Category archives: History

Columbus and the shape of the Earth, a “Holywood” story

Columbus and the shape of the Earth, a “Holywood” story

HistoryPhilosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

It is said that Washington Irving’s biography of Christopher Columbus, published in 1828, was the work that started the legend that the discoverer of America was the person that convinced the ‘nearly medieval’ Europeans of his time of the sphericity of the earth, a legend that has captured the popular imagination since then. Nothing could […]

Quantum disbelievers

Quantum disbelievers

Condensed matterHistoryQuantum physics

By DIPC

The idea that the solution of Schrödinger’s equation is a wave that represents, not a physical wave, but the probability of finding the associated particle in some specific condition of motion has had great success. In fact, every experiment devised so far to test this interpretation has confirmed these results. Yet many scientists still find […]

How the physical model of atoms was lost

How the physical model of atoms was lost

Condensed matterHistoryQuantum physics

By DIPC

By the mid-1920s it was clear that “things” (electrons, atoms, molecules) long regarded as particles also show wave properties. This fact is the basis for the currently accepted theory of atomic structure. This theory, quantum mechanics, was introduced in 1925. Its foundations were developed very rapidly during the next few years, primarily by Born, Heisenberg […]

A Renaissance brain

A Renaissance brain

HistoryNeurobiology

By José Viosca

He was a man of insatiable curiosity and a hallmark of modern multidisciplinarity. Yet he was born on an April day six centuries ago. He never attended university, and still he authored masterpieces in the history of art and cultivated a broad range of interests and skills. Distant domains such as painting, sculpture, technology and […]

Clearly placed before the mathematical mind

Clearly placed before the mathematical mind

HistoryPhysics

By DIPC

We recently explored the concepts that Faraday introduced regarding the relationship between electricity and magnetism. In this article we focus on their treatment by Maxwell. The work of Oersted, Ampere, Henry, and finally Faraday had established two basic principles of electromagnetism: 1. An electric current in a conductor produces magnetic lines of force that circle […]

Did the first Americans come from Bilbao?

Did the first Americans come from Bilbao?

AnthropologyArchaeologyGeneticsHistory

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

As everybody knows, the people from Bilbao are born wherever they want. And, according to one of the most captivating conjectures in contemporary archaeology, this might have been so in a totally unexpected way even from many millennia ago. The conjecture I am referring to is the ‘Solutrean hypothesis’ about the first human population of […]

The math of sex and hunger. A short history of population dynamics

The math of sex and hunger. A short history of population dynamics

BiologyHistoryMathematics

By Pablo Rodríguez Sánchez

The field of population dynamics lies between mathematics and biology. Its subject of study is the evolution of biological populations with time. The natural language for dynamical problems is that of differential equations, and population dynamics is not an exception to this rule. Such a powerful tool was well known since the times of Isaac […]