Publications

2003
Applications of Number Theory in Cryptography
Lerner KL. Applications of Number Theory in Cryptography. Government Information Quarterly. Elsevier, 2005. Draft Copy. Originally: Lerner, K. Lee and BW Lerner, Applications of Number Theory in Cryptography. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security, Thomson Gale,. 2003.Abstract

Cryptography is a division of applied mathematics concerned with developing schemes and formula to enhance the privacy of communications through the use of codes. Cryptography allows its users, whether governments, military, businesses or individuals, to maintain privacy and confidentiality in their communications. The goal of every cryptographic scheme is to be crack proof (i.e., only able to be decoded and understood by authorized recipients). Cryptography is also a means to ensure the integrity and preservation of data from tampering. Modern cryptographic systems rely on functions associated with advanced mathematics, including a specialized branch of mathematics termed number theory that explores the properties of numbers and the relationships between numbers.  (more)

Lee Lerner
Lerner KL. Weapons of Mass Destruction: Detection Methods. Government Information Quarterly. Elsevier, 2005. (online) Draft Copy. Originally: Lerner, K. Lee and BW Lerner. Weapons of Mass Destruction: Detection Methods. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security, Thomson Gale,. 2003.Abstract

Weapons of mass destruction (WMD), nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons are commonly detected by monitoring an array of activities common to their development and testing. Lack of access to weapons production facilities, which in the context of both state level and terrorist activities, offer special testing challenges and create the need for  sophisticated monitoring protocols as well as the capacity to detect weapons without access to suspect sites, while in transit, and/or while in component pre-assembly phases of development. WMD detection techniques and devices span and array of technologies. In the early 2000s, detection technology included devices like the Handheld Advanced Nucleic Acid Analyzer (HANAA) and techniques ranging from standard forensic laboratory testing to Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Mass Spectroscopy (MALDI-MS). Autonomous Pathogen Detection System (APDS) and other deployable devices allowed rapid identification of biologic agents while portable devices were available that could identify chemicals in a vapor within minutes under challenging conditions. The genetic detection of biological agents is increasingly exquisite. Gene probe sensors can detect and identify bacteria based upon the presence of a stretch of genetic material that is unique to the microorganism. (more)

Lee Lerner
L GILMAN, Lerner KL. Weapon-Grade Plutonium and Uranium Tracking. 2003.Abstract

 

Weapon-grade (or "bomb-grade") uranium or plutonium is any alloy or oxide compound that contains enough of certain isotopes of these elements to serve as the active ingredient in a nuclear weapon. Some civilian weapon-grade materials are tracked by international organizations, especially the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), to prevent diversion to bombs. The goal is to prevent nuclear proliferation, that is, the possession of nuclear weapons by unauthorized nations and/or groups. 

Those states that already had nuclear weapons at the time of the treaty's creation—the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China—are not subject to IAEA safeguards. Only four states—Cuba, India, Israel, and Pakistan—have not signed the NPT and are not part of any international safeguard system. Of these four, India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and Israel is widely assumed to have a nuclear weapons. 

The IAEA tracks weapon-grade materials (or, in the case of plutonium, dilute materials that could be refined to weapons grade) in non-military nuclear fuel cycles in states that are signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968. 

EURATOM safeguards civil plutonium and uranium in the European countries, including materials not covered by mandatory IAEA safeguards under the NPT (i.e., those in the UK and France). The IAEA and EURATOM cooperatively safeguard European materials to avoid redundancy. 

Military nuclear materials are tracked only by the governments that own them. Because the tracking techniques employed internally by nuclear- weapons states vary from nation to nation and are always partly or wholly secret. (more)

Soviet Union (USSR): Intelligence, Security, and the KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti or Committee of State Security)
Ioffe A, Lerner KL. Soviet Union (USSR): Intelligence, Security, and the KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti or Committee of State Security). Government Information Quarterly. Elsevier, 2005. (online) DRAFT COPY. Originally: Lerner, K. Lee and B. Wilmoth Lerner. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security, Thomson Gale. 2003.Abstract

The KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti or Committee of State Security) was the preeminent Soviet intelligence agency and Soviet equivalent of the American CIA. 
During the later Soviet period, the KGB served as organization primarily responsible intelligence and counterintelligence matters. Although the NKVD was tasked with internal security, the KBG role in political security and counterintelligence was so broad that its operations often touched on internal security matters. Even Soviet border guards were eventually placed under KGB supervision. 

