Category Archives: history

the shadow of the past

The Wendover Arm

On New Year’s Eve, I walked along the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal. This turns off the main line of the Grand Union at Bulbourne and runs to the small Buckinghamshire town of Wendover. I started at Tring … Continue reading

Posted in geography, history | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Continuous functions

What does it mean for a function to be continuous? Received wisdom is that this was sorted out in the nineteenth century by Cauchy and Weierstrass; even if the epsilon-delta definition is a bit of a mouthful for students, once … Continue reading

Posted in history | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

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

Posted in geography, history | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in geography, history | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

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

Posted in geography, history | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in geography, history | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in geography, history | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment