 1580-14 Sep 1638) 1632: Galileo Galilei's "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World, the Ptolemaic and the Copernican" Technically nonfiction which helped to change the world, it is presented in dialogues between two Copernicans (Salviati and Sagredo) and the Ptolemaist Simplicio, whom the Pope felt was a caricatire of himself, and thus is nominally fiction. Being completely about astronomy, it is not only one of the three greatest works of that field (along with Copernicus' "De Revolutionibus" and Newton's "Principia") but is also arguably science fiction. It also is the first to make several other points, such as "Galilean Relativity" -- that in a windowless locked ship's cabin no experiment can tell whether or not the ship is moving (anticipating Einstein), and that the infinite number of perfect squares is equal in magnitude to the infinite number of roots of perfect squares (anticipating Cantor). 1633: The Inquisition pressures Galileo to recant Copernicanism, and places him under house arrest for the rest of his life. Although he was forced to say out loud that the Earth does not move around the Sun, legend has it that he muttered quietly "E pur se muove" [Nonetheless, it does move]. 1634: Johannes Kepler "Somnium" (Dream) a voyage to an inhabited Moon. This is unquestionably a work of Science Fiction. 1634: Investigating the much-contested Cycloid curve, Giles Personne de Roberval (1 Aug 1602-?) proves that the area within a curve, defined by a moving point on a circle rolling without slipping along a straight line, equals three times the circle's area. 1634: "Geometria Indivisibilibus Continuorum" by Bonaventura Cavalieri (1598-30 Nov 1647) anticipates Integral Calculus by determining volumes by stacking together infinitesimally thin slices. 1634: Rene Descartes discovers that if V = the number of vertices (corners) of a simple convex polyhedron, E = the number of edges of that simple convex polyhedron, and F = the number of faces of that simple convex polyhedron, then V - E + F = 2. Unfortunately, Euler rediscovered this 108 years before Descarte's work was published in 1860, V - E + F = 2 is called "Euler's Theorem." 1636: Harvard College is founded. Over three centuries later, Your Humble Webmaster's father graduates from that school. 1636: "Harmonie Universelle" by Marin Mersenne is the first Occidental publication of musical Equal Temperment. Mersenne was in frequent correspondence with Pierre de Fermat. This year, Fermat writes to Mersenne that he has discovered another pair of Amicable Numbers. The first pair was known to ancient Greeks (220 and 284), each of which is equal to the sum of the other's divisors. Fermat's pair is 17,296 and 18,416. In another such letter, Fermat suggests that every positive integer is the sum of no more than three triangular numbers. Pascal rediscovers and first publishes this conjecture in 1665, and the great Gauss proves it at last in 1801. 1637: Rene Descartes, in "Discourse on the Method of Seeking Truth in the Sciences" sets forth the philosphical basis of scientific inquiry, which can also be read as the key to the hard SF style: (1) Accept only what is clear and distinct as true, (2) Divide each difficulty into as many parts as possible, (3) Start with the simplest element and move by an orderly procedure to the most complex, (4) Make complete enumerations and reviews to make certain that nothing was omitted. One appendix to this amazing book, "La Dioptrique" provides his theory of Refraction. A second appendix. "Les Meteores" describes the formation of clouds and the nature of the rainbow. The third appendix to this book, "La Geometrie" was the birth of Analytic Geometry, the application of algebra to figures and constructions, and to the roots of algebraic equations. This is why we often refer to "Cartesian geometry" whenever we graph a function -- or discuss the 4th Dimension in terms of X, Y, Z, and T-coordinates, as does H. G. Wells in "The Time Machine." It is now known that Pierre de Fermat also invented Analytic Geometry no later than 1636, but failed to publish it until 1670. 1638: Bishop Francis Godwin's "The Man in the Moone" has birds pull a raft to the Moon, which is of course absurd, and yet correctly predicts that Lunar gravity is weaker than Earth's. A definite work of Science Fiction, and Hard Science Fiction to the extent that it made a correct scientific prediction. 1638: "Read in light of subsequent developments, a letter from Descartes to Mersenne in 1638 illustrates the nature of the difference. To the consternation of admirers in Paris, Descartes had recently announced his intention to turn from mathematics to other fields of inquiry. He was now responding to the protests conveyed by Mersenne": M. Desargues obliges me by the concern he is pleased to show for me in owning to be disappointed by my no longer wanting to study mathematics. But I have resolved to give up only abstract geometry, that is, the study of questions that serve only to exercise the mind; and I do so to have that much more leisure to cultivate another sort of mathematics that takes on as questions the explanation of the phenomena of nature. For if he will please consider what [I] have written on salt, on snow, on the rainbow, etc., he will understand that my entire physics is nothing other than mathematics. [Descartes to Marin Mersenne, 27 July 1638, in Oeuvres de Descartes, ed. Charles Adam and Paul Tannery, 12 vols. (Paris, 1897-1913), 2:268] 1638: Phocyclides Holwarda observes the star Mira Ceta, previously seen to disappear by David Fabricius in 1596, and figures out that it periodically grows brighter and dimmer, thus identifying it as what we now call a Variable Star. 1638: "Discoursi e Demonstrastrazione Matematiche Intorno a due Nuove Scienze" [Mathematical Discourse and Demonstrations on Two New Sciences] by Galileo gives the quantitative laws of motion including friction, replacing the incomplete and erroneous laws of motion of Aristotle. 1639: Jeremiah Horrocks (1618-?) predicts and then oberves the 24 Nov 1639 Transit of Venus. See 1631 Transit of Mercury. 1639: Florimond de Beaune (7 Oct 1601-?) writes to challenge Descartes to answer what curve has a constant subtangent, and Descartes fails to solve the riddle, and then Leibniz finds out, solves the puzzle, and demonstrates in 1684 that the answer is "a logarithmic curve." 1639: "Brouillon Projet d'une Atteinte aux Evenements des Recontres d'un Cone avec un Plan" [First Cut at a Try to Handle How a Cone Meets a Plane] by Gerard Desargues (2 Mar 1591-) launches the branch of mathematics today called Projective Geometry. 1639: William Gascoigne (1612?-2 July 1644) invents the Micrometer in order to measure the distance between the images of stars in a telescope's focus.

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1640-1650

1640: "Essai pour les Coniques" [Essay on Conics] by Blaise Pascal (19 June 1623) provides proof of the "mystic hexagram" theorem, a.k.a. "Pascal's Theorem." 1640: Pierre de Fermat, in a 19 Oct 1640 epistle to Bernard Frenicle de Bessy publishes the elegant "Little Theorem of Number Theory" -- that for any positive integer N and any prime number P, it is always the case that there is no remainder when P is divided into [(N to the power of P) - N] (see 1676 de Bessy) 1640: "De Motu Gravium" by Evangelista Torricelli (15 Oct 1608-25 Oct 1647) is the founding work of Hydrodynamics, correctly applying Galileo's laws of motion to liquids. 1641: For the first time, a live Chimpanzee is transported to Europe, and Nicolaas Tulp writes about it to astonished readers. It is a kind of First Contact between humans and our closest genetic relative. 1642: Beginning of the English Civil War. 1642: The Loire and Seine rivers of France are connected by the Briare Canal. 1642: Blaise Pascal invents a calculating machine that can add and subtract. After innumerable prototypes and tinkering, a working consumer product goes for sale in 1645. The Computer Age is now inevitable. 1642: Death of the great Galileo, still under house arrest. 1643: The new King of France is Louis XIV. You know how THAT turned out... 1643: Evangelista Torricelli invents the Barometer, by inverting a sealed-at-one-end glass tube filled with mercury and submerging the open end in a bowl of mercury. The mercury in the tube drops to the 76 centimeter level (30 inches), which measures the pressure of the atmosphere on the surface of the mercury in the bowl. Incidentally, the gap between the top of the mercury in the tube and the sealed top of the tube itself is the first vacuum known to have been created by science. 1644: The Manchu Dynasty takes over when Li Zi-Cheng overthrows the Ming Dynasty of China. 1644: "Principia Philosphiae" by Rene Descartes outlines a theory of the origin of the Solar System as a whirling vortex of gas and dust, essentially what scientist believe today. 1645: At Oxford's Gresham College, meetings of "The Invisible College" start, later to evolve into The Royal Society. Science Fiction is not too far off the mark in portraying a cabal of geniuses who change the world. 1645: "Astronomia Philolaoica" by Ismael Boulliau proposes that the central force attracting planets to the Sun must be proportional to the inverse square of their distances from the Sun, which Isaac Newton eventually proved. 1646: The "Magic Lantern" is invented by Athanasius Kircher (2 May 1601-?), the next major step after the Camera Obscura and the glass lens towards the slide projector and the movie projector. 1647: "Selenographia" by Johannes Hevelius is the first comprehensive map of the face of the Moon. The science fiction perspective is, when you see a map of a place, you start writing detailed stories of voyages to the places on that map... 1647: the Thoracic Duct is discovered by Jean Pecquet (9 May 1622-?) 1647: Slaves transported in chains from Africa inadvertantly attack their captors with Yellow Fever, the first American cases being this year in Barbados 1647: "Exercitationes Geometricae Sex" by Bonaventura Torricelli, a few months before his death, made a big step in Integral Calculus by calculating the Integral of X to the Nth power for N = 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 1647: "Experiences Nouvelles Touchant le Vide" [New Experiments with a Vacuum] by Blaise Pascal describes variants of Torricelli's creation of a vacuum, but substituting cheaper water and wine for expensive mercury. 1648: End of the Thirty Years' War. 1648: America and Asia were thought to be part of the same continent until Semjon Deshnjov sails through gap between Kamchatka and Alaska 1648: "Ortus Medicinae " [On Medicine's Development], posthumously published by Jan Baptista van Helmont, describes weighing a willow tree and the soil it grows in, and that the gain in weight does not come from the soil (as everyone believed). This was a big step towards realizing that most of the mass of a growing plants comes from the air and water. 1648: Blaise Pascal subcontracts his brother-in-law to carry a mercury barometer up the Puy de Dome mountain, and as predicted, the height of the mercury column nearly matches the air pressure, which decreases with greater altitude. It became clear that as one ascends higher than any mountain, the air becomes thinner and thinner, and eventually approaches a vacuum in what we call Outer Space. Science Fiction writers pondered this conjecture... 1648: Basic properties of machines were quantified in "Mathematical Magick" by John Wilkins (1614-?) 1648: "Desargues' Theorem" was published by Desargues' pal Abraham Bosse -- if two triangles are positioned so that lines which join pairs of corresponding vertices themselves pass through a single point, then the intersection points of pairs of corresponding sides fall on a single line, and vice versa. You know, this is easier to see with a diagram, but I'm committed to plain text in this web page... 1649: "Geometria a Renato Des Cartes" [Geometry by Rene Descartes] is translated into Latin by by Franz van Schooten (1615-?). A 2-volume expansion of 1659-1661 promulgates Analytic Geometry throughout Europe. 1649: King Charles I of England's head is separated forcefully from his body. 1649: "Syntagma Philosophiae Epicuri" by Pierre Gassendi restores to popularity the idea of Democritus and Epicurus that all matter is composed of Atoms. It was not until the 20th century that this was universally believed as other than a nice abstract idea; today a high school student can build a Scanning Tunneling Microscope for under $1,000 that will take photographs that show the arrangement of individual atoms, and Nanotechnology proposes to change the world by building any possible stable arrangement of atoms automatically.