The head of the KGB enjoyed an important position in the totalitarian regime hierarchy. In 1967, Andropov, then head of KGB and later Soviet premier, described the role of the KGB and other state security bodes as engaged in "a bitter and stubborn battle on all fronts, economic, political, and ideological. 

The KGB and Western intelligence services played a continual deadly game of "cat and mouse" (both as pursuers and the pursued) throughout the Cold War. KGB officers and operatives played an important role in the attempt to overthrow the government of the first (and last) president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev and was essentially abolished or devolved into successor agencies after the failure of the anti-Gorbachev putsch and the collapse of the USSR in 1991. 

The KGB's culture continue to heavily influence Russian politics and policy. After the fall of the Soviet Union, former KGB officer Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, became President of the successor, Russian Federation.  Moreover, the following Russian Federation agencies were created from within the KGB: the Federal Security Service (FSB); the Federal Agency of Government Intercommunication, which is responsible for communications between top state officials; the Guard Service, which guards top state officials; and the Outer Intelligence Service, which collects and processes all data coming from abroad. 

Some of the bizarre disinformation created by the KGB and regurgitated anti-U.S. critics, still survives as urban myth or folk legend. For example, documents in the KGB archives now provide evidence that KGB operatives mounted a disinformation campaign laden with pseudo scientific "proofs" and language that was designed to influence third-world nations that the United States had deliberately created the AIDS virus in the laboratory to use as a biological weapon.  (more

[Author's note: in 2016 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, NSA, and DIA united in approving an Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) concluding that "Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, has a history of conducting covert influence campaigns focused on U.S. presidential elections" including the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign. The ICA conclusion -- based on evidence known by 29 December 2016 and offered with generally high confidence was that Russian hacking, along with propaganda and disinformation efforts (including the creation and dissemination of fake news), were undertaken with the direct knowledge and approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian officials.  Read more at https://www.academia.edu/30817272/_The_Bear_Gets_a_BOGO_The_ICA_on_Russian_Meddling_in_the_2016_U.S._Presidential_Election]

Iranian Nuclear and Missile Programs
Lerner KL. Iranian Nuclear and Missile Programs. Government Information Quarterly. Elsevier, 2005. (online) DRAFT COPY. Originally: Lerner, K. Lee and B. Wilmoth Lerner. Iranian Nuclear Program. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security, Thomson Gale. 2003.Abstract

Iran's first nuclear technology was obtained as a gift from the United States under the Atoms for Peace program begun by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. Although intended to produce a source of power for energy and non-military uses, the technologies required to produce nuclear power and nuclear weapons largely overlap. For decades, there has been speculation about whether Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. The building blocks are clearly in place, but intelligence agencies in the United States, France, Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom vary in their estimates about how long it could take Iran to put the pieces together to produce a nuclear weapon.  

Both peaceful and military uses require enrichment technology and procedures that extract and concentrate uranium-235 (235U), an isotope capable of sustaining a nuclear chain reaction, from raw uranium ore that contains mostly 99 percent uranium-238 (238U), an isotope incapable of sustaining the chain reaction needed to produce a nuclear explosion. The percentage of enrichment required for use in weapons is much higher than the levels needed to produce nuclear reactor fuel. 

The Atoms for Peace program eventually came to be seen as a mistake by the United States, which has sought to recover the nuclear fuel dispersed around the world by the program. It has not always been able to do so because of political change. 

By 1979, when the United States-backed dictator of Iran, the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (1919-1980), was overthrown by fundamentalist Islamist revolutionaries, Iran already had a sophisticated nuclear program. The existing technology was inherited by the new regime. 

