Dr. Eric Pyle to Lecture at the Virginia Junior Academy of Science Annual Meeting


George W. Jeffers Memorial Lecture

VJAS Annual Meeting at JMU
May 21, 2015
7:00-8:30 PM

Pyle Picture

Dr. Eric Pyle
James Madison University
An Age for Measurement: STEM Prior to the Industrial Revolution

The Age of Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th Centuries provided a framework of thinking that led to modern science as we understand it today.  This new capacity for reason allowed Western Civilization to measure the physical world and the heavens with greater precision than had been known in all of human history before.  But measuring the heavens led people to measure the Earth in ways that resolved both practical questions of borders between peoples but opened up new questions on the structure of the Earth.  This focus on precision in measurement made possible the reproducible machinery of the Industrial Revolution.  Appearing as a Surveyor in Colonial Virginia, Dr. Eric J. Pyle of the JMU Department of Geology & Environmental Science will share how a measuring the Mason-Dixon line depended on a 6-foot tall telescope and a fir rod, why lodestones were worth their weight in silver, and how determining the mass of the Earth relied on a really good clock.  These stories share how solid science could be conducted under extraordinary circumstances and how important field-based science is to science as a whole.

Published: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Last Updated: Friday, July 21, 2017

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