General Science

General medieval sciences, including astronomy, alchemy, metrology, geology, natural philosophy, and similar studies.

Historical Japanese mathematics website online

The National Diet Library of Japan has created a website for the study of Wasan, the mathematics that developed in Japan before the Edo period with text written by Mr. Sato Ken’ichi, Associate Professor, University of Electro-Communications, and Orita Hiroharu, Library Counsellor of the National Diet Library.

The secret of Renaissance acoustics

Scientists have long puzzled over the acoustic properties of grand churches and performances of late Renaissance music with its elaborate, up-tempo harmonies. Now a physicist and a music technologist believe they have cracked the secret.

The Santa marker and the richness of Scottish DNA

Somewhere is Scotland exists one man who carries Santa's DNA, the NM46 marker traced to eastern Siberia and to Lapland, Santa Claus's legendary home. The unidentified man, so far the only one recorded in Scotland, may find himself visited by a relative on Christmas Eve.

Medieval corpses help construct plague genetic code

An international team of researchers has reconstructed the genetic code of the Black Death using DNA extracted from the teeth of medieval corpses buried in a graveyard in London's East Smithfield. Their research has been published in the science journal Nature.

Fibonacci: How numbers helped shape the development of modern Western Europe

In 1202, life in western Europe was changed by the publication of Liber abbaci, a book by Leonardo of Pisa, known as Fibonacci, the first general-purpose book of arithmetic in the West, which "explained the 'new' methods in terms understandable to ordinary people."

Marginalia: An "Invisible College" for Natural Philosophers of the Known World

Friar Galen of Ockham announces the formation of Marginalia: An "Invisible College" for Natural Philosophers of the Knowne World of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Michelangelo's David heralds beginning of modern science

Most people viewing Michelangelo’s magnificent sculpture of David admire its artistic beauty and proportion, but to Dr. Kelly Cline, the statue symbolizes something else: the birth of modern science. The article appears in the Independent Record (Helena, Montana).

Known World Aviculturists Guild on Facebook

The Known World Aviculturists Guild has its web presence on Facebook, with a site featuring research resources such as links, period illuminations, and discussions by guild members on a wide range of aviculture topics.  A bird is not required to participate in their Society-wide guild--only a genuine interest in how companion birds shaped medieval life.

[ATE] Dragon's Horde

The Barony of Tir Ysgithr is in need of your help! The Dragon has sent an emissary and his threat is dire. He plans to attack our scientists and artisans at the upcoming Science Exposition.

"Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge" at Sackler Museum

Visitors to the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will have the opportunity to view 16th century woodcuts, engravings, and etchings relating to the study of science when the museum presents Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.

Papers sought for medieval conference; topic: erotica in the Middle Ages

The Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Arizona State Univerity has issued a call for papers for its 18th Annual ACMRS Conference. The topic is: Erotica and the Erotic in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Deadline for papers will be October 16, 2011.  

18th Annual ACMRS Conference

The annual undergraduate conference of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies will convene February 16-19, 2012 in Tempe Arizona. The topic of this year's conference is: Erotica and the Erotic in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Columbus' actions "greatest event in the history of life since the death of the dinosaurs"

How did Christopher Columbus really change history? Not by the "discovery" of the New world, but by ecological convulsion, the exchange of plants, animals and diseases between the two continents. Such is the premise of Charles C. Mann's new book 1493.

Drug testing Shakespeare

Anthropologist Francis Thackeray believes William Shakespeare was a pothead -- really -- and hopes to exhume the bard for drug tests. Thackeray's petition for exhumation has been made to the Church of England, based on his research done over the past ten years.

16th century automaton replicates "prayer and trance"

Tradition says that a 16th century mechanical monk, now owned by the Smithsonian Institution, was created by Juanelo Turriano for Spanish Emperor Charles V. The monk walks, prays, and kisses a wooden cross. (photo and video)

Technology to be used to crack mystery of Howard tombs

Dr Phillip Lindley of Leicester University and experts from EuroPac 3D plan to use lasers and x-rays to scan and reconstruct the tombs of Thomas Howard, the third Duke of Norfolk, and Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, both prominent in the reign of Henry VIII.

"Flood of people" settled England from Germanic lands

The British may have deeper German roots than previously believed. Archeologists and geneticists have recently shown that in post-Roman Britain, a few thousand German warriors may have overthrown the locals and replaced their Celtic languagewith their own.

What will the sinking of Venice mean to the world?

"Venice has become a museum city, no longer a residential one," said a Unesco director recently about the city threatened by rising sea levels. Jack Watkins of The Independent discusses the fate of the city.

Coin composition tells story of Europe's Price Revolution

Anne-Marie Desaulty believes coins can tell a story. She and colleagues from the University of Lyon are using mass spectrometry to study isotopes of lead and copper found in coins of the 16th and 17th centuries in hopes of discovering the cause of the great Price Revolution.

Cooling climate may have forced Vikings out of Greenland

Researchers have added "climate change" to the list of possible reasons that the Vikings suddenly abandoned Greenland around 1400. Analysis of  lake sediment cores has revealed that there was a sharp cooling trend from about 1100 onwards.

Trebuchets for schoolrooms

Michael Woods of Mountain View, California, has a vision: School children learn science by constructing and using desktop trebuchets. To that end, he has created a trebuchet project open to public support. (video & photos)

Roman poem object of climate change study

Medieval history professor Michael McCormick has spent a great deal of time investigating documentation of climate change in medieval records. Now he turns his attention to the late Roman Empire.

Exhumation of Mona Lisa planned

"We can put an end to a centuries-old dispute and also understand Leonardo's relations to his models," said art historian Silvano Vinceti, who plans to exhume the body of Lisa Gherardini, believed to have been the model for da Vinci's famous painting.

Edinburgh conference explores Renaissance beauty secrets

At a recent conference at Edinburgh University, modern experts examined period sources "to increase understanding of the kinds of [beauty] materials that may have been available in renaissance homes and how ideas of beauty have developed over time."

Math text book by Fibonacci up for sale

The math treatise Liber Abaci by Leonardo Pisano Bigollo, aka Fibonacci, is going up for aution in New York. The book is a 15th century copy of a 13th century original.

Voynich Manuscript carbon dated

Since its discovery in 1912, the Voynich Manuscript has been the subject of debate among scholars and scientists who argued over the meaning of its 250,000 coded characters. Now experts from the University of Arizona have used carbon dating to determine the age of the document.

Conquering armies brought climate change

Genghis Khan may have inadvertantly brought about climate change, believes Julia Pongratz, who, with her colleagues Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany, have compared historical records with global carbon dioxide levels.

Vikings live on in Northwest England

A team of British researchers has recently concluded that Vikings are "alive and well and living in the North West of England." The results of their study have been published in a new book, Viking DNA: The Wirral and West Lancashire Project.

Medieval monks predict climate change

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have matched diaries kept by monks, dating to 1500, to look at weather patterns from the past 500 years. The scientists have found that historical records closely parallel modern computer simulations of European climate patterns.

Tree rings link political turmoil to climate changes

Ulf Buntgen, a paleoclimatologist at the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape, believes political history can be read in the trees. He is the co-author of a study which links the "rise and fall of past civilisations and sudden shifts in Europe's climate."