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Abstract  

This paper is based on theSource Book in Astronomy and Astrophysics 1900–1975 which is considered representative of the pioneer research work in the field. The distribution of important scientific achievements over a certain period, their distribution by subject area and sources, single or multiple authorship and age of techniques relevant to these areas are quantitatively examined. In some cases results are obtained as known from the analysis of the overall output of the sciences (including astronomy). As regards, however, the frequency of published important papers and the role of the latest technique pioneer achievements differ significantly from the total of scientific publications.

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Abstract  

Using publication and citation counts, and data obtained from the editorial office ofJournal of Astrophysics and Astronomy, we conclude that this journal is truly international and stands a good chance of becoming one of the core journals of astronomy, provided it is marketed vigorously.

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Abstract  

The trend toward collectivization in Astronomy during this century (1901–1996), as measured by the increase in the number of authors per paper, is analyzed. For this purpose, two leading astronomical journals:The Astrophysical Journal andMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society are surveyed. It is found that the average number of authors per paper has jumped from a little more than one in the first half of this century to about three at present. Most of this dramatic increase has taken place during the last 20–25 years. At the same time, the ratio ofcollective papers (three or more authors) to single-authored ones has passed from nearly zero to 3–4 at present. The latter means that collective papers were almost nonexistent until the fifties or sixties to become nowadays 3–4 times more frequent than single-authored ones. The reasons underlying the collectivization of Astronomy (and perhaps of all natural sciences) are analyzed. The growing professionalization of science accompanied by a massive influx of graduate studients into University research institutes, the revolution in communication, the pressure to publish in order to progress in a scientific career, and the growing complexity of knowledge are invoked as causes for the abandonment of the traditional individualism in science to a collective regime.

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Abstract  

Various data are collected for 15 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that have to do with the practising of astronomy: (1) using the report of the Astronomy expert meeting of the Megascience Forum of the OECD, the level of astronomy funding, size of the research communities, relative commitment to ground-based versus space-based astronomy, etc.; (2) from other sources the size of the population, Gross National Product and size of the total research community; (3) from the paper ofSchubert et al. (1989) data on publication and citation scores of these countries in astronomy and the total research effort (excluding social and economic sciences). Using these data the 15 countries have been ranked on: (1) the relative level of astronomy funding; (2) the relative level of performance in astronomy; (3) the correspondence between funding and performance in astronomy; (4) the relative level of performance of the total science effort; and (5) the performance in astronomy relative to that in all sciences.The results of this study have been summarized in table 10 below. Other interesting results that can be inferred from the data collected in this paper are: (1) one out of every 75,000 inhabitants of these OECD countries is an astronomical researcher; (2) each citizen of these countries spends on average 2.5 $ per year on astronomical research (either from the ground or in space); (3) the average budget per researcher amounts to roughly 200,000 $ per annum; (4) the average budget for astronomy amounts to 0.016% of the Gross National Product and of order 1% of the total budget for civilian R & D; (5) an astronomical researcher from these countries produces on average 1.7 papers each year and these papers receive on average ten citations in the first five years; (6) researchers in science (excluding economic and social sciences) make up 0.08% of the population in these countries and one in about 65 of these researchers works in astronomy or astrophysics; (7) most countries spend about one-third of their astronomy budget on salaries, one-sixth on basic support and half on observing facilities (in a ratio one to two for ground-based versus space).

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Abstract  

The performance of Brazilian male and female scientists in three scientific fields was assessed through their publications in the Science Citation Index from 1997-2001. Information on their sex and their ages, positions, and fellowship status was obtained from a census on all Brazilian scientists. The results showed that women participated most in immunology, moderately in oceanography and least in astronomy. Men and women published similar numbers of papers, and they were also of similar potential impact; they were also equally likely to collaborate internationally. Nevertheless, women were less likely than men to receive fellowships to supplement their salaries, suggesting that some sexual discrimination may still be occurring in the Brazilian peer-review process.

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Abstract  

Analysis of the growth of radio and X-ray astronomy in the 1960s suggests that future reductions in the size of entering cohorts of new doctorates in astronomy may lengthen the time needed to exploit future innovations, discoveries or breakthroughs. This may well lead to slower rates of advancement in astronomical knowledge. Most scientists making up the early growth of these two problem areas hadrecently earned their Ph. D's, and, it was found, the probability of initiating research in radio or X-ray astronomy declined with the age of the scientist. Since smaller entering cohorts of new scientists would imply an overall aging of the astronomical community, the rate at which scientists will move in to exploit future innovations will probably be slower than during the periods of peak growth in the 1960s.

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Abstract  

This paper examines the contributions given in theSource Book in Astronomy and Astrophysics 1900–1975 with respect to the question: how old were the authors at the time of their greatest achievements? As average value of the age of the authors at the time of the publication we find A=39.8±10.9 years and a little difference for more empirical and the theoretical papers.

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As a first step towards the exposition of the contents and character of King Matthias’ natural scientific erudition and the exploration of the background and motives of the ruler’s literary patronage, we have investigated the king’s natural scientific and philosophical interest. Data from already well-known fields (astronomy and astrology, alchemy, magic), as well as evidence that has been neglected so far show that from among the studies on nature the king most intensely dealt with occult sciences, and this interest also dominated his scientific patronage, mainly his significant support of astronomy. It also influenced his affinity and commitment to Neoplatonism, the basis of which consisted of the knowledge of the teaching of Apuleius, who was well known and also honoured as a magician throughout the Middle Ages, and called by the epithet “platonicus” due to the corpus of his works. In his De vita dedicated to Matthias, offering much occult-hermetic knowledge, Marsilio Ficino adapted himself to this taste of the king. Before the making of Ficino’s translations and his Platonism, the works of Apuleius were one of the most important Platonic sources to the West and to Ficino himself; they cleared the ground for the reception of Plato’s works and of Greek Platonic-Hermetic philosophical writings.

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Astrology plays a significant role in the Neo-Latin poetry of Janus Pannonius (1434–1472), the most renowned humanist of Hungary. The article investigates the various forms of astrological ideas in that part of his oeuvre where a specific interest in astrological topics can be witnessed: the works concerned are letters, elegies and epigrams composed in Hungary. Previous research into this topic has neglected to face the problem of the heterogeneity of astrology and to explore in detail the biographicalhistorical context, and some scholars have argued that Janus deeply believed in astrology. Instead, I will conclude that the appearance of astrological ideas can simply be explained by biographical, literary historical, intellectual historical factors. The argument concerns not only one particular person but also the intellectual life of mid-fifteenth century Hungary, and the habits of the Renaissance mind in general.

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Military considerations in the early 1770s declared the need for a systematic mapping of the eastern regions of Norway along the border to Sweden. After a failed attempt of direct map sketching in the field, the geographical circle was introduced in 1779 to establish a triangular network as a backbone for further positioning of natural and man-made features. The resulting maps were used in preparation of fortresses and planning of defensive field operations. The scale of the triangular network was established by an astronomical baseline supported by linear baselines measured on frozen lakes during winter time. Many stations had latitude determinations from circum-meridian observations of the sun and stars to control the precision of the geodetic triangulation. When discrepancies became too large, a new baseline and a new reference point was selected. The original reference point was the flagpole of the fortress at Kongsvinger, which served as the zero-meridian for mapping in Norway until 1850. Other reference sites, for which accurate latitude and longitude were determined from several years of astronomical observations, were established in Trondheim, Bergen, and Kristiansand as the original triangular arc was expanded around the entire coast of southern Norway to close at Kongsvinger after 3 decades of observations. This allowed astronomical control of the geodetic results.

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