W. Schroeder (Ed.): Vom Wunderzeichen zum Naturobjekt

Fallstudie zum Polarlicht vom 17. Maerz 1716

Changes in the Interpretation of the Aurora of  March 17, 1716

"This Book in the series "Contributions to the History of Geophysics and Cosmic Physics" includes an Introduction by the editor in German and in English on the situation of the natural sciences, and especially of the theories of celestial phenomena (meteors, comets, halos, auroras) in the 16th and 17th centuries. Special emphasis is given to the lack of observations in wartime, especially during and after the Thirty Years War. Christian Wolff, a professor at the Halle University, brought the change from a heavenly menacing sign to a natural phenomenon into connection with his activity and published lecture. This publication is reprinted together with two contemporaneous other discussions by Ch Kirch and Ch Langhasen. The aim of these public lectures was to smooth the general public after the unprecedented strong aurora in 1716. Naturally, no correct explanation could be given, as the underlying physics was unknown,nevertheless, these scientiests and especially Wolff tried and suceeded to smooth the excited population which was afraid of possible following desasters. This event is considered by the editor as a turning point in the relation of scientists against similar celestial phenomena."

J. Vero, Acta Geod. Geoph. Hung. 36, 2001

Bremen: Science Edition 2001 100 p., US$ 20

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