"과학문화교육"

2012-05-25 (Vol 9, No 5)

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과학문화교육의 연구와 저술

Why Mei Wending so Successful?

- A SNA Study on the Chouren in Early Qing -

Abstract

Qing Dynasty, during which the astronomical observation, calendar making and mathematics had made remarkable achievements, can be divided into three periods according to the attitude the scholars hold at that time. These periods are: the early Qing(1644-1735), the middle Qing(1735-1840) and the late Qing(1840-1911). We usually call those people “Chouren” who make research in the astronomical observation, calendar making and mathematics.
The most representative Chouren in early Qing is Mei Wending, who was once called “The most famous master in the area of calendar making and mathematics”. The previous study about him focused on his achievements, influence and his thoughts. Here, I try to put him into the network made of all Chouren in the early Qing, and hope to find out why he became so famous though the social network analysis method (SNA).
This paper try to make the achievements below: First, I tried to solve an archaeological problem though a sociological way. The Chouren and the relationship between then can be seen as some kind of network, and the relational data is obtained. In this way, both archaeological and sociological method and means and be used.
Second, software was used when the data collected. It is still a literature method, but much faster and more convenient. Then the relational data would be input into an SNA software (UCINET was used here) and computed. After that, the quantitative analysis could be made and we might get a quantitative result instead of the qualitative one.
Last, all kinds of relationships would be divided into three senior ones such as the relationship of masters & disciples, friends & exchanges and guide & support. We can find out the exact structure of Chouren network, the feature and position of any actor in the network, and how the information and resources communicated and flowed in the network. And at last, we can find out why Mei Wending be the “most famous one” after we compared the quantitative results with the others.
Interdisciplinary means involving the traditional method of archaeology and new achievements of other courses, provides us a brand-new view of solving problems and we can get some significant results. And that is the original intention of this paper.
The Qing Dynasty is a very important period of time to the development of astronomical observation, calendar making and mathematics, which was influenced by the Western neoteric astronomy and mathematics. Meanwhile the local scholars tried to uncover the traditional mathematics and revive it. Considering the influence of the western scholarship and the goals the local scholars wanted to obtain, we divide this period into three parts: the early Qing(1644-1735), when the western knowledge continuingly entering China; the middle Qing(1735-1840), during which the connection with western missionaries wan cut off, and the local scholars turn to the idea: “western knowledge but China origin”, they praised highly the traditional mathematics, tried to combine the west and the tradition; and the late Qing(1840-1911), when the western knowledge entered China again, and the traditional astronomical observation, calendar making and mathematics started to modernize themselves, and finally made some progression by the end of the Qing Dynasty. Because of removing the ban of not allowing people to teach and learn the astronomical observation and the calendar making, there have been more scholars and achievements than any other dynasty. Famous scholars had sprung up all three periods, but Mei Wending was the most famous one which was called “the most famous specialist on calendar making and mathematics”. The earlier studies on Mei Wending merely focused on his achievements, his thought and his influence. Here, the author try to explain how Mei Wending become into the most famous one, by analyzing the social network in the early Qing, using the Social Network Analysis (SNA) method.

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Feng.pdf

Feng Yaohui
University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui

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