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1650-1660

1650: The Archbishop of Ireland, James Ussher, makes computations from stories in the Bible and publishes his analysis that Noah's Flood was in 2349 B.C. and that God created the universe in 4004 B.C. 1650: "De Rachitide" by Francis Glisson clinically describes the disease Rickets. 1650: The air pump is perfected by Otto von Guericke (28 Nov 1602-?) who in a famous and oft-repeated deomstration pumped the air out of a pair of hemispheres which teams of horses could not pull apart (against air pressure). This is the famous "Hemispheres of Magdeburg" demonstration 1650: Cyrano de Bergerac: in a remarkable pair of Science Fiction publications advances seven ways for interplanetary travel, six of which don't work, but the seventh does: rockets (1657), and he also correctly describes the use of parachutes during return: "Histoire comique des etats et empires de la Lune" (1648-1650) "Histoire comique des etats et empires du Soleil" (1662) 1651: "Leviathan" by Thomas Hobbes said, in a well-known phrase, that human life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." He claimed that primitive people lived in Anarchy, and surrendered their rights to the State. He advocated authoritarian government. He dabbled in mathematics, but this work of proto-POLITICAL science fiction is his lasting contribution. 1651: "Almagestum Novum" by Giovanni Battista Riccioloi (17 Apr 1598-?) favors Tycho Brahe's model of the Solar System (with the Earth standing still, but the other planets circling the Sun) over the Copernican model (all planets, including Earth, in orbit). 1651: "Exercitationes de Gneratione Anaimalium" [Exercises on the Gneration of Animals] by William Harvey analyzies the differentiation of organs in embryotic development. 1652: "De Lacteis Thoracicis" by Thomas Bartholin (20 Oct 1616-?) details the Lymphatic system, including in people. 1654: "Anatomia Hepatis" by Francis Glisson surveys the liver's anatomy 1654: Ferdinand II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, invents the sealed thermometer 1654: Correspondence between Pierre de Fermat and Blaise Pascal advances the theory of Probability, including a solution to Fra Luca Pacioli (1494) and cardana (1539) and Tartaglia (1556) on properly dividing the stakes in a game of chance which is interrupted in mid-stream 1654: "Traite' du Triangle Arthmetique" by Blaise Pascal is written (although not published until 1665) about binomial coefficients and what we today call Pascal's Triangle (which was known at least as far back as Omar Khayyam) 1655: "Arithmetica Infinitorum" [Infinitesimal Arithmetic] by John Wallis (3 Dec 1616-?) describes infinite series, and advances towards Integral Calculus 1655: "Armamentarium Chirgicum" [Surgeon's Hardware] by Johann Shultes first describes a mastectomy 1656: James Harrington published the science fiction novel "The Commonwealth of Oceana" 1656: The weird "handles" which Galileo saw on the sides of saturn are first understood to be rings around the planet, according to Christiaan Huygens (14 Apr 1629-?) who also discovers Saturn's giant planet Titan (which we now know has a thicker atmosphere than Earth, and to which we sent the Huygens probe from the cassini spacecraft at the end of the 20th Century) 1656: In working on his invention of the pendulum clock, Christiaan Huygens discovers that a cycloid is its own involute, hence that a cycloid the the curve that the pendulum bob should follow for its period to be absolutely independent of amplitude 1656: John Wallis helps to establish mathematical Induction, which he calls argument "per modum inductionis" 1656: "Adenographia, or a Description of the Glands of the Whole of the Body" by Thomas Wharton (31 Aug 1614-?) gives the first description of some glands including the Submaxillary 1656: The most world-famous Danish fantasy or science fiction author is almost certainly Hans Christian Andersen -- but before him, the author of note was surely L. Holberg (1684-1754) who achieved prominence with "Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground." 1657: The Accademia del Cimento is founded in Florence by Leopoldo de Medici as the first institute for scientific research since the Museum of Alexandria was wrecked (641 A.D.) 1657: "De Ratiociniis in Ludo Alaea" [On Reasoning in Games of Chance] by Christiaan Huygens is the first book on Probability, and the first to described mathematical Expectation 1657: The length of the semicubical parabola A (Y squared) = (X cubed) is determined by William Neil (7 Dec 1637-?) 1658: The length of the cycloid is determined by Christopher Wren 1658: To distract himself from a toothache, Blaise Pascal (who had quit being a scientist and mathematician and devoted himself to theology and writing) briefly wrestles with the cycloid (discovering several properties) and while playing around with the sine function comes within a hairsbreadth of discovering Differential Calculus 1658: The watch balance spring is invented by Robert Hooke (18 July 1635-?) 1658: Red blood cells are first seen and written about by Jan Swammerdam (12 Feb 1637-?) 1658: "Opera Omnia Chymica" [All the Workings of Chemistry] by Johann Rudolph Glauber is published, and runs through many reprintings 1658: Sir Thomas Browne's "Hydriotaphia" is a stylish history of burial, which influenced morbid fantasies in others. 1659: Christiaan Huygens is the first to see and describe Martian geological features. So that's where invading aliens should come from... 1659: The shipboard chronometer is invented by Christiaan Huygens, but his version does not adequately compensate for the ship's motion 1659: "De Febribus" by Thomas Willis (27 Jan 1621-?) gives a clinical description of Typhoid Fever 1659: "Elementa Curvarum" by Jan De Witt uses the new Algebraic Geometry to describe the parabola, hyperbola, and ellipse 1659: "Teutsche Algebra" by Johann Heinrich Rahn is posthumously published, and uses the modern symbol for division (the - with a dot above and below the line)