Iran has consistently insisted that its nuclear facilities and activities are intended only for the peaceful production of nuclear energy. In 2002, however, Iranian dissidents publicized the existence of secret nuclear facilities they contended were part of secret Iranian program to produce nuclear weapons. The United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began inspections of Iran's facilities later that year. (more)

2001
Einstein's Theories of Relativity
Lerner KL. Einstein's Theories of Relativity. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale,. 2001.Abstract

At the dawn of the twentieth century the classical laws of physics put forth by Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) in the late seventeenth century stood venerated and triumphant. The laws described with great accuracy the phenomena of everyday existence. A key assumption of Newtonian laws was a reliance upon an absolute frame of reference for natural phenomena. As a consequence of this assumption, scientists searched for an elusive "ether" through which light waves could pass. In one grand and sweeping "theory of special relativity," Albert Einstein was able to account for the seemingly conflicting and counter-intuitive predictions stemming from work in electromagnetic radiation, experimental determinations of the constancy of the speed of light, length contraction, time dilation, and mass enlargements. A decade later, Einstein once again revolutionized concepts of space and time with the publication of his "general theory of relativity." (more)

Lerner KL. Einstein's Theories of RelativityLerner, K. Lee. The Emergence of the Calculus. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale, 2001 . DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale,. 2001.Abstract

At the dawn of the twentieth century the classical laws of physics put forth by Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) in the late seventeenth century stood venerated and triumphant. The laws described with great accuracy the phenomena of everyday existence. A key assumption of Newtonian laws was a reliance upon an absolute frame of reference for natural phenomena. As a consequence of this assumption, scientists searched for an elusive "ether" through which light waves could pass. In one grand and sweeping "theory of special relativity," Albert Einstein was able to account for the seemingly conflicting and counter-intuitive predictions stemming from work in electromagnetic radiation, experimental determinations of the constancy of the speed of light, length contraction, time dilation, and mass enlargements. A decade later, Einstein once again revolutionized concepts of space and time with the publication of his "general theory of relativity." (more)

Lee Lerner
Lee LK. QED -Quantum electrodynamics. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale,. 2001.Abstract

Quantum electrodynamics (QED), is a scientific theory that is also known as the quantum theory of light. QED describes the quantum properties (properties that are conserved and that occur in discrete amounts called quanta) and mechanics associated with the interaction of light (i.e., electromagnetic radiation) with matter. The practical value of QED rests upon its ability, as set of equations, to allow calculations related to the absorption and emission of light by atoms and to allow scientists to make very accurate predictions regarding the result of the interactions between photons and charged atomic particles such as electrons. QED is a fundamentally important scientific theory because it accounts for all observed physical phenomena except those associated with aspects of relativity theory and radioactive decay. (more)

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Lerner KL. The Specialization of Mathematics and the Rise of Formalism. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale,. 2001.Abstract

Mathematics is the study of the relationships among, and operations performed on both tangible and abstract quantities. In its ancient origins, mathematics was concerned with magnitudes, geometries and other practical and measurable phenomena. During the 19th century, mathematics, and an increasing number of mathematicians, became enticed with relationships based on pure reason and upon the abstract ideas and deductions properly drawn from those relationships. In addition to advancing mathematical methods related to applications useful to science, engineering or economics (hence the term applied mathematics), the rise of the formalization of symbolic logic and abstract reasoning during the 19th century allowed mathematicians to develop the definitions, complex relations, and theorems of pure mathematics. Within both pure and applied mathematics, 19th century mathematicians took on increasingly specialized roles corresponding to the rapid compartmentalization and specialization of mathematics in general. more

Lee Lerner
Lerner KL. The Development of Quantum Mechanics. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale,. 2001;2001.Abstract

Quantum mechanics describes the relationships between energy and matter on the atomic and subatomic scale. At the beginning of the 20th century, German physicist Maxwell Planck proposed that atoms absorb or emit electromagnetic radiation in bundles of energy termed quanta. This quantum concept seemed counter-intuitive to well-established Newtonian physics. Advancements associated with quantum mechanics (e.g., the uncertainty principle) also had profound implications with regard to the philosophical scientific arguments regarding the limitations of human knowledge…. Later in the 1920s, the concept of quantization and its application to physical phenomena was further advanced by more mathematically complex models based on the work of the French physicist Louis Victor de Broglie and Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger that depicted the particle and wave nature of electrons. De Broglie showed that the electron was not merely a particle but a wave form. This proposal led Schrodinger to publish his wave equation in 1926. Schroödinger's work described electrons as "standing wave" surrounding the nucleus and his system of quantum mechanics is called wave mechanics. German physicist Max Bornand English physicist P.A.M Dirac made further advances in defining the subatomic particles (principally the electron) as a wave rather than as a particle and in reconciling portions of quantum theory with relativity theory. more

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Lerner KL. Lysenkoism: A Deadly Mix of Pseudoscience and Political Ideology. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale,. 2001.Abstract

The disastrous effects of Lysenkoism -- a term used to describe the impact of Trofim Denisovich Lysenko's influence upon science and agriculture in the Soviet Union during the first half of the 20th century -- darkly illustrates the perils of intruding politics and ideology into the affairs of science. 

