Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 17th Century

By Michael Windelspecht | Go to book overview

GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL TERMS

a
Abscissa (Mathematics). In a coordinate system, the distance of the point along the horizontal axis. The abscissa is typically called the x-axis.
Absolute Zero (Physics, Chemistry). The temperature at which all molecular motion ceases. This is a theoretical temperature, for it has never been achieved experimentally. It is approximated to occur at −273.16 degrees Celsius.
Absorption Spectrum (Physics, Biology). The spectrum of light, measured in wavelengths, that results when a pigment is placed between a light source and a spectroscope. It represents those wavelengths that are not absorbed by the pigment.
Acceleration (Physics). The change of the velocity of an object with respect to time. Mathematical analysis of acceleration was enhanced by the development of calculus around 1684.
Acoustics (Physics). The area of physical science that studies the properties of sound, including how sound is perceived.
Analytical Geometry (Mathematics). The definition of geometric shapes and curves using algebraic functions. It involves the plotting of the shape on a coordinate system to define its physical properties.
Angiosperm (Biology). A biological class of organisms that consists of members of the plant kingdom whose seeds are enclosed within specialized leaves called the carpels. They are frequently called the flowering plants, of which there are approximately 220,000 species.
Ascension (Astronomy). Also called right ascension, this is a coordinate used with declination to establish the celestial location of an object. Declination is the angle from the celestial equator while right ascension is the angle measured along the celestial sphere from the vernal equinox.
Astronomical Unit (Astronomy). Frequently abbreviated as AU, an astronomical unit represents the mean distance of the Earth from the sun. In modern

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Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 17th Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Experiments, Inventions and Discoveries 1
  • A 3
  • B 15
  • C 34
  • E 54
  • F 64
  • G 70
  • H 81
  • J 109
  • K 115
  • L 121
  • M 148
  • N 173
  • O 177
  • P 187
  • S 201
  • T 224
  • V 241
  • Appendix 245
  • Glossary of Technical Terms 247
  • Selected Bibliography 257
  • Subject Index 261
  • Name Index 267
  • About the Author 271
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