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1660-1670

1660: Start of the Restoration of the Kingdom of England 1660: The Royal Society is founded, having evolved in England from the Invisible College for the promoting of Mathematical Experimental Learning (and then is renamed The Royal Society for the Improvment of natural Knowledge when Charles II in 1663 puts his great seal on its charter) 1660: The Blind Spot of the eye is discovered by Edme' Mariotte (1620-?) 1660: Harvey's discovery of Blood Circulation is completed by the understanding of Capillaries by Marcello Malpighi (10 Mar 1628-?) who also discovers the structure of the lungs and lung/blood vessel systems 1660: The barometer is first used to predict weather by Otto von Guericke 1660: "New Experiments Physico-Mechanical Touching the Spring of Air" by Robert Boyle describes how flames go out in a vacuum, and small animals die, for the first time linking the processes of respiration and combustion (later understood to both require oxygen). Astronauts dying in the vacuum of space in all future Science Fiction depends upon this discovery. 1661: "The Skeptical Chymist" by Robert Boyle overthrows theories of Aristotle and Paracelsus, and is the first book to describe the modern concepts of Element, acid, and alkali 1661: Architects start building Versailles for Louis XIV 1662: Benedict de Spinoza's "Ethics." Since Nature is governed by immutable and eternal laws, said Spinoza, human beings (who are part of Nature) must be studied scientifically, that is, according to geometry. Matter, energy, time, and space are all aspects of the Mind of God. Albert Einstein later stated that he believed in the God of Spinoza. From our perspective, this philosophy is the bedrock of science fiction, i.e. applying the same laws to the cosmos and to humanity. 1662: Robert Boyle describes what we now call Boyle's Law of Ideal Gases, that under constant temperature, the product of pressure and volume is constant (see Mariotte 1676) 1662: "Oriatrike or Physic Refined" by Johann Baptista van Helmont is translated into English, and is an immediate hit 1662: "Natural and Political Observations Made Upon the Bills of Mortality" by the draper John Graunt (24 Apr 1620-?) and William Petty (13 May 1623-?) is not only the first book of Statistics, but also has the first "Life Table" showing the chances of people (in this case, of London) of a given age are likely to die, and the first to note that more males are born than females, that women statistically outlive men, and lays the ground for the Life Insurance industry. 1663: The writings of Rene Descartes are put on the prohibited Index of the Roman Catholic Church 1663: The first Lucasian Professor of Mathematics is appointed: Isaac Barrow, who later brings Isaac Newton into the academic world, and later this famous Chair, currently occupied by Stephen Hawking 1663: Steam power is used to raise water from wells and to burst cannon, according to The Marquis of Worcester 1663: "Optica Promota" by James Gregory (Oct 1638-?) of Scotland is the first book to describe a Reflecting Telescope 1663: "Traite' de l'Equilibre des Liqueurs" [On Liquids' Equilibrium] by Blaise Pascal is posthumously published, describing his circa 1648 discovery of Pascal's Law (pressure in a liquid is transmitted in all directions equally) 1663: John Wallis shows the equivalence of Euclid's Fifth (Parallel) Postulate and the assumption that every triangle has similar triangles of any size 1663: "Liber de Ludo Aleae" by Girolamo Cardano is posthumously published, the first book of Probability Theory 1664: "Feeling a Dog's Pulse" by Robert Boyle. Influenced science fictional worldview in its mechanist model of living organisms. If the heart is a pump, then machines may be similar to creatures... 1664: "Cerebri Anatome" [Brain Anatomy] by Thomas Willis is the best book yet on the brain and nerves 1664: Christiaan Huygens proposes that the standard unit of length be that of a pendulum with an exactly one-second period. 1664: "Le Monde" [The World] by Rene Descartes is posthumously published, and announces his support for the Copernican worldview. He dared not publish this in his lifetime, given what the Church did to Galileo and Bruno 1664: "Traite' de l'Homme et de la Formation de Foetus" [Treatise on Man and the Formation of the Foetus] by Rene Descartes is posthumously published, and explicitly denies any "vital force" that distinguishes humans and animals from inanimate matter: animals and humans are merely sophisticated machines. This anticipates Robotics... 1664: That Jupiter rotates, and that Jupiter has a Great Red Spot, are discovered by Robert Hooke 1664: A comet's orbit is calculated, suprisingly, to be a parabola by Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (see Borelli 1680) 1665: 75,000+ dead as Great Plague sweeps London. Isaac Newton moves to his family's country estate in Lincolnshire, and within two years make three of the greatest breakthoughs in history: his theory of light and color (white light as a mixture of all colors of the spectrum), the Universal Law of Gravitation, and the Differential Calculus. Any one of these would have made him an immortal of science. This triple-play is unique in all history. 1665: Publication begins of The Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions 1665: France starts the Journal des Savants 1665: Measurement of the rotational velocity of Jupiter by Giovanni Domenico Cassini (8 June 1625-?) 1665: "Micrographia" by Robert Hooke is the first publication of Cells, the basic structure of all living matter, seen first in thin slices of cork under a microscope. It is the first detailed book on microscopic examinations, and also the first to compare light waves to water waves 1665: "De Cerebro" [The Brain] by Marcello Malpighi tells for the first time that the nervous system is constructed of fiber bundles connecting the spinal cord and brain 1665: The General Binomial Theorem discovered by Isaac Newton 1665: "Traite' du Triangle Arithmetique" by Blaise Pascal, written 1654, is posthumously published, and popularizes Mathematical Induction (first used in 1575 but not until now widely applied) 1665: "Physico-Mathesis de Luminae Coloribus et Iride" by Francesco Maria Grimaldi is posthumously published, detailing experiments with light diffraction and why he believed light to be a wave phenomenon; it also mentions that expanding and contracting muscles make noise 1666: "The Origine of Formes and Qualities" by Robert Boyle masterfully presents a mechanistic view of the natural world as entirely composed of atoms 1666: Publication of Tycho Brahe's "History of the Sky." Proves that the distance of a comet from the Earth was far greater than the Moon, and was an object hurtling through interstellar space. This was a revolutionary concept, smashing the old paradigm of Ptolemy's Crystal Spheres. Had Brahe not lived, Kepler would not have been the "Legislator of the Heavens" and Newton would not have deduced the Universal Law of Gravitation from Kepler's Laws. Sets the stage for interstellar Science Fiction. 1666: "Ars Combinatoria" by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz (1 July 1646-?) proposes a mathematical language for reasoning, two centuries ahead of Boolean Logic by George Boole and other advances of Predicate Calculus and computer programming languages. An amazing leap of imagination... 1666: The Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean are connected by the Canal du Midi of Pierre-Paul Riquet 1666: Blood from one dog is directly transfused into the circulation of a second dog by Richard Lower 1666: "Hydrostatical Paradoxes" by Robert Boyle on a comprehensive set of experiments with fluids 1666: In Paris, Christiaan Huygens is one of 20 founding members of The Academie Royale des Sciences, renamed after the French Revolution as The Academie des Sciences and later evolving to the Institut de France 1666: "The Misanthrope" by Moliere first performed, with a sarcastic almost science fictionally skeptical view of humankind 1666: The polar ice caps of Mars observed for the first time by Cassini 1666: The Great Fire of London 1667: The very notion of super-intelligence challenging God himself, and failing tragically, was never better expressed than in John Milton's "Paradise Lost." The great poem opens with Satan (the ultimate Mad Scientist) and his army of rebellious angels already cast from Heaven into the Abyss of Hell, when Satan rises from the Burning Lake and promises his followers that they'll have a kingdom rivalling Heaven. They build the Palace of Pandemonium. How science fictional, to construct a super-city in the interests of messing with the Creator and His plans. In Book II, they abandon continuing an open war, and decide on covert operations. The target of opportunity: Man. Again, how science fictional to place humanity at the fulcrum of a war between super-powerful alien species. In Book III, Satan flies to the Sun (interplanetary travel) and Uriel, not recognizing him, shows him the pathway (spacewarp/stargate) to Earth. In Book IV, Satan tempts Eve in the Garden with dreams (telepathy), but is kicked out of Paradise by angels (Milton actually invents the computer phrase "Access Denied" -- I kid you not). This is just the first third of the poem, but I think I've made my point: many of the themes of science fiction are set forth by Milton, in sonorous, noble, moral, and symbolic form. 1667: Founding in Paris of the Observatory of the French Academy 1667: "Traite' du Micrometre ou Maniere Exacte pour prendre le Diamtre des Planetes et la Distance entre les Petites Etoiles" [Treatise on the Micrometer, or, the Exact Method to Measure Planets' Diameters and the Distances between Little Stars] by Adrien Auzout 1667: Stars are observed slightly out of position by Jean Picard, as finally explained by James Bradley in 1728 as due to the aberration of light. This is the secret origin of the name of one of the captains of the Starship Enterprise... 1667: Plants are systematically divided into Monocots and Dicots (from a count of seed leaves) by John Ray (29 Nov 1627-?) (see Ray 1682) 1667: a dozen ounces of blood from a lamb are transfused into an ill boy, who survives the experiment by Jean-Baptise Denis. Two other patients later die and Denis is put on trial for murder. He is acquitted, transfusions are legislated into nonexistence in France, and the stereotype of the Mad Scientist is imprinted on the popular imagination. Frankenstein and Jr. Jekyll are not far behind... 1667: Robert Boyle demonstrates before the Royal Society that artificial respiration can keep an animal alive 1667: "Pathologiae Cerebri" [Brain Pathology] by Thomas Willis first clinically shows the effects of tertiary syphilis on the brain, although he did not know what caused these symptoms 1668: "Essays Toward a Real Character and a Philosophical Language" by John Wilkins, presented before the Royal Society 1668: Isaac Newton's invention of the Reflecting Telescope 1668: "Ephemerides Bononienses Mediceorum Siderum" by Cassini predicts future positions of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter 1668: The Law of the Conservation of Momentum is first proposed by John Wallis 1668: "Logarithmotechnia" by Nicolaus Mercator (a.k.a. Niklaus Kauffman, 1619-?) gives several infinite series for calculating logarithms 1668: "Geometriae pars Universalis" [The Universal Part of Geometry] and "Exercitationes Geometricae" [Geometrical Exercises] by James Gregory 1668: Poet/Physician Francesco Redi (18 Feb 1626-?) performs one of the earliest and most important controlled experiments, in showing that maggots do not spontaneously generate from rotting meat 1669: "Lectiones Opticae" by Isaac Barrow published, with the help of his protege Isaac Newton 1669: Isaac Newton first appointed a Professor at Cambridge. 1669: "De Analysi per Aequationes Numero Terminorum Infinitas" [On the Analysis by Equations of Unlimited Numbers of Terms] by Isaac Newton (not openly published, but circulated by private fanzine) details his Binomial Theorem and gives methods for calculating the area under curves, as a huge step towards Integral Calculus. 1669: In secret experiments with urine, Hennig Brand [1630-?) discovers Phosphorus by accident, and fails to publish (see Boyle 1680) 1669: In a great leap backwards, "Physica Subterranea" [Underground Physics] by Johann Joachim Becher (6 May 1635-?) proposes various ideas of alchemy and minerology, and his dreadfully wrong idea that a "terra pingus" [oily earth] is the basis of fire, evolves into the misconception of "Phlogiston" 1669: "Experimentia Crystalli Islandici Disdiaclastici" [A Study of Iceland Spar] by Erasmus Bartholin (13 Aug 1625-?) details his discovery of birefringence, or double refraction, in this special calcite crystal 1669: Jan Swammerdam publishes a comprehensive book on insects, showing that metamorphosis is a series of noninstantaneous stages, and analyzing the reproductive organs of insects, as science fiction novelist Vladimir Nabokov was to extend three centuries later for scientifically classifying butterflies 1669: "Silkworms" by Malpighi is arguably the first Invertebrate Anatomy 1669: "Tractatus de Corde" by Richard Lower analyzes the anatomy of the heart, its operation as a mucle, and that blood changes color in the lungs similarly to the way it does in open air (later known to be by oxygenation of hemoglobin in red blood cells) 1669: Algol (Beta Persei) is discovered by Geminiano Montanari to be a variable star, although he doesn't publish until 1672. "Algol" is Arabic for "The Ghoul" 1669: "De Solido Intra Solidum Naturaliter Contento Dissertationis Prodromus" [Forerunner of a Dissertation about a Naturally Ocurring Solid Body within another Solid Body] by Nicolaus Steno (11 Jan 1638-) of Denmark is the first valid explanation in print about geological strata and fossils

