Opinionated History of Mathematics

Cracking tales of historical mathematics and its interplay with science, philosophy, and culture. Revisionist history galore. Contrarian takes on received wisdom. Implications for teaching. Informed by current scholarship. By Dr Viktor Blåsjö.


Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 35m. Bisher sind 36 Folge(n) erschienen. Dieser Podcast erscheint alle 1 Monate.

Gesamtlänge aller Episoden: 22 hours 1 minute


More things Galileo didn’t do first

What was Galileo’s great innovation in science? To give practical experience more authority than philosophical systems? To insist on mechanical as opposed to teleological or supernatural explanations of natural phenomena?


 2019-10-28  53m

Galileo was the first to … what exactly?

Was Galileo “the father of modern science” because he was the first to unite mathematics and physics? Or the first to base science on data and experiments? No. Galileo was not the first to do any of these things,


 2019-09-21  44m

Galileo and the Church

Galileo’s sentencing by the Inquisition was avoidable. The Church had no interest in prosecuting mathematical astronomers, but since Galileo had so little to contribute in that domain he foolishly got himself involved with Biblical interpretation.


 2019-08-15  40m

Galileo’s theory of comets is hot air

Galileo thought comets were an atmospheric phenomenon, not physical bodies in outer space. How could he be so wrong when all his colleagues got it right? Perhaps because his theory was a convenient excuse for not doing any mathematical astronomy of com...


 2019-07-07  36m

Phases of Venus

Telescopic observations of Venus provided evidence for the Copernican view of the solar system. But was Galileo the first to see this, as he claims? Or did he steal the idea from a colleague and lie about having made the observations months before?


 2019-06-02  31m

Blemished sun

Galileo thought sunspots were one of the three best arguments for heliocentrism. He was wrong.


 2019-05-04  32m

The telescope

The telescope offered a shortcut to stardom for Galileo. We offer some fun cynical twists on the standard story.


 2019-04-06  31m

Heliocentrism before the telescope

Galileo is credited with defeating Ptolemaic earth-centered astronomy, but most mathematical astronomers had already abandoned this theory long before Galileo.


 2019-03-09  31m

Heliocentrism in antiquity

Two thousand years before Galileo, Greek astronomers argued that the heavenly bodies revolve around the sun. Their reasoning involved sophisticated mathematics and sound physical considerations.


 2019-02-11  31m

Galileo’s theory of tides

Galileo dismissed the notion that the moon influences the tides as “childish” and “occult.” Instead he argued that tides are a kind of sloshing due to the motion of the earth. This very poor theory is inconsistent with several of his own scientific pri...


 2019-01-18  22m