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

Su Song

Reference work entry

Alternate Name

 Su Sung

BornTong'an, (Fujian), China, 1020

DiedRunzhou (Zhenjiang, Jiangsu), China, 1101

Su Song was a Chinese astronomer and pharmacologist in the Northern Song dynasty. His public name was Zirong. In 1042, Su Song passed the imperial examinations for government service. In 1086, he was ordered to investigate existing armillary spheres. He examined them and discussed armillary spheres with Han Gonglian, who had made a model of a water-driven armillary sphere. In 1087, Su Song started a project to make a new water-driven armillary sphere with Han Gonglian and others. After making a small model in 1088 and presenting a large model in 1089, Su Song completed the water-driven armillary sphere cum celestial globe called Shuiyun yixiang tai (tower of water-driven instrument) in 1092. He also composed the Xin yixiang fayao (Outline of the method for a new instrument), which is a detailed monograph on this instrument.

The invention of the armillary sphere and celestial globe...

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Selected References

  1. Bo Shuren and Cai Jingfeng (1992). “Su Song.” In Zhongguo gudai kexue jia zhuanji (Biographies of scientists in ancient China), edited by Du Shiran. Vol. 1, pp. 480–496. Beijing: Kexue chubanshe (Science Publishers).Google Scholar
  2. Hua Tongxu (1991). Zhongguo louke (Chinese water clocks). Hefei: Anhui kexue jishu chubanshe (Science and Technology Publishing House of Anhui). (For the development of water clocks in China.)Google Scholar
  3. Li Zhichao (1997). Shuiyun yixiang zhi (History of water-driven instruments), Zhongguo kexue jishu daxue chubanshe. Hefei: University of Science and Technology of China Press. (Includes a study of the instrument of Su Song containing the full text of Xin yixiang fayao.)Google Scholar
  4. Liu Xianzhou (1962). Zhongguo jixie gongcheng faming shi (History of mechanical engineering in China). Beijing Kexue chubanshe (Science Publishing House). (Pioneering work on the history of mechanical engineering in China, in which the contribution of Su Song is also discussed.)Google Scholar
  5. Needham, Joseph, with the collaboration of Wang Ling (1959). Science and Civilisation in China. Vol. 3, Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (For Chinese astronomy in general, including the contribution of Su Song.)Google Scholar
  6. Needham, Joseph, Wang Ling, and Derek J. Price (1960). Heavenly Clockwork. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2nd ed. 1989. (A detailed study of the instrument of Su Song.)Google Scholar
  7. Ruan Yuan (1764–1846) (1799). Chouren zhuan (Biographies of astronomers). Reprint, Taipei: Shijie shuju. (See Vol. 20 for some classical accounts of Su Song.)Google Scholar
  8. Su Song. Xin yixiang fayao. (A relatively popular reprint is the Shoushange series edition [1844 AD] included in the Guoxue jiben congshu series [1968] and also the Renren wenku series [1969] reprinted by Taiwan Commercial Press.)Google Scholar
  9. Tuotuo (1314–1355 AD) et al (eds.) (1345 AD). Song shi (History of the Song dynasty.) (See Vol. 340 for the official biography of Su Song.)Google Scholar
  10. Wang Zhenduo (1989). Keji kaogu luncong (Papers in technical archaeology, in Chinese). Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe (Cultural Relics Publishing House).Google Scholar
  11. Yamada Keiji and Tsuchiya Hideo (1997). Fukugen Suiun gishō dai (Reconstruction of the tower of water-driven instrument). Tokyo: Shinyōsha. (A detailed study of the instrument of Su Song written in Japanese.)Google Scholar
  12. Yan Zhongqi and Su Kefu (1993). Su Song nianpu (Chronological biography of Su Song). Changchun: Beifang funü ertong chubanshe.Google Scholar
  13. Yi Shitong (1998). “Su Song.” In Zhongguo kexue jishu shi, Renwu juan (A History of science and technology in China, Biographical Volume), edited by Jin Qiupeng, pp. 329–338. Beijing: Kexue chubanshe (Science Publishers).Google Scholar
  14. Zeng Zhao. “Su Sikong muzhiming” (Epitaph presented to Sikong Su). In Qufu ji. Vol. 3. Included in the Wenyuange edition of Siku quanshu (The four treasuries of traditional literature compiled in the late 18th century.) (Reprint, Taiwan Commercial Press, 1983–1986. Vol. 1101, pp. 380–385).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

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