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1670-1680

1670: "Pensees" by Blaise Pascal posthumously published 1670: G. Mouton anticipates the definition of the Meter by proposing that 1/60 of a Meridian of Earth be a unit for decimal measurement 1670: Hydrogen is discovered by Robert Boyle, which bubbles up from various metals submerged in various acids. He observes that the gas is flammable, and Cavendish in 1766 calls it "inflammable air" -- now we know that it is the first element. By the way, Neutronium is the zeroth element. 1670: "Lectiones Geometricae" by Isaac Barrow contains many theorems about tangents to curves, lengths of curves, and areas within curves... another step towards perfecting Newton's and Leibniz' Calculus 1670: The connection between Diabetes and sugar in urine is rediscovered by Thomas Willis (having also been observed in Greece, China, and India) 1670: An airship is designed by Francesco de Lana which could, in principle, have worked: the lift is provided by four copper spheres containing a soft vacuum. The idea anticipates the hydrogen, helium, and hot air balloon 1671: "Waerdye van Lyf-renten naer Proporte van Los-renten" [A Treatise on Life Annuities] by Jan De Witt further clarifies the use of Expectations in statistics. Because he is a politician as well as a methematician, Jan De Witt is unfortunately killed by an enraged mob at The Hague on 20 August 1672, an ironic ending for an expert on life expectancy. 1671: James Gregory discovers what we call the Leibniz Series (an infinite series that sums to pi/4) 1671: Leibniz makes detailed designs for a mechanical calculator able to multiply and divide; through 1675 more and more sophisticated prototypes are built 1671: The Torpedo Fish is dissected by Francisco Redi; it has an organ like that of the Electric Eel, but he doesn't figure out that the shock are in fact electric shocks 1671: "Mesure de la Terre" [Measure of the Earth] by Jean Picard gives a very accurate estimate of the length of a meridian of Latitude. 1671: Cassini makes a remarkably accurate measurement of the distance from Earth to Mars, which allows distances to all the planets to now be properly scaled. The Flash Gordon movie serials had a 1,000 mile per hour spaceship go to Mars. Cassini would have laughed. 1671: Cassini discovers Iapetus, a moon of Saturn 1672: Cassini discovers Rhea, a moon of Saturn 1672: The Cassegrain Reflecting Telescope is invented by Guillaume Cassegrain (1625-?) 1672: "Experimenta Nova Magdeburgica de Vacuo Spatio" [New Magdeburg Experiments With Empty Space] by Otto von Guericke gives further insight into vacuum physics and engineering. He also learns how to frictionally charge a sphere of sulfur with a potent static electric charge. 1672: A pendulum in Cayenne takes longer to swing than the same pendulum in France, as discovered by Jean Richer (1630-?); 15 years later this is explained by Isaac Newton as due to the Earth being an oblate spheroid rather than a perfect sphere, and the equatorial regions of the earth bulging outwards (see Richer 1679) 1672: "Tractatus de Natura Substantiae Energetic" by Francis Glisson defines the property of living tissue called "irritability" -- part of a definition of life 1672: "De Anima Brutorum" by Thomas Willis is published 1672: "Il Problema della Quadratura del Circolo" [The Problem of Circle-Squaring] by Pietro Mengoli (1625-?) has an assortment of infinite series, infinite products, the sum of the reciprocals of traingular numbers, and the divergence of the harmonic series (i.e. that the sum increases without limit of 1/1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 + 1/5 + 1/6 + ...) 1672: "Euclides Danicus" [The Danish Euclid] by Georg Mohr (1 Apr 1640-?) first proves that all the geometric shapes that can be constructed by compass and straightedge (Euclidean Construction) can also be constructed by elaborate series of manipulations with only a compass. Unfairly, this is today called Mascheroni's Theorem, although Mascheroni didn't publish until 127 years later. 1672: The Ovarian follicle now named after him is found and written about by Regnier de Graaf (who dies the next year) 1673: Christiaan Huygens demonstrates a motor turned by gunpowder explosions. This is a distant precursor of the gasoline-burning reciprocating engine. 1673: "Horologium Oscillatorium sive de Motu Pendulorum" [Timekeeping and the Oscillatory Motion of Penulums] by Christiaan Huygens defines Centripetal Force 1673: Leibniz rediscovers what we call the Leibniz Series (an infinite series that sums to pi/4) -- see James Gregory 1671 1673: Anton van Leeuwenhoek bombards The Royal Society with letters about what he has discovered through microscopic examinations of various organisms and materials 1673: "De Formationes Pulli" [On the Formation of the Chick-in-Egg] by Palpighi details the steps through which an ovum develops 1674: "Attempt to Prove the Motion of the Earth" by Robert Hooke correctly states that each planet is balanced between the gravitational force towards the Sun (Centripetal Force) and the inertia attempting to send it off on a tangent from its orbit (Centrifugal Force) 1674: "Tractatus Quineue Medicophysici" [Five Medical/Physical Treatises] by John Mayow (Dec 1641-?) reports on measurements of the volume of air in a bell jar used by a burning candle on the one hand or a living mouse on the other hand. He correctly concludes that respiration removes something from the air (we now know it to be oxygen) and that a different gas is left (we now know it to be nitrogen) 1675: "Discourse on Light and Colour" presented to The Royal Society by Isaac Newton, on white light being split by a prism into a spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) and another prism being able to recombine them into white light, and his suggestion that light is a stream of particles (which we call photons) 1675: Cassini discovers what we call The Cassini Division, a break in the rings of Saturn 1675: Danish astronomer Ole Romer (25 Sep 1644-?) times eclipses of the moons of Jupiter and determines the Speed of Light 1675: John Flamsteed is appointed as the first Astronomer Royal by England's King Charles II, who also founds Greenwich Observatory (later the bombing site in Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Agent") 1675: "Cours de Chymie" [Chemistry Course] by Nicolas Lemery (17 Nov 1645-?) goes into the first of 31 editions (1675-1756) 1675: "Anatome Plantarum" by Malpighi continues his work on chicken development, but is mostly the best book to date on plant anatomy 1675: Nicolaus Steno somehow correctly concludes that since dogfish eggs form inside the fish before live baby fish are born, then mammals also have internal eggs; a rediscovery on flimsy evidence, as Regnier de Graaf done before his 1673 death 1675: Leibniz for the first time (21 Nov 1675) uses the modern symbology of an Integral Sign followed by f(x) dx he also correctly gives the product rule for derivatives 1676: There is a mostly polite but very intense controversy between Newton and Leibniz as to who invented what parts of Calculus first. Newton sends Leibniz a letter on 13 Jun 1676 about infinite series, and a letter of 24 Oct 1676 with an anagram about Newton's mewthod of "Fluxions" (so that on later decrypting the anagram, Newton will have been able to demonstrate his priority, without yet giving away any trade secrets). Meanwhile, Leibniz figures out the derivative of whole and fractional powers of X. 1676: Jacopo Francesco Riccati is born 28 May 1676. He will later make key contributions to the study of Differential Equations, especially what we call the Riccati Equation: dy/dx = A(x) + B(x)y + C(x)(y squared) 1676: "Traite' des Triangles Rectangles en Nombres" [Treatise on Third and Fourth Powers of Numbers] by Bernard Frenicle de Bessy is posthumously published. It proves a special case of "Fermat's Last Theorem", specifically that there are no whole numbers X, Y, and Z for which (X to the 4th Power) + (Y to the 4th Power) = (Z to the 4th Power) using a subtle "proof by infinite descent" (see 1640 Fermat) 1676: The start of the British Museum by Sir Hans Sloane 1676: The universal joint is invented by Robert Hooke; within a few months of this, he discovers what we call "Hooke's Law" (that the length a spring stretches is prportional to the force which holds it in tension), and announces his discovery in encrypted form (an anagram) 1676: "Essai sur la nature de l'Air" [Essay on the Nature of Air] by Edme' Mariotte describes what the French call "Mariotte's Law" and the English call "Boyle's Law" (see Boyle 1662) 1676: The phrase "Comparative Anatomy" is created by Nehemiah Grew (Sep 1641-?) (see Grew 1682) 1677: Leibniz figures out the quotient rule for derivatives 1677: An aqueous solution of ammonia is first described by Johann Kunckel (1630-?). Today, most people say "ammonia" when they really mean the gas ammonia (NH3) dissolved in water 1677: Anton van Leeuwenhoek discovers "animalicules" -- microscopic lifeforms, what we now call protozoa or "protists" (see van Leeuwenhoek 1673) 1677: Louis Dominicus Hamm discovers spermatozoa, but thinks they represent some sort of disease. Anton van Leeuwenhoek also sees sperm under a microscope, but correctly deduces that they have something to do with reproduction (although they are not larvae, as he suggests). 1678: "Traite' de la Lumiere" [Treatise on Light" by Christiaan Huygens is written, brilliantly explaining his Wave Theory of Light; he does not publish this until 1690 1678: The first appearance in flower-mad Holland of Chrysanthemums (from Japan) 1678: What we call "Ceva's Theorem" about triangles is proved by Giovanni Ceva (1647-?) 1679: England institutes the Writ of Habeas Corpus 1679: Leibniz, in a letter to Joachim Bouvet, is the first to describe Binary Arithmetic, and shows how every whole number can be expressed as a string of 0s and 1s -- a big step towards the binary digital computer 1679: The first "artificial ruby" is manufactured by Johannes Kunckel 1679: The "steam digester" is demonstrated by Denis Papin (22 Aug 1647-?), it is a fairly modern safety-valved pressure cooker 1679: Hooke writes to Newton, pointing out that gravitational force decreases with the square of distance, and aks if this is why planets have elliptical orbits (as Kepler had first said). Newton is annoyed that someone seems to be ahead of him in deducing Kepler's laws from fundemental principles, and gets back to work... (see Newton 1680, 1684) 1679: "Observations Astronomique et Physiques faites en l'Isle de Cayenne" [Astronomical and Physical Observations made in the Cayenne Islands] by Jean Richer (see Richer 1672) 1679: "Carte de la Lune" [Moon Map] by Cassini, with 60 illustrations 1679: "Catalogus Stellarum Australium" by Edmund Halley (29 Oct 1656) is the first star catalog of stars visible from the southern hemisphere (341 of them). I'll never forget the first time I saw the starry night from Australia -- it seemed so unlike any I'd ever seen, that it was like being transported to another world... And there was Alpha Centauri, the first star beyond our sun that we've visited in Science Fiction and will someday actually visit

