Ancient Stained Glass Manufacturing

ancient-stained-glass

The manufacturing of stained glass is an ancient technology which dates back so far that the ancient Egyptians knew how to do it 2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Medieval Europe inherited this form of technology but did not invent it as is common belief. Deep, rich blue glass was very difficult to make and therefore needed to be imported from southern Italy. The deep blues which the Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France is so famous for can historically be traced through documentation to fragments coming from the Byzantine Empire as well as the Roman Empire. These imports were melted down and used to create new glass. Most colors and dyes came from the natural world in the forms of roots, berries, barks, leaves, minerals, and crushed insects, but the most prized colors were imported into Europe from the east, specifically India and China using Ottoman trade routes. The simple luck of geography made Venice, Italy an incredibly wealthy city as it acted as a nexus between the east and west. The blue hue referred to as “ultramarine” was the most expensive color to acquire and therefore it was almost always saved for depictions of the Virgin Mary, typically in her cloak or some other form of clothing, as Mary was depicted as the focal point of every painting she appeared within. Ultra Marine came from the mineral of lapis lazuli and when it was ground up into powder, some parts would inevitably become smaller than others which allowed these particles to reflect more light and provide a deeper, richer color to work with and appreciate. Vermillion Red was almost as precious as ultramarine, and has been used in Europe for hundreds of years in various illuminated manuscripts. Made from the mineral cinnabar, vermillion was adopted in places outside of Europe like meso-America for painting, India for bindi dots, and China to create lacquerware

Invention of the Kaleidoscope

kaleidoscope

The kaleidoscope was invented in 1816 by Sir David Brewster who was a Scottish mathematician and physicist noted for his various contributions to the field of optics. Brewster patented his invention in 1817 but thousands of unauthorized reproductions were constructed and sold, resulting in Brewster receiving little financial benefit from his invention. Brewster named the kaleidoscope as he did because of the Greek term “kalos” which means “beautiful”, “eidos” which means “form”, and “scopos” which means “watcher”

The Evolution of the Eye

eye

The eye has developed within the animal kingdom for one reason only; to detect the world around the observer. The first evolved eyes were simply an apparatus which had a light sensitive cell referred to as “rhodopsin”. Eventually as time progressed, eyes developed a spherical shape which allowed more light to be captured so that the difference between light and dark was more distinct. Following this, eyes evolved the ability to develop a pupil which acts as a biological aperture which can constrict and dilate letting either more or less light into the eye. This system works in theory but the real world application developed a problem in that when constricting the pupil to focus on an object being looked at, less light is let in which restricts vision. Nature eventually alleviated this issue by placing a lens behind the aperture of the pupil which allowed for precision detail, clarity, and focus. This system was so effective that evolution produced some form of it for nearly every animal and insect on Earth, some being more adept than others, but all using the same principal of light and focus to observe information around them

Dung Beetle Celestial Navigation

Milky-Way-Galaxy-navigation

Dung beetles use the Milky Way Galaxy to navigate. The dung beetle’s eyes are much too small and imprecise to see individual stars, however they are accurate enough to see the presence of the stars within the Milky Way Galaxy itself. Dung beetles have a particularly difficult time navigating in a straight line on cloudy or obstructed nights which is what initially lead scientists to the discovery of the dung beetle’s navigation methods. This find was the first time an animal or insect was discovered to navigate using primitive astronomy techniques

Invention of the Telescope

telescope

Hans Lippershey was a Dutch/German tradesperson who fashioned eye glasses for a living. Lippershey created and designed the first telescope, and then patented it in 1608. The first telescopes could only magnify objects 3x closer than the naked eye. The telescope turned out to be one of the most important inventions of the 15th century because Galileo Galilei built upon the original design to create the field of astronomy which lead to groundbreaking new discoveries about the solar system and Earths place within the cosmos