Tag Archives: Herschel

The mathematicians in the Walhalla

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The Walhalla is a neo-classical hall of fame which honours the most important people in German history. It was conceived in 1807 by Ludwig I of Bavaria (king from 1825 to 1848) and its construction took place between 1830 and 1842 designed by Leo von Klenze.

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The Walhalla was inaugurated on October 18, 1842 with 96 busts and 64 commemorative plaques for people with no available portrait and everything was presided by the great King Ludwig:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Among all these very famous people related with the German history there are some… of course… mathematicians who share this space with Bach, Göethe, Beethoven, Guttemberg,  Luther, Otto von Bismarck,…  First of all, Dürervis the great German painter from the Renaissance who applied a lot of perspective new techniques to his paintings:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The great astronomers are also here. Regiomontanus,…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Herschel,…

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Copernicus,…

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

and Kepler:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The great Leibniz…

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

and the greatest Gauss (added in 2007), also have their busts in this hall of fame:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Finally, Albert Einstein’s bust was added in 1990:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

I must say that the commemorative plaques also mention Alcuin of York, Albertus Magnus and the Venerable Bede, all ot them related with the wonderful Arithmetics!

Come to Regensburg to see this beautiful (and strange) place!

Location: Walhava in Donaustauf (map)

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The National Portrait Gallery in London

Photography by Carlos Dorce (alloed by the guards)

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

This was one of the great moment in my last holidays in England! Newton and me together in the same picture! (I must thank the guard because he allowed me to take this picture) Today is 25 December and this is the reason because I am publishing today this picture: Newton was born on December 25, 1642 (Julian Calendar) so… Happy Birthday Great Mind! 

Photography by Carlos Dorce (alloed by the guards)

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) [by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)]

An immensely influential mathematical scientist, in one year (1665-6), when driven from Cambridge by plague, Newton formulated a series of important theories concerning light, colour, calculus and the ‘universal law of gravitation’. According to tradition, he developed the latter theory after seeing an apple fall from a tree. He published Principia (1687) and the Optiks (1704), and was knighted in 1705. Newton was President of the Royal Society from 1703 until his death.

Newton is not alone and he is accompanied by other great English scientist like Edmund Halley. The portrait of Halley is attributed to Isaac Whood (1688-1752) from 1720. Halley has a chart showing his predicted path accross Southern England of the total solar eclipse of 22 April 1715.

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

Edmond Halley (1656-1742)

Astronomer. At the age of twenty-two in 1678 he published his catalogue of the stars of the southern hemisphere, and in 1705 his celebrated work on comets. Halley published Newton’s Principia at his own expense, 1687; he was appointed Astronomer Royal in 1721. He successfully predicted the reappearance of the great comet in 1758 (‘Halley’s Comet’).

Sir Christopher Wren (showing a plan of St. Paul’s Cathedral) is also in the Gallery:

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

Wren was an architect and scientist. After the Great Fire of 1666, he rebuilt St. Paul’s Cathedral and many of the London City Churches; his work includes the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford (1664-9), Trinity College Library in Cambridge (1674-84), Chelsea Hospital and Greenwich Hospital (from 1696). He was professor of Astronomy at Oxford and later President of the Royal Society.

Herschel and Boyle are also exhibited in the Gallery but it was almost impossible to take a picture of them so it’s better if you go to the National Portrait Gallery web and you’ll see better pictures of them. 

Before ending this post, we must look at this anamorphic picture of King Edward VI:

Edward VI 1537-53 by William Scrots (active 1537-53). Oil on panel, 1546.

This unusual portrait of Edward was painted in 1546 the year before he became king. He is shown in distorted perspective (anamorphosis), a technique to display the virtuosity of the painter and amaze the spectator. Anamorphic portraits were relatively popular in mainland Europe at this time, but this painting was considered particularly remarkable […].

The anamorphosis is a very interesting mathematical technique which must be explained in detail but I am not going to do it now.

MERRY CHRISTMAS… or ….

HAPPY NEWTON’S BIRTHDAY!

