Shen Kuo

Chinese scientist and statesman (1031-1095)

Shen Kuo (or Shen Gua Chinese: 沈括; pinyin: Shěn Kuò; Wade–Giles: Shen K'uo; 1031–1095) was a Chinese scientist and politician. He lived during the Song Dynasty. He was a polymath, being good at many fields of study.

Modern artist's impression of Shen Kuo

Many of his most important works came from his use of astronomy. In 1088, Shen was the first to describe the magnetic needle compass, which would be used for navigation. He was also one of the first to suggest that the Earth goes through gradual climate change. His hobbies consisted of music, painting, calligraphy, and philosophy.