Greg interviews David Luekens, an expert on Thai islands (who writes the awesome Thai Island Times newsletter) and a passionate student of Thai history. In this focus on Thai history, David discusses the famous case of King Rama IV, King Mongkut, and his prediction of an eclipse. To set the stage, David gives some detail about Siam in the 1800s – closed to Western science, with most of their conceptions of nature and the world coming from Buddhist mythology.
However, as a young man, King Mongkut developed an affinity for the science of astronomy and realized that Buddhist mythology did not match empirical science. Once he became King, he made a detailed prediction of the time of an eclipse to prove to Thai people that it wasn’t magical, but instead natural and predictable. However, noted astrologers of the day disagreed, and the stage was set – which method of science would prove to be correct?
As we’ll see, the waves from this minor event spread far and wide, with King Mongkut’s role as the Father of Thai Science being secured for the history books. Listen in for many more fascinating details of one of the most consequential of the Thai Kings.
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