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1680-1690

1680: Newton, trying to cut Hooke off at the pass, proves that inverse-square gravity does indeed result in elliptical orbits (see Newton 1679, 1684) 1680: The first clocks with minute hands 1680: Anton van Leeuwenhoek is elected a Fellow of the Royal Society 1680: "Old Moore's Almanack" first published by Francis Moore, later retirled "Vox Stellarum" [The Voice of the Stars] 1680: "The Aerial Noctiluca" by Robert Boyle announces the (re)discovery of phosphorus (see Brand 1669) 1680: "De Motu Animalum" [On the Motions of Animals] by Giovanni Alfosno Borelli is published posthumously and deals with expansion and contractions of muscles, as well as the electric Torpedo Fish (more about which was in a psothumous sequel the next year) (see Borelli 1664) 1681: I know there must have been some interesting works of Science and Science Fiction in 1681, but I can't put my finger on any of them right now... 1682: The Latin scientific journal "Acta Eruditorum" is founded, lasts until 1776, and Leibniz frequently appears therein. If I could read Latin, I'd search it for science fiction... 1682: "The Anatomy of Plants" by Nehemiah Grew points out male and female parts of flowers and the differing structures of roots and stems (see Grew 1676) 1682: "Methodus Plantarum Nova" [New Plant Method] by John Ray classifies the vegetable kingdom (see Ray 1667) 1682: The Great Comet is sighted by Edmund Halley. When he plots its orbit and predicts in writing in 1705 that it will return in 1758, and it does, everybody calls it "Halley's Comet" 1683: The Turkish Army beseiges Vienna. In the long run, this is a good thing, as it introduces coffee permanently to the city without which there would not be so many superb cafes. They also introduce the Lilac. 1683: The words "insulator" and "conductor" first used by John Theophile Desaguliers (12 Mar 16??-?) who has been confirming and extending the work of Stephen Gray 1683: Bacteria are observed by Anton van Leeuwenhoek, fully a century ahead of other biologists 1683: in "Acta Eruditorum" (see 1682) Count Ehrenfried von Tschirnhous (1651-?) shows ways to simplify polynomials, and gives new approaches to solving third- and fourth-degree equations 1684: "A New Method for Maxima and Minima as well as Tangents, which is Impeded by Neither Fractional nor Irrational Quantities, and a Remarkable Type of Calculus for This" by Leibniz crams the basics of Differential Calculus into 6 pages which practically nobody can comprehend. "Leibniz waited for some nine years after devising his calculus to publish it. When he did, in a short article in the May 1684 number of the Acta eruditorum, he couched it in terms that emphasized its links to ordinary algebra.... In the language of the time, describing it in those terms made it appear not so much a new method as another method, the most recent in a line stretching back to Fermat's and including those of Descartes, Hudde, Barrow, de Sluse, and Roberval. All alike in supplementing the algebraic analysis of curves in terms of the properties investigated by Apollonius in the Conics, the various techniques differed in the ease with which they accommodated new curves expressed by equations involving algebraic fractions and surds. There, according to Leibniz' title, lay the virtue of his latest version. It was generally applicable, owing to a specially adapted mode of calculation." [INFINITESIMALS AND TRANSCENDENT RELATIONS:THE MATHEMATICS OF MOTION IN THE LATE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, Michael S. Mahoney, Princeton University, Published in D.C. Lindberg and R.S. Westman (eds.), Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution (Cambridge, 1990), Chap. 12] 1684: Two more moons of Saturn, Dione and Thetis, are discovered by Cassini 1684: Robert Hooke effusively tells others (including Edmund Halley and Christopher Wren) that he has discovered the secret laws behind the laws of Kepler. Wren is dubious, and offers a prize for a correct solution. Halley visits Newton, who casually remarks that he solved that problem long ago. Halley tells Newton that he really ought to publish something about this, and provoked Newton to eventually publish the most important book of the century, the "Principia." (see Newton 1679, 1680) 1685: Louis XIV giveth, and Louis XIV taketh away. By renouncing the Edict of Nantes, French Protestants lose their religious civil rights 1685: "De Algebra Tractatus" [Treatise on Algebra] by John Wallis first publishes Newton's Binomial Theorem, and also is the first to show how (in Analytic geometry) to represent Complex Numbers as points on a plane with a Real and an Imaginary Axis. Metaphorically speaking, Science Fiction is that branch of literature which concentrates on both the Real and Imaginary Axis. 1686: Leibnitz, outlines the Integral Calculus for the first time in print, in an issue of the journal "Acta Eruditorum." 1686: almost simultaneously with Leibnitz's publication (above), Newton presents to the Royal Society his manuscript of Volume I of the Principia: "De motu corpru" (The Motions of Bodies) 1686: Edme' Mariotte's posthumous publication of "Traite' du mouvement des eaux et des autres fluides" (The Motion of Water and Other Fluids) 1686: Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (11 Feb 16757-?) publishes a popularization of Descartes in "Entretiens sur la pluralite' des mondes" (Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds), as to why there are numerous planets in the universe, some bearing life, and some (perhaps) civilizations. An idea crucial to Science Fiction! 1686: Some 18,600 species of plants are described in "Historia plantarum" by John Ray. In fact, this book introduces the idea of species as such, determined by descent, into print, and prepares the way for Linnaeus. 1686: Nicolas Steno dies in late November or early December in Schwerin, Germany. He was perhaps the leading anatomist and geologist of Denmark. 1686: Otto von Guericke, Physicist of Germany, dies in Hamburg, May 11. 1687: Isaac Newton presents "Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica" (The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), a.k.a The Principia, which includes his Three Laws of Motion, and his Universal Law of Gravitation, in September. 1687: Sir William Petty, demographer of England, dies December 16 in London. 1687: The star Zeta Cygni is found to be a Variable, by Kirch. 1687: Johannes Hevelius of Germany dies in Danzig, January 28. 1687: The great architect/mathematician Nicolaus Mercator of Denmark dies in Paris on January 14. 1687: The French scientist Guillaume Amontons (31 Aug 1633-?) invents a hygrometer. 1688: England's Glorious Revolution deposes King James II; Holland's William and Mary are invited to be the new King and Queen. 1688: Applying principles of probability as applied to business, Lloyd's of London is founded. 1688: Architect/Physician Claude Perrault of France dies in Paris, October 11. 1689: The new Czar of Russia is Peter the Great. 1689: Isaac Newton, representing Cambridge, becomes a Member of the House of Commons. 1689: Physician of England Thomas Sydenham dies in London, December 29.