Location: National Portrait Gallery in London (map)

Barrow, Dirac, Halley and Herschel in Westminster

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Isaac Barrow also has his monument in Westminster. It’s in the Poet’s corner but Newton’s teacher and mentor had to have his space in this holy building:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Apart of Isaac Newton, other scientific whose names are related to Westminster are Edmond Halley, who has a commemorative plaque in the cloister of the abbey:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

John Herschel (William Herschel’s son) is also here near Newton’s tomb and a commemorative plaque about Paul Dirac:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

LocationWestminster Abbey (map)

The Museum of the History of Science (and VI)

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

A space dedicated to Herschel’s instrument is found upstairs. The picture shows a Newtonian relector by William Herschel…

famous for discovering the planet Uranus and building very large reflectors. This is a 7-ft (focal length) model, the type used in the discovery of Uranus.

There is also a large room dedicated to the History of Electricity, Magnetism, Chemistry and Medicine but I am going to finish this serie of posts here. Have you enjoyed? You must go to Oxford to be really happy.

Location: The Museum of the History of Science (map)

William Herschel’s house in Bath

Herschel's house in Bath Photography by Carlos Dorce

Herschel’s house in Bath
Photography by Carlos Dorce

Nowadays, Herschel’s house in Bath hosts the Museum of Astronomy of this beautiful city in Somerset. The house has a plaque indicating that it’s Herschel’s house in Bath:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

William Herschel was born in Hanover the in November 15, 1738. His father Isaak was oboist in the Hannover Military Band and after the defeat in the Battle of Hastenbeck, Isaak sent his sons to seek refuge in England in late 1757 (in those times, England and Hanover were ruled by the King George II of Hanover). In England, William began to study English and music and he is important because of his musical compositions. Herschel moved to Sunderland in 1761 and became member of the Newcastle orchestra as first violin for one season. Then, he moved to Leeds, Halifax and Bath, where he became organist of the Octagon chapel.

Portrait of Herschel in Herschel's house in bath Photography by Carlos Dorce

Portrait of Herschel in Herschel’s house in Bath
Copy of a portrait printed in Famous Men of Science (New York, 1889)
Photography by Carlos Dorce

The house is full of musical instruments as you can see in this rooum set as his office:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

His important  musical career allowed him to be intereseted in astronomy, optics and mathematics and he started to build his own reflecting telescopes. Around 1775 Herschel was a very experimented astronomer and he could spend more than 15 hours diary observing the heaven and pulling his lens. In March 1781, he was looking for double stars when noticed a new object in the night heaven. He thought that it was a comet but after a lot of series of observations, he determined that the new object was a new planet beyond the orbit of Saturn. He called it “Georgium sidus” (Georgian star) after king George III although the new planet was known as “Heschel” in France after becoming its name “Uranus”. Herschel was awarded the Copley Medal and elected fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1782. In that year, he and his sister moved to England where he was appointed to King’s Astronomer and continued making new and great telescopes. He constructed more than 400 telescopes with which he discovered two moons of Saturn (Mimas and Enceladus) and two moons and the rings of Uranus (Titania and Oberon) among several other discoveries. His first observation of Uranus was made in this house in Bath (19 New King Street). In fact, one of the most interesting parts of the museum is the garden from where he did this important discovery:

Garden of Herschel's house Photography by Carlos Dorce

Garden of Herschel’s house
Photography by Carlos Dorce

There is an armilar sphere In the garden  and a plaque that says:

Here lived Scientist and Musician Sir William Herschel (1738-1822) from where he found the planet Uranus, march 13th, 1781. He also discovered Infrared radiation in 1800. And his sister Caroline Herschel, early woman scientist (1750-1848), hunter of comets.

The  museum has a humble collection of astronomical objects where you can find astrolabes, armilar spheres, an orrery,…

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The astrolabe of the picture is a brass planispheric Hindu astrolabe, inlaid with silver Sanskrit script. It was commisioned in jaipur, India, in 1836.

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

We can also see a replica of Herschel 7-foot telescope next to the desktop in the main entrance:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

This is a very interesting mathematical visit in Bath. Furthermore, everybody is in the centre of the city visiting the Roman baths and the abbey so you can visit the museum accompanied only by a few number of people. Breathe the air of the science!

Herschel died in August 25, 1822 in Slough and he was buried in the St. Laurence’s Church in Upton.

Portrait of Herschel in the dinig room of Herschel's house Photography by carlos Dorce

Portrait of Herschel (1785) in the dinig room of Herschel’s house
Photography by Carlos Dorce

Location:  Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath (map)