Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Sima Qian

  • Thomas Hockey
Reference work entry

Alternate Names

 Ssu-ma Ch’ien;  Zichang

BornLongmen (now Hancheng, Shaanxi Province), China, circa 145–135 BCE

DiedChina, circa 90 BCE

Sima Qian was a Chinese historian and astronomer in the Western (Former) Han Dynasty who helped devise a calendar in which a 13 lunar month occurred as needed, rather than always at the end of the solar year.

Selected References

  1. Cullen, Christopher, “Motivations for Scientific Change in Ancient China: Emperor Wu and the Grand Inception Astronomical Reforms of 104 B.C.,” Journal for the History of Astronomy, 24(3), 1993, 185–203.ADSMathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Needham, Joseph (with the collaboration of Wang Ling): Science and Civilisation in China, volume 3, Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959).Google Scholar
  3. Sivin, N. “Cosmos and computation in early Chinese mathematical astronomy,” T’oung Pao, 55, 1969, 1–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Watson, Burton, Ssu-ma Ch’ien: Grand Historian of China (New York: Columbia University Press, 1958).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth ScienceUniversity of Northern IowaCedar FallsUSA