- Special Sections
- Public Notices
In the 1937 movie, “Shall We Dance,” Ira Gershwin penned a song, “They All Laughed,” ridiculing the people who ridiculed the “great men of history.”
The lyrics included — “They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round. They all laughed when Edison recorded sound. They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother when they said that man could fly. They told Marconi that wireless was a phony. It’s the same old cry.”
Gershwin certainly knew music, but he didn’t know squat about history.
In the third century BC (more than 2,200 years ago), the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes (often referred to as the “Father of Geography”) used shadows to calculate the circumference of the Earth. Even with such crude methods, his calculations were nonetheless fairly accurate.
Depending on which version of the Greek unit of length “stadion” he used, his measurement was anywhere from 1.5 percent to 16 percent off the true circumference.
Not bad for someone born more than 1,700 years before Columbus.
Despite Eratosthenes’ achievement, I remember being taught in school that Columbus “proved that the Earth was round.”
If you currently subscribe or have subscribed in the past to the Los Alamos Monitor, then simply find your account number on your mailing label and enter it below.
Click the question mark below to see where your account ID appears on your mailing label.
If you are new to the award winning Los Alamos Monitor and wish to get a subscription or simply gain access to our online content then please enter your ZIP code below and continue to setup your account.