15-inch Refracting Telescope

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Introduction

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge, of rational activity and the practical arts. Athena is thus the goddess of science, presiding over both the knowledge we seek from science and the practical arts we employ in our search for that knowledge. Scientific instruments may well be considered Athena’s heirs, as they embody both scientific knowledge and the practical skills required to design, make and use them.

Scientific knowledge, more than other kinds, is characterized by rapid change. There always seems to be a new theory or a new application that makes the old one obsolete. As science moves on, older scientific instruments are left behind to collect dust in storerooms or are dismantled for their parts. They are often seen as just more useless junk, but this is far from true. Because scientific instruments were there, witnessing science as it happened, they tell us stories about how we have come to understand the world as we do. They tell us about how scientific knowledge is passed from teacher to student, about how new scientific knowledge is made, and about how science is used to solve everyday problems

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