Major Books and Events of the Decade 1690-1700

1690: Philosopher John Locke (29 Aug 1632-1704) presents his thesis that all human knowledge derives for sense-data and experience alone, in the remarkable "Essay Concerning Human Understanding." He also praises the new 17th century mathematical view of the universe: "They that are ignorant of algebra cannot imagine the wonders in this kind that are to be done by it; and what further improvements and helps, advantageous to other parts of knowledge, the sagacious mind of man may yet find out, it is not easy to determine. This at least I believe: that the ideas of quantity are not those alone that are capable of demonstration and knowledge; and that other and perhaps more useful parts of contemplation would afford us certainty, if vices, passions, and domineering interest did not oppose or menace such endeavours . . . . The relation of other modes may certainly be perceived, as well as those of number and extension; and I cannot see why they should not also be capable of demonstration, if due methods were thought on to examine or pursue their agreement or disagreement." [John Locke, Essay of Human Understanding (1690), quoted by H. J. Kearney, Origins of the Scientific Revolution (London, 1965), pp. 131ff.] 1690: England's Protestantism is assured when King William III defeats the army of former King James II in Ireland, at the Battle of Boyne. 1690: For the first time, steam pressure is used to move a piston in a cylinder, by inventor Denis Papin 1691: John Ray is recognized as England's leader in the Natural History movement when he publishes "The Wisdom of God manifested in the Works of Creation", which argues that fossils are planet and animal remnants from the very distant past. 1691: British Chemist/Physicist Robert Boyle dies in London, December 30. 1691: First publication of what we today call Rolle's Theorem of Calculus, in "Methode pour Resoudre les Egalites" by Michel Rolle (21 Apr 1652) of France 1691: The first comprehensive textbook on human bones published by Clopton Havers (1655?-?), Anatomist of England. 1691: Physician of England Richard Lower dies in London, January 17. 1692: Natural Philosopher of England Elias Ashmole dies May 18-19. 1692: The mathematical words "abcissas", "coordinate", and "ordinate" are introduced by Leibnitz. 1693: Leibnitz reinvents the idea of Determinants, and explains them in a number of letters to Antoine de L'Hospital, which were not published until 1850. 1693: What we call the Calculus was, for the first time, published in a reasonably complete form, by John Wallis in "Opera Mathematica", Vol.2, citing this as Newton's "Method of Fluxions." 1693: "Synopsis Anamalium Quadrupedem et Serpentini" by John Ray (A General View of 4-Legged Animals and Snakes) extends Aristotle's division of animals into "blooded" and "bloodless", but classifies much more thoroughly... it even correctly identifies Whales as Mammals. 1694: Rudolph Jacob Camerarius (12 Feb 1665-?) of Germany contrasts the male and female sex organs of plants in "De Sexu Plantarum Epistola" (Letter on the Sex of Plants). 1694: Italian Physiologist/Biologist Marcello Malpighi dies in Rome, November 29. 1695: Starting with water from a spring, Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate) is first isolated by Nehemiah Grew. 1695: Dutch Astronomer/Physicist Christiaan Huygens dies in The Hague July 8. 1696: "A New Theory of the Earth" by William Whiston. 1696: French Astronomer Jean Richer dies in Paris. 1696: Anton van Leeuwenhoek publishes "Arcana Naturae" (Mysteries of Nature), explaining his discovery of micro-organisms, specifically what we call Protista, and which he called "animalculaea." 1696: French mathematician Marquis Antoine de L'Hospital (1661-?) publishes "Analyse des Infiniment Petits" (Analysis of Infinitesimals) which is the first textbook about Differential Calculus. This book, which influenced many mathematicians, included what we call "L'Hospital's Rule" -- an intellectual property which he actually purchased from Jean Bernoulli, who discovered it two years earlier. 1697: Jean (Johann) Bernoulli (6 Aug 1667-?), Mathematician of Switzerland, presents the problem of the "brachistochrone" which, involving the determination of the "path of quickest descent", turns out to be what we call the Cycloid. The problem is productively solved in various ways, each extending The Calculus, by Bernoulli himself, Leibnitz, L'Hospital, and Newton. 1697: Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle becomes Secretary of the reorganized French Academy of Sciences. 1697: The horribly and influentially wrong-headed concept of "Phlogiston" is published by Georg Ernst Stahl (21 Oct 1660-?), in an attempt to explain rust and combustion, derived from hypotheses by Johann Joachim Becher, and in vogue for a century until replaced with the correct theory of oxidation, by Lavoisier. Phlogiston turns out to be the last gasp of Alchemy. 1697: Italian Poet/Physician Francesco Redi dies in Pisa, March 1. 1697: Mathematician Georg Mohr of Denmark dies in Kieslingswalde Germany, January 26. 1698: A steam engine is constructed by Denis Papin in which, for the first time, a piston is moved by steam pressure, as opposed to the pressure of the atmosphere. 1698: Thomas Savery (ca.1650-?) patents "The Miner's Friend." This is the first genuinely useful steam-powered machine; it pumps water up out of coal mines. 1698: Mathematician/Physician Erasmus Bartholin of Denmark dies in Copenhagen, November 4. 1699: German Apothecary Otto Tachenius dies. 1699: Jean Racine, the great playwright of France, dies. 1700: Joseph de Tournefort's "Institutiones rei herbariae" is a magnificently illustrated three-volume work on Mediterranean plant life 1700: Bernardino Rammazzini's "De morbis artificum" is the world's first systematic treatise of what we today call occupational disorders, with analysis of such observations as that nuns have more breast cancer than married women perhaps due to matters of pregnancy and lactation
Science Fiction About this Century Mark Twain's Satire "1601", subtitled "Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors", is a vulgarly rewrites Pepys' diaries. Edmond Rostand's play "Cyrano de Bergerac" [1897] romanticizes that French author's swaggering nature in the context of 17th century society. Steve Martin's film "Roxanne" modernizes that plot. "The Dark Matter", a novel by xxx based on the historically accurate insight that Isaac Newton was a kind of Sherlock Holmes, using scientific means to solve counterfeiting, murder, and other crimes in his capacity in running the Royal Mint. Bawdy and brilliant. Non-Fiction About this Century Hotlinks to the following tets are available at: www.princeton.edu/~mike/17thcent.html "The Beginnings of Algebraic Thought in the Seventeenth Century", in S. Gaukroger (ed.), Descartes: Philosophy,  Mathematics and Physics (Sussex: The Harvester Press/Totowa, NJ:  Barnes and Noble Books, 1980), Chap.5 "Diagrams  and Dynamics: Mathematical Reflections on Edgerton's Thesis", in  J. Shirley and F.D. Hoeniger (eds.), Science and the Arts in the Renaissance (Cranbury, NJ:  Associated University Presses, 1985), Chap. 10 "Barrow's Mathematics: Between Ancients and Moderns", in M. Feingold (ed.), Before Newton: The Life and Times of Isaac Barrow (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), Chap. 3 "Infinitesimals and Transcendent Relations: The Mathematics of Motion in the Late Seventeenth Century";, in D.C. Lindberg and R.S. Westman (eds.), Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), Chap. 12 "Algebraic vs. Geometric Techniques in Newton's Determination of Planetary Orbits", in Paul Theerman and Adele F. Seeff (eds.), Action and Reaction: Proceedings of a Symposium to Commemorate the Tercentenary of Newton's Principia (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1993), 183-205 "Longitude in the Context of the History of Science," in The Quest for Longitude (Cambridge, MA: [Harvard University] Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, 1996) "The Mathematical Realm of Nature", in D.E. Garber et al.(eds.), Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), Vol. I, pp. 702-55 "Huygens and the Pendulum: From Device to Mathematical Relation", in E. Grosholz and H. Breger (eds.), The Growth of Mathematical Knowledge (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000), pp. 17-39 "Charting the Globe and Tracking the Heavens: Navigation and the Sciences in the Early Modern Era", to appear in Brett Steele and Tamera Dorland (eds.), The Heirs of Archimedes: Technology, Science and the Art of War through the Age of Englightenment (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) "Sketching Science in the Seventeenth Century" "Diagrams and Dynamics Revisited", prepared for the Workshop on "Pictorial Means of Early Modern Engineering" at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin, 26-28 July 2001; revised 2002.

Other Key Dates and Stories of this 17th Century

{to be done}

Major Writers Born this 17th Century

1600: Calderon (Pedro Calderon de la Barca) [1600-1681], great Spanish playwright. 20 Aug 1601: Birth of Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician [1601-1665] He was the founder of the modern Theory of Numbers and Calculus of Probabilities. See: [1601],[1636],[1640],[1654] 1606: Pierre Corneille [1606-1684]: French dramatist. His landmark drama was the Cid, about the 12th century Spanish hero. Mar 1606: Sir William Davenant [Mar 1606-1668]: English poet and dramatist, rumored to be the illegitimate son of William Shakespeare. 1608: John Milton, English Poet/Pampleteer [1608-1674], Educated at St.Paul's School and at Christ's College, he was prepared to be a poet. Early works include: * "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity" [1629] * "L'Allegro" * "Il Pensoroso" * "Comus" [1634] masque * "Lycidis" [1638] elegy He traveled [1638-1640] the Continent, mostly in Italy, but came home to England to defend the Puritan cause. He wrote pamphlets on Church politics, defended the imprisonment and beheading of King Charles I, and wrote four tracts about divorce (not coincidently, he'd married Mary Powell [1643] who left him but returned). He eloquently defended Freedom of the Press in "Aereopagitica" [1644]. He became Latin Secretary in Cromwell's government. Too much documentation drove him blind (his best-known sonnet is "On His Blindness"). Fined and cast into retirement by the Restoration [1660], Milton dictated the epic masterpieces: * "Paradis Lost" [1667] * "Paradis Regained" [1671] Late in life, he also wrote the drama "Samson Agonistes" [1671]. He wrote the greatest Blank Verse in the English language, which both epitomizes the Puritan age, and transcends it as universal literature. see: [1667] 1616: John Wallis, English Mathematician [1616-1703], Systematized the use of mathematical formulas, introduced the 8-on-its-side symbol for Infinity, and studied the quadrature of curves. see [1655],[1656],[1668],[1685],[1693] 1619: Cyrano de Bergerac [1619-1655], French author. His swaggering nature was romanticized in Edmond Rostand's play "Cyrano de Bergerac" [1897] 1621: Moliere, nom de plume of Jean Baptiste de Poquelin [1621-1673]: French dramatist. 1623: Blaise Pascal, mathematician and physicist, theologian [1623-1662] Raised by a Jansenist family, he lived for a while at that creed's center, Port-Royal, and wrote the ironic defense of that belief in "Provincial Letters" [1656]. His pure, brilliant, literary, mystical writings are collected in his "Pensees" [1670]. Yet he is in this web page because he was a very important scientist. He laid the foundation for modern Probability Theory; he reinvented "Pascal's Triangle"; he discovered properties of the Cycloid; he refined Differential Calculus; and he formulated Pascal's Law: "The presure applied to a confined fluid at any point is transmitted undiminished in all directions, and acts upon every part of the confining vessel at right angles to its interior surfaces, and equally on equal areas." see [1640],[1642],[1647],[1648],[1654],[1658],[1663],[1665],[1670] 20 Aug 1625: Thomas Corneille [20 Aug 1625-1709]: French dramatist, younger brother of Pierre Corneille. 1627: Robert Boyle, British Chemist/Physicist [1627-30 Dec 1691] He was the first to distinguish between an element and a compound. He defined chemical reaction and analysis. Boyle's Law: "at constant temperature, the volume of a confined gas decreases in proportion to the increase in pressure." 1629: Christiaan Huygens, Dutch Astronomer [1629-8 July 1695], son of noted Dutch poet Constantijn Christiaan Huygens [1596-1687]. Christiaan Huygens was Mathematician, Physicist, and Astronomer. He improved the lenses of telecopes, and thereby discovered the Rings of Saturn and a satellite of Saturn. He was the first to build clocks with pendulums. Huygens' Principle: "every point on a wavefront of light is a source of new waves." see: [1656],[1657],[1659],[1664],[1673],[1678] 1632: Baruch Spinoza, philosopher [1632-Feb 1674] 1632: John Locke, philosopher [29 Aug 1632-28 Oct 1704], founder of British Empiricism. He wrote his famous "Essay on Human Understanding" [1690] while in exile [1683-1689] in Holland. He returned to England after the Glorious Revolution [1688]. In "Two Treatises on Government" [1689] he justified Constitutional Monarchy. In contrast to Hobbes, Locke asserted that the original state of humans was good, and that humans were both equal and independent. He held that the State was was created by Social Contract, ans should follow Natural Rights. This plea for Democracy laid the ground for the American Constitution. His Empiricism was later expanded by Berkeley and by Hume. People considered Locke to be "the prophet of Reason." 1635: Robert Hooke, English physicist [1635-1703], The first to formulate the theory of planetary movements as a mechanical problem. He developed and refined many scientific instruments; invented a practical way to telegraph information; invented the spiral watch spring; built the first arithmentical machine; and and built the first Gregorian telescope. Hooke's Law: "Within the limits of elasticity, the stress on a body is in direct proportion to strain." see: [1665],[1674],[1676],[1679],[1680],[1684] 1639: Jean Racine [1639-1699]: French dramatist, leading classical tragedian, also a prose Historian. 1642: Isaac Newton, physicist and mathematician [1642-1727], surely the greatest Scientist of all time, though paradoxically also an Alchemist and religious mystic. He ran the Royal Mint. 1646: Gottfried Leibniz, philosopher and mathematician [1646-1716] 1657: William Harvey, English physiologist [1578-1657], Discovered the circulation of blood, and that the heart was a pump. Also did key research in embryology. See: [1616] 1660: Daniel Defoe, author [1660-1731] 1665: Birth of Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician [1601-1665] He was the founder of the modern Theory of Numbers and Calculus of Probabilities. See: [1601],[1636],[1640],[1654] 1667: Jean (Johann) Bernoulli [1667-1748], mathematician of Switzerland, 1674: John Milton, English Poet/Pampleteer [1608-1674], Educated at St.Paul's School and at Christ's College, he was prepared to be a poet. Early works include: * "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity" [1629] * "L'Allegro" * "Il Pensoroso" * "Comus" [1634] masque * "Lycidis" [1638] elegy He traveled [1638-1640] the Continent, mostly in Italy, but came home to England to defend the Puritan cause. He wrote pamphlets on Church politics, defended the imprisonment and beheading of King Charles I, and wrote four tracts about divorce (not coincidently, he'd married Mary Powell [1643] who left him but returned). He eloquently defended Freedom of the Press in "Aereopagitica" [1644]. He became Latin Secretary in Cromwell's government. Too much documentation drove him blind (his best-known sonnet is "On His Blindness"). Fined and cast into retirement by the Restoration [1660], Milton dictated the epic masterpieces: * "Paradis Lost" [1667] * "Paradis Regained" [1671] Late in life, he also wrote the drama "Samson Agonistes" [1671]. He wrote the greatest Blank Verse in the English language, which both epitomizes the Puritan age, and transcends it as universal literature. see: [1667] 1667: Jonathan Swift, English author [1667-1745], Born in Dublin, this clergyman is considered the greatest satirist in the history of the English language. See: [1726] 1670: William Congreve [1670-1729]: Restoration English dramatist.

