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    Re: long lost lunars
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2003 Dec 8, 09:35 -0500

    On Dec 7, 2003, at 9:32 AM, George Huxtable wrote:
    > Another is, oddly enough,
    > the advent of GPS, which has taken away interest from classical
    > navigation
    > as a means of finding where you are, and diverted it into
    > understanding the
    > immense importance that scientific navigation played in the opening-up
    > of
    > the World. That's my own view, anyway.
    To add to what George said, the need for scientific navigation,
    including surveying, was a strong spur to the development of science
    itself, it being the main objective of the French Academy of Science
    during its first hundred years, and a main objective of the English
    Royal Society.  I remember in thermodynamics being introduced to
    Hamiltonians, which originated for the calculation of celestial orbits.
      Laplace, Gauss, Newton, Kelvin and others all were strongly involved
    in navigation, broadly taken.  The central role of these practical
    endeavors (navigation and surveying) in the development of physics and
    mathematics is not usually mentioned in the history of the subjects.  I
    think it would be good to weave it back into the story, rather than
    presenting the subjects solely as abstract pursuits.

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