1400 East Prospect Street
Seattle, WA 98112
Astronomy in ancient China was very different from what we know of astronomy in the ancient west. We have no idea how Ptolemy of Alexandria (author of the Almagest) earned a living, but many of those who worked on astronomy in China had salaried jobs with the imperial government. That enabled them to amass years of records of observations of eclipses, comets, Novae (unparalleled in other cultures and still useful to modern astrophysicists), and motivated them to devise ever more precise schemes for predicting the motions of the celestial bodies. In this talk, Professor Christopher Cullen, Needham Research Institute, will look at the work of ancient Chinese sky-watchers in the broad context of society and culture that shaped their practice.