Author: changabula

Chinese Inventions, Discoveries and Other Contributions   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-1-25 20:13:53 |Display all floors
Spaghetti

The Chinese are on record as having eaten pasta as early as 5,000 B.C

  1. http://www.ilovepasta.org/factsaboutpasta.html
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When you think of pasta, you think of Italy, but it was the Chinese, not the Italians, who used their noodles to invent noodles. The Chinese had been eating pasta for four thousand years. Early European explorers to Asia learned the delicious and nutritious value of noodles during their encounters with the Chinese. They quickly brought back the taste for noodles to the cooks of their homeland.

  1. http://www.minnesota-china.com/Education/emSciTech/inventions.htm
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October 12, 2005—A 4,000-year-old bowl of noodles unearthed in China is the earliest example ever found of one of the world's most popular foods, scientists reported today. It also suggests an Asian—not Italian—origin for the staple dish.

The beautifully preserved, long, thin yellow noodles were found inside an overturned sealed bowl at the Lajia archaeological site in northwestern China. The bowl was buried under ten feet (three meters) of sediment.

"This is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found," Houyuan Lu of Beijing's Chinese Academy of Sciences said in an e-mail interview.

The scientists determined the noodles were made from two kinds of millet, a grain indigenous to China and widely cultivated there 7,000 years ago. Modern North American and European noodles are usually made with wheat.

Archaeochemist Patrick McGovern at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia said that if the date for the noodles is correct, the find is "quite amazing."

Even today, he said, deft skills are required to make long, thin noodles like those found at Lajia.

"This shows a fairly high level of food processing and culinary sophistication," he said.

  1. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/10/1012_051012_noodles.html
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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-1-30 10:30 AM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 20:19:44 |Display all floors
Clocks

The first clock that the Chinese devised was for astronomical uses.

In the first clock ever, there was a puppet that would hold up a plaque that would tell the time.

They also invented giant water clocks, which rang every fifteen minutes.


The Mechanical Clock

  The difficulty in inventing a mechanical clock was to figure out a way in which a wheel no bigger than a room could turn at the same speed as the Earth, but still be turning more or less continuously. If this could be accomplished, then the wheel became a mini-Earth and could tell the time. For, after all, the time is nothing more nor less than how far the Earth has turned today.

  Accomplishing this mechanical feat was one of the greatest steps forward of the human race. Where would we be today without clocks? The mechanical clock was invented in China in the eighth century A6. But still in 1271, Robertus Anglicus in his commentary on the Sphere of Sacrobosco tells us that in Europe 'artificers are trying to make a wheel which will pass through one complete revolution for every one of the [Earth's], but they cannot quite perfect their work. If they could, it would be a really accurate clock, and worth more than any astrolabe or other astronomical instrument for reckoning the hours . . .'

  By 1310, this had finally been achieved in Europe. And the stimulus for it seems to have been some garbled accounts of Chinese mechanical clocks which came to the West by way of traders. This was the same century that brought to Europe the Chinese inventions of gunpowder, segmental arch bridges, cast iron, and printing.
  Apart from the fact that the Chinese are obviously an inventive people, what other factors can account for the fact that they were the first to invent mechanical clocks? Was there some special reason why they urgently needed to know the hours of the day and the days of the year with a precision not required in Europe? The answer is yes, but few could possibly imagine why.

  The Chinese emperor was a cosmic figure, the equivalent on Earth of the Pole Star. His every move was regulated in conjunction with astrology. His heir was not necessarily his eldest son. Many examples in Chinese history exist of fourth sons, or other lesser offspring, being selected as the next emperor. How, then, was it determined who should be the heir? Part of the process of selection involved the astrological computation of the moment of the child's conception (since in China horoscopes commence at the estimated time of conception rather than at birth). And the moments when conception might take place were carefully set aside for the highest-ranking wives and concubines of the emperor to sleep with him. Access to the emperor's person had to be precisely timed in order for this to work properly. From the Record of Institutions of the Chou Dynasty compiled about the second century Bc, we find the following asto- nishing passage about the emperor's sex life:

  1. http://library.advanced.org/23062/frameset.html
  2. http://library.thinkquest.org/23062/frameset.html
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  A model of the 'Cosmic Engine', Su Sung's great astronomical clock of 1092. The framework has been left uncovered to reveal the mechanisms. The original clock tower was 30 feet high. At the top is the power-driven armillary sphere for observing the positions of the stars. In the original, this was bronze, and the power for turning it was transmitted by a chain- drive. Mid-right (B) may be seen a celestial globe which was inside the tower and turned in synchronization with the sphere above. The central element in the reconstruction (D) is the water-wheel escapement, which, though turned by water power, was a mechanical escapement. This was a mechanical clock rather than a water clock, even though its power came from failing water or mercury. (Science Museum, London.)

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-1-29 07:13 PM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 20:21:01 |Display all floors
Blast Furnace

The first blast furnace was water powered.

  1. http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=inventors&cdn=money&tm=3&f=00&tt=14&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.crystalinks.com/chinainventions.html
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Piston bellows:
The piston bellows (a device to blast air into furnaces) that were prevalent at the time appeared during the Ming Dynasty, which was a great improvement from the wood fans in the Song and Yuan dynasties, and greatly enhanced the blasting facilities for metal melting.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-9 06:30 PM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 20:22:03 |Display all floors
Abacus


The Chinese invented the first object for counting, called an abacus, during the Song Dynasty

An abacus is a row of beads on a metal rod that is used for calculations. This was invented by the Chinese sometime in the second century B.C.

With this instrument the Chinese could easily add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Brilliantly simple in design, this instrument makes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division remarkably fast.

Few Chinese are so skilled that they can figure out a difficult math problem on an abacus faster that a person using a calculator! The abacus was an early form of a calculator.

  1. http://www.internet-at-work.com/hos_mcgrane/china/eg_china_3a.html
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For more information on Chinese Counting Boards see:
  1. http://www.saxakali.com/COLOR_ASP/developm.htm#Chinese%20Counting%20Boards
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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-6 11:15 PM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 20:24:29 |Display all floors
Acupuncture

The Chinese used a method of medicine called acupuncture.

Acupuncture has a long history. In ancient books, the tool for acupuncture was recorded as being made of stone. Such tool appeared between 4,000 to 8,000 years ago, which was the later part of the clan society, according to archeological excavation.

In China, the practice of acupuncture can perhaps be traced as far back as the 1st millennium BC, and archeological evidence has been identified with the period of the Han dynasty (from 202 BC to 220 AD). The practice spread centuries ago into many parts of Asia; in modern times it is a component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and forms of it are also described in the literature of traditional Korean medicine where it is called chimsul. It is also important in Kampo, the traditional medicine system of Japan.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-8 07:36 AM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 20:26:50 |Display all floors
Planetarium

They produced the first planetarium, which was actually made by an emperor.

The planetarium was a big enclosed place with stars and constellations on the inside. The person using the planetarium would sit in a chair that was hanging from the top of the enclosed dome.

By 2300 BC, ancient Chinese astrologers, already had sophisticated observatory buildings, and as early as 2650 BC, Li Shu was writing about astronomy. Observing total solar eclipses was a major element of forecasting the future health and successes of the Emperor, and astrologers were left with the onerous task of trying to anticipate when these events might occur. Failure to get the prediction right, in at least one recorded case in 2300 BC resulted in the beheading of two astrologers. Because the pattern of total solar eclipses is erratic in any specific geographic location, many astrologers no doubt lost their heads. By about 20 BC, surviving documents show that Chinese astrologers understood what caused eclipses, and by 8 BC some predictions of total solar eclipse were made using the 135-month recurrence period. By AD 206 Chinese astrologers could predict solar eclipses by analyzing the Moon's motion.

Ancient Chinese astronomy was primarily a government activity. It was the astronomer's role to keep track of the solar, lunar, and planetary motions as well as divine what astronomical phenomena may mean for the ruling emperor. Solar eclipses, infrequent and dramatic, were important enough to be recorded in chronicles and on "oracle" bones. Below are a few translated eclipse records found in the documents of ancient China from various dynasties. In general, the translations give the Roman calendar dating of the event, the Chinese dating, and the observation. Following in parentheses is the record in which the observation is noted. More translated records can be found in the references given below. Unless otherwise noted, the translations below can be found in the book Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation by F. Richard Stephenson.

"Oracle" bones are pieces of animal bones and tortoise shells inscribed with astronomical observations, that were probably used for divinations. Oracle bones hail from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600 - 1050 BC) and make many references to solar eclipses. The eclipse records are often incomplete, however, and the dating of the bones is not reliable.

  1. http://www.crystalinks.com/china_astronomy.html
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To the ancient Chinese, solar eclipses meant that dragons were devouring the sun:

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-1-29 06:10 PM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 20:29:56 |Display all floors
Anesthetic

In the 3rd century, they a found a wine that acted like anesthetic.

  1. http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=inventors&cdn=money&tm=3&f=00&tt=14&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.crystalinks.com/chinainventions.html
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