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2017-10-06 Abstract
Title: Our Place in the Universe
 
Speaker: Prof. Sun Kwok 郭新 (The University of Hong Kong)
 
Time: 15:30pm 6th Oct. 2017 (Friday)
 
Vanue: R521, IoA, 2nd General Building 綜二館R521
 

Our Place in the Universe

 

Since the beginning of civilization, our ancestors have been careful observers of the heavens.  They knew that the Sun, the Moon and the stars have regular, repeating motions, but their patterns of motions are complicated.  By 500 B.C., ancient astronomers have found that the Earth was round, and understood the cause of the phases of the Moon.  Using simple measurements and mathematics, Greek astronomers could accurately determine the sizes of the Earth and Moon, and the distance to the Moon 2000 years ago.

The ancient Greeks created a sophisticated model of the cosmos which could predict the times and directions of sunrise and sunset on any day of the year, and at any place on Earth.  The model could account for the unequal lengths of the seasons and the precession of the equinox.  They could also predict the positions of planets hundreds of years into the future.  This system of cosmology was later integrated into the Christian theology that dominated European thinking for over 1000 years.  It was not until that 16th century that an obscure clergyman developed a new cosmological theory that destroyed the philosophical foundation of European system of church and state. The philosophical implications of the Copernican revolution will be discussed.

 

自文明開始以來,我們的祖先一直在仔細觀察天空。他們知道太陽,月亮和星星規律的運動,但他們的運動方式非常複雜。在公元五百年前,古代天文學家已知道地球是圓的,並且了解月相的原因。使用簡單的測量和數學,希臘天文學家已可2000年前準確地確定地球和月球的直徑及地與月球的距離。

古希臘人創造了一個複雜的宇宙模型,可以預測一年中任何一天,地球上任何地方的日出和日落時間和方向。他們也可以預測未來幾百年後行星的位置。這個宇宙模型後來被納入宗教體係,主導歐洲思想超過1000年。直到16世紀,一個無名的神職人員才提出一個摧毀了歐洲教會和君權哲學基礎的新宇宙論    
 

About the speaker

Prof. Kwok is the Director of the Laboratory for Space Research and Chair Professor of Space Science at the University of Hong Kong.  He previously served as HKU Dean of Science between 2006 and 2016, Director and Distinguished Research Fellow of the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.  He is the current President of the International Astronomical Union Commission on Astrobiology.  

Prof. Kwok is the author of many books, including The Origin and Evolution of Planetary Nebulae (Cambridge, 2000), Cosmic Butterflies (Cambridge, 2001), Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium (University Science Books, 2007), Organic Matter in the Universe (Wiley, 2011), and Stardust: the cosmic seeds of life (Springer, 2013).  His latest book Our Place in the Universe was published by Springer in 2017.

 

郭新教授是香港大學太空研究實驗室主仼現任國際天文聯合會太空生物學委員會主席。2006-2016年間為香港大學理學院院長。之前曾為加拿大卡加里大學物理及天文系教授、台灣中央研究院天文及天文物理研究所所長及特聘研究員。

 

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