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Zhang Heng (Chang Heng) (78–139) poet, scientist, mathematician. Encyclopedia of World Writers, Beginnings To 20th Century

Zhang Heng was born in Henan (Honan), China.
He was sent to the capital, Loyang, to receive his
education in Confucian philosophy. Zhang Heng
showed an early aptitude for literary pursuits and
achieved fame for his poetry in his 20s. His work
To Live in Seclusion is considered a masterpiece of
the late Han dynasty, and his poem “Rhapsody on
contemplating the Mystery” is a good example of
fu, rhapsodic poetry.
While most educated young men in China at
the time sought to obtain government posts,
Zhang Heng spent many years learning mathematics
and astronomy instead. His accomplishments
in these fields are extremely noteworthy and rival
his literary fame. He was able to create an accurate
chart of the stars, which assisted in keeping the imperial
calendar accurate. He also invented a rudimentary
flying machine, which was able to leave
the ground, though only for a few moments. In
132, he invented the first seismograph, which
traced the direction of earthquakes and their seismic
waves. The device could detect shocks from
earthquakes across China days before the reports
filtered in from the site of the earthquake.
It was only later in his life that Zhang Heng held
a series of important government positions in the
capital and outlying regions, beginning in 116 and
continuing until his death. He is remembered for
his literary talents, his abilities in mathematics, and
his strong moral code.
Works about Zhang Heng
Hughes, E. R. Two Chinese Poets: Vignettes on Han
Life and Thought. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood
Press, 1977.
Tong, Xiao, ed.Wen xuan, or Selections of Refined Literature:
Volume Three: Rhapsodies on Natural Phenomena,
Birds and Animals, Aspirations and
Feelings, Sorrowful Laments, Literature,Music, and
Passions. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University
Press, 1996.

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