Category Archives: history

the shadow of the past

Lunardi’s landing place

The first flight in Scotland was made by the Italian balloonist Vincenzo Lunardi, on 5 October 1785. Early balloonists had no control over their vehicles, and on this occasion the wind took him from Edinburgh, over the Firth of Forth, … Continue reading

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Magus Muir

In St Andrews, the ruins of the Cathedral and the Castle (the Bishop’s Palace) still stand unrestored. The ruins date from the Scottish reformation in the mid-sixteenth century; the castle was ruined by successive battles between Catholics and Protestants, whereas … Continue reading

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Baudin in South Australia, 3

At the weekend we saw an exhibition about Baudin’s voyage at the South Australian Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide. After that, and some more reading, I have a conjectured answer to my question about why Baudin named so many features … Continue reading

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Baudin in South Australia, 2

After a visit to the State Library of South Australia, a talk with a very helpful librarian, and an afternoon reading Baudin’s diary (in English translation by Christine Cornell in 1974), I know a bit more. First, there is a … Continue reading

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Baudin in South Australia

In 1802, the French navigator Nicolas Baudin met his English counterpart Matthew Flinders off the coast of South Australia, in a place now called Encounter Bay. Both men were charting the coastline. Here is a part of Baudin’s chart, photographed … Continue reading

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Famous on both sides of the world

The pictures are self-explanatory: the first is in Pittenweem, in Fife, Scotland, the second on the campus of the University of Adelaide, South Australia.

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Pappus and Diophantus

This post is inspired by a nice article by Adrian Rice and Ezra Brown in the latest BSHM Bulletin, titled “Commutativity and collinearity: a historical case study of the interconnection of mathematical ideas, Part II”. Pappus’ Theorem states that, if … Continue reading

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