Despite the near medieval conditions in which the majority of the population of Czarist Russia lived, the achievements of pre-Revolutionary Russia in science rivaled those of Europe and America. In fact, achievement in science had been one of the few avenues to the aristocracy open to the non-nobility. The Revolution had sought to maintain this tradition, and win over the leaders of Russian science. From outset new communist leaders Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky fought -- even in the midst of civil war and famine -- to make available considerable resources for scientific research.

In the political storms that ravaged the Soviet Union following the death of Lenin, the expulsion of Trotsky, and the rise of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Lysenko's pseudoscientific ideas that all organisms, given the proper conditions, have the capacity to be or do anything had certain attractive parallels with the social philosophies of Karl Marx (and the 20th century French philosopher Henri Bergson) that promoted the idea that man was largely a product of his own will. 

Beyond the absurdity and tragedy of rejecting of nearly a century of advancements in genetics, Stalin and Lysenko combined to exacerbate famine and other deprivations facing Soviet citizens. Moreover, the culture of Lysenkoism was another facet of  repression and persecution. Such was the fate of scientists who dared oppose Lysenko's Stalin-backed doctrines.

Enamored with the political acceptability and alleged scientific merit of Lysenko's ideas, Stalin took matters one step further by personally attacking modern genetics as counter-revolutionary or bourgeois science. While the rest of the scientific world could not conceive of understanding evolution without genetics, Stalin's Soviet Union used its political power to suppress rational scientific inquiry. Under Stalin, science was made to serve political ideology. (MORE)

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Lerner KL. Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale,. 2001.Abstract

In 1687 English physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) published a law of universal gravitation in his influential work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). In its simplest form, Newton's law of universal gravitation states that bodies with mass attract each other with a force that varies directly as the product of their masses and inversely as the square of the distance between them. This mathematically elegant law, however, offered a remarkably reasoned and profound insight into the mechanics of the natural world because revealed a cosmos bound together by the mutual gravitational attraction of its constituent particles. Moreover, along with Newton's laws of motion, the law of universal gravitation became the guiding model for the future development of physical law.

Newton's law of universal gravitation was derived from German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler's (1571-1630) laws of planetary motion, the concept of "action-at-a-distance," and Newton's own laws of motion. Building on Galileo's observations of falling bodies, Newton asserted that gravity is a universal property of all matter. Although the force of gravity can become infinitesimally small at increasing distances between bodies, all bodies of mass exert gravitational force on each other. Newton extrapolated that the force of gravity (later characterized by the gravitational field) extended to infinity and, in so doing, bound the universe together. more

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Lerner KL. The Cavendish Experiment and the Quest to Determine a Gravitational Constant. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale. 2001.Abstract

The determination of a precise value for the gravitational constant (G) proved a frustrating, but fruitful, exercise for scientists since the constant was first described by English physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) in his influential 1687 work, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). In many ways as enigmatic as mathematicians' search for a proof to Fermat's last theorem (proved only in the last decade of the twentieth century), the determination of an exact value of the gravitational constant has eluded physicists for more than 300 years. The quest for "G" provides a continuing challenge to the experimental ingenuity of physicists and often spurs new generations of physicists to recapture the inventiveness and delicacy of measurement first embodied in the elegant experiments conducted by English physicist Henry Cavendish (1731-1810).

In Principia Newton put forth a grand synthesis of theory regarding the physical universe. According to Newtonian theory, the universe was bound together by the mutual gravitational attraction of its constituent particles. With regard to gravity, Newton formulated that the gravitational attraction between two bodies was directly proportional to the masses, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the masses. Accordingly, if one doubled a mass, one would double the gravitational attraction; if one doubled the distance between masses, one would reduce the gravitational attraction to one-fourth of its former value. What was missing from Newton's formulation, however, was a value for a gravitational constant that would accurately translate these fundamental qualitative relationships into experimentally verifiable numbers. more

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Lerner KL. Enlightenment Age Advances in Dynamics and Celestial Mechanics. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale. 2001.Abstract

