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Zhang Heng

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EastHanSeismograph.JPG
Replica of Zhang Heng's seismograph

Zhang Heng (張衡) (AD 78–AD 139), also spelled as Chang Heng, was an astronomer, mathematician, inventor, artist and literary scholar in the Eastern Han Dynasty of China.

Born in what is now Nanyang County Henan, he was an accomplished writer at age 12. At age 16, he left home to pursue his study in the capital cities. He spent at least 10 years of his youth in literature studies and writing. He published several well recognized literary writings. He switched to astronomy after age 30. He became a government official at age 38. He took on several positions since then (including 郎中, 太史令, 尚書). When he was a government minister, he cleaned up some corruption in the local government.

In the year 123 he corrected the Chinese calendar to bring it inline with the seasons.

In 132, Zhang invented the first seismograph, called "Houfeng Didong Yi" ("instrument for inquiring into the wind and the shaking of the earth"), for measuring earthquakes. In June 2005, Chinese seismologists announced that they created a replica of the instrument. [1] (http://english.people.com.cn/200506/13/eng20050613_189957.html)

Zhang Heng theorized that the universe was like an egg with the stars on the shell and the earth as the yolk. He was the first person in China to construct a rotating celestial globe. He also invented the odometer.

In one of his publications lng xin (《靈憲》 a summary of astronomical theories at the time), he approximated pi as 730/232 (or approx 3.1466). In one of his formulae for spherical volume calculation, he also used pi as the square root of 10 (or approx 3.162).de:Zhang Heng es:Zhang Heng fr:Zhang Heng nl:Zhang Heng sl:Čang Heng zh:張衡

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