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« Children's Games in Art in the 16th & 17th Centuries: van de Venne and Brueghel | Main | Things out of Place Department: the Moon »

February 06, 2009

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Jeff

My sense of intellectual history is distorted (what did they know and when did they know it), but I'm a little surprised by the idea of chambers of combustible material. I guess that served in the absence of other evidence, but it must have seemed a weak idea even then. How would it burn, etc. But they did have to face the fact that hot things came out of the earth. And the image was published in 1830, when the modern science of thermodynamics was just taking off. The picture is very fine. Eaton had a strong intuition about what was going on.

John Ptak

It had been a problem for some long time, the issue of where the hot stuff was coming from. Athanasius Kircher, our old brilliant and problematic friend, sort of noodled out a similar resposne to hot in his Mundus back in the mid-17th century. But it was much easier to measure the heights of mountains on the Moon in this year than it was to figure out the depths of the oceans....let alone figure out what was inside the earth.

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