Major Writers Died this 17th Century

17 Feb 1600: Giordano Bruno [1548-1600], philosopher, burnt at stake 1601: Death of Scipione Ammirato, Italian historian 30 Nov 1603: William Gilbert, physicist [24 May 1544-30 Nov 1603] Born in Colchester 1544 (though until recent decades his birth was wrongly dated to 1540); died (probably in London) 30 Nov 1603, See: [1600] for his important book. 13 Dec 1603: Franciscus Vieta [1540-13 Dec 1603], mathematician, died in Paris. See: [1600] for his most famous work 23 Apr 1616: William Shakespeare, playwright and poet [23 Apr 1564-23 Apr 1616] 23 Apr 1616: Miguel Cervantes Saavedra, author [Oct 1547-23 Apr 1616] Author of "Don Quixote", died in Madrid the same day as Shakespeare died in England 1617: John Napier, Mathematician, born 1550 in Murchiston Castle, Scotland; died 4 Apr 1617, Edinburgh, Scotland. This Scottish Mathematician invented and named the Logarithm; wrote a work with the first Table of Logarithms; invented ways to abbreviate arithmetic, including Napier's Bones (a kind of abacus, sort of, based on multiples of numbers); and introduced the writing of numbers with decimal points. 9 Apr 1626: Francis Bacon, scientific philosopher, from an experiment in refrigeration 15 Nov 1630: Johannes Kepler, astronomer/astrologer [16 May 1571-15 Nov 1630] 1631: John Donne, English Clergyman/Poet [1572-1631], regarded as the greatest of the Metaphysical Poets. Raised as a Roman Catholic, converted to Anglican. Secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Kepper of the Great Seal. Clever, sensual lyricist, essayist, and verse satirist. His career at Court was smashed by discovery of his secret marriage to Anne Moore, Egerton's niece-in-law. He was a master at "conceits", rhyme, melody, wit, and philosophy. His prose also shines, such as: * Biantanatos [1644] a qualified apology for suicide * Pseudo-Martyr though he was equaly famous for his sermons and exalted religious poetry. He was deeply aware of 17th century science and Mathematics, for example, his poem "The Flea" with its biological metaphors to the Trinity consists of 3-cubed lines of verse. 1632: Thomas Dekker [ca.1570-1632]: Elizabethan English dramatist. 1635: Lope de Vega [1562-1635] great Spanish playwright. 1637: Ben Jonson, English Playwright/Poet [1572-1637], Actor, lyric poet, dramatist, he links the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. he was best known for his Comedies, including: * "Every Man in His Humour" [1598] * "Every Man Out of His Humour" [1599] * "Volpone" [1606] * "Epicoene" [1609] * "The Alchemist" [1610] * Bartholomew Fair [1614] His much-praised Tragedies include: * "Sejanus" * "Catiline" His most famous poem today is "Song to Celia" with its lyric: "drink to me only with thine eyes..." He was a frined to Shakespeare and Donne, and mentor of a school of poetry: "the tribe of Ben." see: [1610] 1640: Robert Burton [1577-1640], English author and clergyman, see: [1621] 1640?: John Day [1574-1640?]: English dramatist, relevent here for "The Parliament of the Bees", a masque satire from the viewpoint of insects. 1640: Philip Massinger [1583-1640]: English dramatist. 1642: Galileo Galilei, scientist [15 Feb 1564-8 Jan 1642] born in Pisa (now part of Italy); died in Arcetri (now part of Italy) 1650: Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician [1596-1650], see: [1619],[1634],[1637],[1638],[1639],[1663],[1664] 1655: Cyrano de Bergerac [1619-1655], French author. His swaggering nature was romanticized in Edmond Rostand's play "Cyrano de Bergerac" [1897] 1662: Blaise Pascal, mathematician and physicist, theologian [1623-1662] Raised by a Jansenist family, he lived for a while at that creed's center, Port-Royal, and wrote the ironic defense of that belief in "Provincial Letters" [1656]. His pure, brilliant, literary, mystical writings are collected in his "Pensees" [1670]. Yet he is in this web page because he was a very important scientist. He laid the foundation for modern Probability Theory; he reinvented "Pascal's Triangle"; he discovered properties of the Cycloid; he refined Differential Calculus; and he formulated Pascal's Law: "The presure applied to a confined fluid at any point is transmitted undiminished in all directions, and acts upon every part of the confining vessel at right angles to its interior surfaces, and equally on equal areas." see [1640],[1642],[1647],[1648],[1654],[1658],[1663],[1665],[1670] 1668: Sir William Davenant [Mar 1606-1668]: English poet and dramatist, rumored to be the illegitimate son of William Shakespeare. 1673: Moliere, nom de plume of Jean Baptiste de Poquelin [1621-1673]: French dramatist. 1674: Baruch Spinoza, Dutch Philosopher [1632-Feb 1674]. Born in Amsterdam, he was excommunicated [1656] from his Jewish community because of the independence of his thinking. He lived modestly as a lens-grinder, while creating an amazing system of Philosophy. He explained how all matter, energy, time, and space were were of one common material: Nature itself, indistinguishable from the Mind of God. Evil exists only for finite minds, and disappears when seen from the perspective of the infinite. Humans should adapt themselves to the unknowable infinite Plan, surrender passion, accept order, and strive to see everything through the lens of eternity. He favored government by democracy. 1679: Thomas Hobbes, philosopher [1588-1679], In his Latin and English prose works he propounded a Rationalist Materialist philosophy, which angered religious conservatives. His mechanistic world view made him the first great English political theorist, capped by his great "Leviathan", which offered an alternative to anarchy, namely an artifical body to maintain peace, under strict submission to the sovereign, who in turn must promote truth and serve the people. His Psychology was, technically, pure Sensationalism. See: [1651] 1681: Calderon (Pedro Calderon de la Barca) [1600-1681], great Spanish playwright. 1684: Pierre Corneille [1606-1684]: French dramatist. His landmark drama was the Cid, about the 12th century Spanish hero. 1691: Robert Boyle, British Chemist/Physicist [1627-30 Dec 1691] He was the first to distinguish between an element and a compound. He defined chemical reaction and analysis. Boyle's Law: "at constant temperature, the volume of a confined gas decreases in proportion to the increase in pressure." 1695: Christiaan Huygens, Dutch Astronomer [1629-8 July 1695], son of noted Dutch poet Constantijn Christiaan Huygens [1596-1687]. Christiaan Huygens was Mathematician, Physicist, and Astronomer. He improved the lenses of telecopes, and thereby discovered the Rings of Saturn and a satellite of Saturn. He was the first to build clocks with pendulums. Huygens' Principle: "every point on a wavefront of light is a source of new waves." see: [1656],[1657],[1659],[1664],[1673],[1678] 1699: Jean Racine [1639-1699]: French dramatist, leading classical tragedian, also a prose Historian.

