June 23, 2010
Rebirthing the Info Renaissance weblog--here's a good Internet site on the European Renaissance with an Elizabethan emphasis
Our Information Renaissance weblog will start getting more attention in its own rebirth.
Meanwhile, here's a great site
on the European Renaissance with an Elizabethan emphasis, called
"Renaissance Sites and Elizabethan Resources."
It's the product of an entity called "Renaissance: The Elizabethan World."
We appreciate the content and the organization of their sites.
July 16, 2007
The Law of Unintended Consequences: Fall of Constantinople Gives Rise to the European Renaissance
I've been reading John Man's book
Gutenberg: How One Man Remade the World with Words
New York: MJF Books, 2002.
John Man says "29 May 1453 . . . was the birthday of the Renaissance" (Man, 2002, p. 231).
Here's John Man's hypothesis:Continue reading "The Law of Unintended Consequences: Fall of Constantinople Gives Rise to the European Renaissance"
May 04, 2007
Henri Poincaré--the Renaissance Man as French Scientist
So at the end of a hard academic term, my mind turns to someone I want to learn more about,
and to learn from--Henri Poincaré.
Here's a good introductory essay on him from the Wikipedia entry for Henri Poincaré where you get a sense of who he is and what he accomplished:
Jules Henri Poincaré (April 29, 1854 – July 17, 1912) (IPA: [pwɛ̃kaˈʀe]) was one of France's greatest mathematicians and theoretical physicists, and a philosopher of science. Poincaré is often described as a polymath, and in mathematics as 'The Last Universalist', since he excelled in all fields of the discipline as it existed during his lifetime.
As a mathematician and physicist, he made many original fundamental contributions to pure and applied mathematics, mathematical physics, and celestial mechanics. He was responsible for formulating the Poincaré conjecture, one of the most famous problems in mathematics. In his research on the three-body problem, Poincaré became the first person to discover a chaotic deterministic system which laid the foundations of modern chaos theory. He is considered to be one of the founders of the field of topology.
Poincaré introduced the modern principle of relativity and was the first to present the Lorentz transformations in their modern symmetrical form.
Here's an interesting account on his contributions and fields:
April 10, 2007
How to Work Like Leonardo da Vinci
There's a good book by Michael J. Gelb
called How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci.
I've linked to the author's home page above and here for your convenience.
Yet before I linked to Gelb's page, I wrote my headline above.
You'll see why as I extend the entry with a passage from one of my reporter's notebooks
that I carried during my term as a Visiting Fellow (Professor) at Harris Manchester College,
University of Oxford in 2005.
December 02, 2006
Renaissance Music: A Point of Departure
Even in busy periods,
there is time to punctuate
the skating equilibrium of time
with a quick blog entry.
Here's a reference to
Wikipedia's entry on Renaissance Music
as a point of departure for understanding the European renaissance
through hearing its music,
which still exists,
lots of it,
and a pleasure to explore.
Scholars will enjoy with ironic laughter
the Wikipedia author's confession
of the difficulty of definition,
especially those from the Center for Information and Communication Sciences,
where they have to struggle
with theoretical definition
of dynamic phenomena
on a regular basis:
Renaissance music is European classical music written during the Renaissance, approximately 1400 to 1600. Defining the beginning of the era is difficult, given the lack of abrupt shifts in musical thinking during the 15th century. Additionally, the process by which music acquired "Renaissance" characteristics was a gradual one, but 1400 is used here.
Yet having confessed the difficulties of definition,
the Wikipedia author does hypothesize
a general definition as we see above.
Then it gets interesting. Look at this:Continue reading "Renaissance Music: A Point of Departure"
November 02, 2006
Some good books for a course on the Information Renaissance
I have been working on the design of a course I'm calling
"Leadership for the Information Renaissance."
This course will be essentially comparative cultural studies
with a leadership and management emphasis,
noting the impact of information and communication technologies
as a catalyst for social change.
This course will develop a double perspective—the first objectives will be
to familiarize the learner with the era of the European renaissance
and its similarities and differences
with the current era of the information renaissance.
The second set of objectives is as important as the first:
to discourse on what leaders in the information renaissance need to know and to do—
a sort of contemporary Book of the Courtier, together by us as a course community,
taking the place of the original author Baldesar Castiglione—
a discourse on leadership attributes appropriate for our time.
The information outcome of the course for the learners will be a research report,
with historical sections on the European renaissance,
forecasts for “a history of the future” for our time and the coming generation,
and a practical guide--a type of management handbook--
for information renaissance leaders.
We’ll also use the capability of the Internet to build a group weblog like the successful
Information Renaissance weblog at Ball State University.
Below is a list of books that can be used for course readings:Continue reading "Some good books for a course on the Information Renaissance"
October 16, 2006
Remarkable USA opportunity to see Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise"
New York Times reports today that
"One of Florence’s Renaissance Prizes to Go on U.S. Tour."
This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see several panels of Lorenzo Ghiberti's famous doors
from the Baptistery church in the main plaza in Florence.
I saw the door's modern reproductions installed there in the summer of 2005.
Now, in USA, in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York, we can see original panels in our own
art museums. After the panels tour here, New York Times reports
they will not travel again out of Italy.
Here is their lead, the first few paragraphs:
The early-Renaissance sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti spent 27 years creating the monumental gilded bronze doors for the eastern portal of the Baptistery in the Piazza del Duomo in Florence. And it has taken teams of conservators just about as long to restore them. [. . . a project that has taken 26 years so far.]
Their 10 panels depict scenes from the Old Testament, intricately illustrated in high and low relief. When the three-ton, 20-foot-tall doors were completed, in 1452, Michelangelo pronounced them grand enough to adorn the entrance to paradise, and so they became known as “The Gates of Paradise.”
They have for centuries been considered one of the masterpieces of Western art.
Now three of the newly restored panels are scheduled to tour North America for the first time, traveling to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in April, and then to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Or maybe all three.
May 10, 2006
"Renaissance" and "Reformation": Contemporary historians use of these terms
Here is a thoughtful and informative discussion of the terms "Renaissance" and "Reformation"
from an excellent set of essays, Handbook of European History, 1400-1600,
edited by Thomas A. Brady Jr., et al. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996).
I have reproduced some of their significant explanations and arguments as found in their book.
I have retained their paragraph structure, signaled by indented paragraph beginnings.
However, for emphasis and clarity in their complex argumentation, I have sometimes broken
their paragraphs by a full line of space.
In such cases, their text continues flush left, to show it is not an original paragraph break.
Intermediate page references should make it possible
for researchers to find the original quotations in their authors' contexts.
Here is the discussion by Thomas A. Brady Jr. and others:
"THE RENAISSANCE" AND "THE REFORMATION": TWO CLASSIC CONCEPTSContinue reading ""Renaissance" and "Reformation": Contemporary historians use of these terms"
The pivotal role in European history of the two centuries between 1400 and 1600
has sometimes been questioned but rarely denied. Since the middle of the nineteenth century,
two terms--"the Renaissance" and "the Reformation"--have commonly been employed to express
the historians' sense of this role.
Each term can claim roots in an era it helped to organize.
Although "the Renaissance" is a nineteenth-century coinage,
the notion behind it descends from the fourteenth century. . . .
Rather older than "the Renaissance,"
"the Reformation" has long expressed the sense of momentous change
that shrouded the religous schism of the sixteenth century. . . .
By the mid-nineteenth century, "the Renaissance" and "the Reformation" became categories
of periodization, designating not just events or series of events but great turning points
in history. (Brady Jr. et al., 1996, p. xiii)