Using equations based on Newton's laws, 18th century mathematicians were able to develop the symbolism and formulae needed to advance the study of dynamics (the study of motion). An important consequence of these advancements allowed astronomers and mathematicians to more accurately and precisely calculate and describe the real and apparent motions of astronomical bodies (celestial mechanics) as well as to propose the dynamics related to the formation of the solar system. The refined analysis of celestial mechanics carried profound theological and philosophical ramifications in the Age of Enlightenment. Mathematicians and scientists, particularly those associated with French schools of mathematics, argued that if the small perturbations and anomalies in celestial motions could be completely explained by an improved understanding of celestial mechanics, i.e., that the solar system was really stable within defined limits, such a finding mooted the concept of a God required adjust the celestial mechanism. more

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Lerner KL. The Elaboration of the Calculus. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale. 2001.Abstract

Many of the most influential advances in mathematics during the 18th century involved the elaboration of the calculus, a branch of mathematical analysis which describes properties of functions (curves) associated with a limit process. Although the evolution of the techniques included in the calculus spanned the history of mathematics, calculus was formally developed during the last decades of the 17th century by English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) and, independently, by German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716). Although the logical underpinnings of calculus were hotly debated, the techniques of calculus were immediately applied to a variety of problems in physics, astronomy, and engineering. By the end of the 18th century, calculus had proved a powerful tool that allowed mathematicians and scientists to construct accurate mathematical models of physical phenomena ranging from orbital mechanics to particle dynamics.

Although it is clear that Newton made his discoveries regarding calculus years before Leibniz, most historians of mathematics assert that Leibniz independently developed the techniques, symbolism, and nomenclature reflected in his preemptory publications of the calculus in 1684 and 1686. The controversy regarding credit for the origin of calculus quickly became more than a simple dispute between mathematicians. Supporters of Newton and Leibniz often arguing along bitter and blatantly nationalistic lines and the feud itself had a profound influence on the subsequent development of calculus and other branches of mathematical analysis in England and in Continental Europe. more

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Lerner KL. The Emergence of the Calculus. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale. 2001.Abstract

The Calculus describes a set of powerful analytical techniques, including differentiation and integration, that utilize the concept of a limit in the mathematical description of the properties of functions, especially curves. The formal development of the calculus in the later half of the 17th century, primarily through the independent work of English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) and German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), was the crowning mathematical achievement of the Scientific Revolution. The subsequent advancement of the calculus profoundly influenced the course and scope of mathematical and scientific inquiry. 

Important mathematical developments that laid the foundation for the calculus of Newton and Leibniz can be traced back to mathematical techniques first advanced in Ancient Greece and Rome. In addition to existing methods to determine the tangent to a circle, the Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes (c.290-c.211B.C.), developed a technique to determine the tangent to a spiral, an important component of his water screw. 

The majority of other ancient fundamental advances ultimately related to the calculus were concerned with techniques that allowed the determination of areas under curves (principally the area and volume of curved shapes). In addition to their mathematical utility, these advancements both reflected and challenged prevailing philosophical notions regarding the concept of infinitely divisible time and space. Two centuries before the work of Archimedes, Greek philosopher and mathematician Zeno of Elea (c.495-c.430 B.C.) constructed a set of paradoxes that were fundamentally important in the development of mathematics, logic and scientific thought. Zeno's paradoxes reflected the idea that space and time could be infinitely subdivided into smaller and smaller portions and these paradoxes remained mathematically unsolvable in practical terms until the concepts of continuity and limits were introduced. more

** Evolution and Evolutionary Mechanisms Controlling Genetic Variation
Lerner KL. ** Evolution and Evolutionary Mechanisms Controlling Genetic Variation. Draft Copy. Part of a series of essays identifying and explaining theories essential to understanding modern scientific thought. Updated 2010, 2012. Originally Published,. 2001.Abstract

Evolution is the process of biological change over time. Such changes, especially at the genetic level are accomplished by a complex set of evolutionary mechanisms that act to increase or decrease genetic variation. 

Evolutionary theory is the cornerstone of modern biology, and unites all the fields of biology under one theoretical umbrella to explain the changes in any given gene pool of a population over time.  Biological evolutionary theory is compatible with nucelosynthesis (the evolution of the elements) and current cosmological theories in physics regarding the origin and evolution of the universe. 