Decade by Decade 17th Century Science Background

The background of science and mathematics has been promiscuously intermingled with political/military history in the main body of text in this web page. Some later centuries chronologized in this web site break these apart (science/math versus political/military history). Similarly, "literature" as a genre based on the short story and the novel had not yet evolved, with the possible exception of Myths, stories about Christian saints, and poetry of equivalent function.

Decade by Decade 17th Century Mundane Background

27 Sep 1601: Birth of King Louis XIII of France 1603: The death of Queen of England, Elizabeth I (see: "Elizabethan" in Authors "E" Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England [25 Apr 1599-3 Sep 1658] Queen Christina of Sweden, big-name Catholic convert, matron of arts and sciences [8 Dec 1626-19 Apr 1689]. Born in Stockholm, which she wanted to transform into "the Athens of the North"; died in Rome. 2 July 1600: Battle of Nieuport. Dutch forces under Maurice of Nassau defeat Spanish forces under Archduke Albert in a battle on the coastal dunes. 6 Oct 1600: Jacopo Peri's Euridice, the earliest surviving opera, is premiered in Florence. 8 Oct 1600: San Marino gains its written constitution. 21 Oct 1600: Battle of Sekigahara in Japan; Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated Ishida Mitsunari, preparing for the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate. 1600: Girolamo Aleandro the Younger's Gaii, veteris juris consulti Institutionum fragmenta, cum commentario published. 1600: Fabritio Caroso's Nobiltą de dame published. 1600: Battle of Suceava - Prince Sigismund Bathory of Transylvania is defeated by the Voivode Michael the Brave of Moldavia as part of the internecine conflict in Hungary and the Danubian Principalities. 19 Nov 1600: Birth of Prince Charles Stuart, later King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland. 31 December 1600: British East India Company is chartered
Hotlinks to other Timeline pages of SF Chronology |Introduction: Overview and Summary |Prehistory: Ancient Literary Precursors |Cosmic History:13 Billion BC to 3000 BC |6th Millennium BC: When the Goddess Ruled |5th Millennium BC: Mesopotamia, Egypt |4th Millennium BC: Iceman of the Alps, Old Kingdom Egypt |3rd Millennium BC: Gilgamesh and Cheops |2nd Millennium BC: Abraham to David |1st Millennium BC: Homer, Buddha, Confucius, Euclid |1st Century: Jesus, Cymbeline, Caligula, Pliny |2nd Century: Hero, Ptolemy, Nichomachus |3rd Century: 3 Kingdoms China, Legendary Japan |4th Century: Constantine, Hypatia, Ausonius |5th Century: Rome in Crisis, Dark Ages start |6th Century: Boethius, Taliesin, Mohammed |7th Century: Bede, Brahmagupta, Isidorus |8th Century: Beowulf, Charlemagne, 1001 Arabian Nights |9th Century: Gunpowder and the first printed book |10th Century: Arabs, Byzantium, China |11th Century: Khayyam, Gerbert, Alhazen |12th Century: Age of Translations |13th Century: Crusades, Kublai Khan, Universities |14th Century: Dante, Marco Polo, and Clocks |15th Century: Dawn of Scientific Revolution |16th Century: Ariosto and Cyrano on the Moon |17th Century: Literary Dawn [you are HERE] |18th Century: Literary Expansion |19th Century: Victorian Explosion |1890-1910: Into Our Century |1910-1920: The Silver Age |1920-1930: The Golden Age |1930-1940: The Aluminum Age |1940-1950: The Plutonium Age |1950-1960: The Threshold of Space |1960-1970: The New Wave |1970-1980: The Seventies |1980-1990: The Eighties |1990-2000: End of Millennium |2000-2010: This Decade |2010-2020: Next Decade |Cosmic Future: Billions, Trllions, Googols
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Where to Go for More

: 51 Useful Reference Books Beyond the World Wide Web... there is the library of old-fashioned books printed on paper. I strongly recommend that you start or follow-up your explorations of this web site by consulting any or all of these outstanding sources: ALDISS: "Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction", Brian W. Aldiss (New York: Doubleday, 1973; Schocken Paperback, 1974) ALLEN: "Science Fiction Reader's Guide", L. David Allen (Centennial Press, 1974) AMIS: "New Maps of Hell", Kingsley Amis (London: Gollancz, 1960; New York: Harcourt Brace, 1960) ASH1: "Who's Who in Science Fiction", by Brian Ash (Taplinger, 1976) ASH2: "The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction", edited by Brian Ash (Harmony Books, 1977) ASHLEY: "The History of the Science Fiction Magazine" [3 volumes] (London: New English Library, 1974) ASIMOV "Asimov on Science Fiction" (New York: Avon, 1981) ATHELING: "The Issue at Hand", "William Atheling, Jr." [James Blish] (Chicago: Advent, 1964) BARRON: "Anatomy of Wonder", edited by Neil Barron (Bowker, 1976) BAXTER: "Science Fiction in the Cinema", John Baxter (London: A. Zwemmer, 1970; New York: A. S. Barnes, 1970) BERGONZI: "The Early H.G. Wells", Bernard Bergonzi (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1961) BLEILER: "The Checklist of Fantastic Literature" Everett F. Bleiler (Chicago: Shasta, 1948) BRETNOR1: "Modern Science Fiction: Its Meaning and Future", edited by Reginald Bretnor (New York: Coward-McCann, 1953) BRETNOR2: "The Craft of Science Fiction", Reginald Bretnor (New York: Harper & Row, 1977) BRINEY: "SF Bibliographies", Robert E. Briney & Edward Wood (Chicago: Advent, 1972) CLARESON1: "SF: The Other Side of Realism", edited by Thomas D. Clareson (Gregg Press, 1978) CLARESON2: "Extrapolation, 1959-1969", edited by Thomas D. Clareson (Bowling Green, Ohio: University Popular Press, 1971) CLARKE: "The Tale of the Future", I. F. Clarke (London: The Library Association, 1961, 1972) CONTENTO: "Index to the Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections", William Contento G.K. Hall, 1978) DAY: "Index to the Science Fiction Magazine: 1926-50", Donald B. Day (Portland, Oregon: Perri Press, 1952) DeCAMP: "Science Fiction Handbook", L. Sprague DeCamp (New York: Hermitage House, 1953) ELLIK: "The Universes of E. E. Smith", Ron Ellik & Bill Evans (Chicago: Advent, 1966) EVANS: "The Index of Science Fiction Magazines", Bill Evans with Jack Speer (Denver: Robert Peterson, 1946?) FRANKLIN: "Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century", H. Bruce Franklin (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966) FREWIN: "One Hundred Years of Science Fiction Illustration", Anthony Frewin (London: Jupiter Books, 1974) GOODSTONE: "The Pulps", Tony Goodstone (New York: Chelsea House, 1970) GUNN: "Alternate Worlds", James Gunn (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1975) HARRISON: "John W. Campbell: Collected Editorials from Analog", Harry Harrison (Garden City NY: Doubleday, 1966) HELLEMANS: "The Timetables of Science" by Alexander Hellemans and Bryan Bunch (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988) -- for this page and the one on the 16th Century HOLMBERG: "Science Fiction History", John-Henri Holmberg (Vanersborg, Sweden: Askild & Karnekull, 1974) KNIGHT: "In Search of Wonder", Damon Knight (Chicago: Advent, 1956; enlarged 1967) KYLE: "A Pictorial History of Science Fiction", David Kyle (London: Hamlyn House, 1976) LOCKE: "Worlds Apart", edited by George Locke (London: Cornmarket Reprints, 1972) LUNDWALL: "Science Fiction: What It's All About", Sam J. Lundwall (New York: Ace Books, 1971) METCALF: "The Index of Science Fiction Magazines, 1951-1965", Norm Metcalf (J. Ben Stark, 1968) MILLIES: "Science Fiction Primer for Teachers", Suzanne Millies (Dayton OH: Pflaum, 1975) MOSKOWITZ#1: "The Immortal Storm", Sam Moskowitz (AFSO Press, 1954; Hyperion Press, 19??) MOSKOWITZ#2: "Explorers of the Infinite: Shapers of Science Fiction", Sam Moskowitz (Cleveland & New York: World, 1963) MOSKOWITZ#3: "Seekers of Tomorrow", Sam Moskowitz (Cleveland & New York: World, 1963) NESFA: "Index to the Science Fiction Magazines", New England Science Fiction Association (Cambridge MA: NESFA, 1971) PERRY: "The Penguin Book of Comics", George Perry & Alan Aldridge (London: Penguin, 1971) ROGERS: "A Requiem for Astounding", Alva Rogers (Chicago: Advent, 1964) ROTTSTEINER: "The Science Fiction Book", Franz Rottsteiner (London: Thames & Hudson, 1975) SADOUL: "Hier, L'An 2000 [Illustrations from the Golden Age of Science Fiction]", Jaxques Sadoul (Paris: Editions Denoel, 1973) STRAUSS: "The MIT Science Fiction Society's Index to the SF Magazines: 1951-64" Erwin S. Strauss (Cambridge MA: MIT Science Fiction Society, 1966) TUCK: "The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2nd Edition", Donald H. Tuck (Hobart, Tasmania: Donald H. Tuck, 1959) VERSINS: "Encyclopedie des l'utopie, des voyages extraordinaires et de la science fiction", (Lausanne: L'Age d'Homme, 1972) WAGGONER: "The Hills of Faraway", Diana Waggoner (Athenaeum, 1978) WARNER: "All Our Yesterdays", Harry Warner, Jr. (Chicago: Advent, 1969) WELLS: "Fictional Accounts of Trips to the Moon", Lester G. Wells (Syracuse NY: Syracuse University Library, 1962) WILLIAMSON: "H.G. Wells: Critic of Progress", Jack Williamson (Baltimore: Mirage Press, 1973) WOLLHEIM: "The Universe Makers", Donald A. Wollheim (New York: Harper & Row, 1971)
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