There is no currently accepted scientific data that is incompatible with the general postulates of evolutionary theory, and the mechanisms of evolution. Moreover, there is an abundance of observational and experimental data to support the theory and its subtle variations… 

Evolution requires genetic variation, and these variations or changes (mutations) can be beneficial, neutral or deleterious. In general, there are two major types of evolutionary mechanisms, those that act to increase genetic variation, and mechanisms that operate to decrease genetic variation. 

Mechanisms that increase genetic variation include mutation, recombination and gene flow…. 

...In contrast to mechanisms that operate to increase genetic variation, there are fewer mechanisms that operate to decrease genetic variation. Mechanisms that decrease genetic variation include genetic drift and natural selection. (more).

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Lerner KL. Eratosthenes calculates the circumference of Earth. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale. 2001.Abstract

Of increasing importance in ancient and classical civilizations that had their territorial and cultural horizons consistently expanded by the march of armies and the alluring promise of wealth and trade, was the measurement of distance. Using elegant mathematical reasoning and limited empirical measurement, in approximately 240 B.C., Eratosthenes of Cyrene (now located in Libya) made an accurate measurement of the circumference of the Earth. In addition to providing evidence of scientific empiricism in the ancient world, this and other contributions to geodesy (the study of the shape and size of the Earth) spurred subsequent exploration and expansion. Ironically, centuries later the Greek mathematician and astronomer Claudius Ptolemy's erroneous rejection of Eratosthenes' mathematical calculations, along with other mathematical errors, resulted in the mathematical estimation of a smaller Earth that, however erroneous, made extended seagoing journeys and exploration seem more tactically achievable.

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Science in the Ancient and Classical Worlds 2000 B.C.- 699 A.D.
Lerner KL. Science in the Ancient and Classical Worlds 2000 B.C.- 699 A.D. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale. 2001.Abstract

Throughout the course of human history, science and society have advanced in a dynamic and mutual embrace. Regardless of scholarly contentions regarding an exact definition of science, the history of science in the ancient world is a record of the first tentative steps toward a systemization of knowledge concerning the natural world. During the period 2000 B.C. to 699 A.D., as society became increasingly centered around stabilizing agricultural communities and cites of trade, the development of science nurtured necessary practical technological innovations and, at the same time, spurred the first rational explanations of the vastness and complexity of the cosmos. 

The archaeological record provides abundant evidence that our most ancient ancestors' struggle for daily survival drove an instinctive need to fashion tools from which they could gain physical advantage beyond the strength of the relatively frail human body. Along with an innate curiosity into the workings and meanings of the celestial panorama that painted the night skies, this visceral quest for survival made more valuable the skills of systematic observation, technological innovation, and a practical understanding of one's surroundings. From these fundamental skills evolved the necessary intellectual tools to do scientific inquiry. 

Although the wandering civilizations that predated the earliest settlements were certainly not scientifically or mathematically sophisticated by contemporary standards, their efforts ultimately produced a substantial base of knowledge that was fashioned into the science and philosophy practiced in ancient Babylonia, Egypt, China, and India. 

While much of the detail regarding ancient life remains enigmatic, the long-established pattern of human history reveals a reoccurring principle wherein ideas evolve from earlier ideas. In the ancient world, the culmination of the intellectual advances of early man ultimately coalesced in the glorious civilizations of classical Greece and Rome. 

In these civilizations, the paths of development for science and society were clearly fused. Plato's attribution to Socrates of the saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living," expresses an early scientific philosophy that calls thinking people to examine, scrutinize, test, and make inquires of the world. This quest for knowledge and for reasoned rational thought provided a tangible base for the development of modern science and society. 
(more)

 
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Lerner KL. Astrology and Astronomy in the Ancient World. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale. 2001.Abstract

The first records of systematic astronomical or astrological observation and interpretation lie in the scattered remains of ancient Egyptian and Babylonian civilizations. The earliest evidence of the development of astronomy and astrology -- in the modern world distinctive representatives of science and pseudo-science -- establish that they share a common origin grounded in mankind's need and quest to understand the movements of the celestial sphere. Moreover, evidence suggests a early and strong desire to relate earthly everyday existence to the stars and to develop a cosmology (an understanding of the origin, structure and evolution of the universe) that bound intimately bound human society to a coherent and knowable universe.  (more)

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