The history of science covers the development of science from ancient times to the present. It encompasses all three major branches of science: natural, social, and formal.
Science's earliest roots can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia around 3000 to 1200 BCE. These civilizations' contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine influenced later Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, wherein formal attempts were made to provide explanations of events in the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Latin-speaking Western Europe during the early centuries (400 to 1000 CE) of the Middle Ages, but continued to thrive in the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire. Aided by translations of Greek texts, the Hellenistic worldview was preserved and absorbed into the Arabic-speaking Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age. The recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived the learning of natural philosophy in the West.
Natural philosophy was transformed during the Scientific Revolution in 16th- to 17th-century Europe, as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The New Science that emerged was more mechanistic in its worldview, more integrated with mathematics, and more reliable and open as its knowledge was based on a newly defined scientific method. More "revolutions" in subsequent centuries soon followed. The chemical revolution of the 18th century, for instance, introduced new quantitative methods and measurements for chemistry. In the 19th century, new perspectives regarding the conservation of energy, age of Earth, and evolution came into focus. And in the 20th century, new discoveries in genetics and physics laid the foundations for new subdisciplines such as molecular biology and particle physics. Moreover, industrial and military concerns as well as the increasing complexity of new research endeavors ushered in the era of " big science," particularly after the Second World War. ( Full article...)
The history of paleontology traces the history of the effort to understand the history of life on Earth by studying the fossil record left behind by living organisms. Since it is concerned with understanding living organisms of the past, paleontology can be considered to be a field of biology, but its historical development has been closely tied to geology and the effort to understand the history of Earth itself.In ancient times, Xenophanes (570–480 BC), Herodotus (484–425 BC), Eratosthenes (276–194 BC), and Strabo (64 BC–24 AD) wrote about fossils of marine organisms, indicating that land was once under water. The ancient Chinese considered them to be dragon bones and documented them as such. During the Middle Ages, fossils were discussed by Persian naturalist Ibn Sina (known as Avicenna in Europe) in The Book of Healing (1027), which proposed a theory of petrifying fluids that Albert of Saxony would elaborate on in the 14th century. The Chinese naturalist Shen Kuo (1031–1095) would propose a theory of climate change based on evidence from petrified bamboo. ( Full article...)
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In this set of drawings from 1616, Galileo Galilei recorded the uneven curve of the Sun's light along the lunar surface, indicating variations in elevation. Galileo's telescope observations of the Moon and other heavenly bodies helped to convince 17th century scholars to abandon the notion of the heavens as perfect and unchanging. Before the rise of telescopic observations, the Moon was still considered by some Jesuit astronomers to be flat, with the visible spots caused by variations in density or optical phenomena. Galileo had planned a more extensive program of observations and illustrations, finding little resistance to a rough Moon, made no further lunar drawings after these.
...that the word scientist was coined in 1833 by philosopher and historian of science William Whewell?
...that biogeography has its roots in investigations of the story of Noah's Ark?
...that the idea of the " Scientific Revolution" dates only to 1939, with the work of Alexandre Koyré?
Arthur Holly Compton (September 10, 1892 – March 15, 1962) was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927 for his 1923 discovery of the Compton effect, which demonstrated the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation. It was a sensational discovery at the time: the wave nature of light had been well-demonstrated, but the idea that light had both wave and particle properties was not easily accepted. He is also known for his leadership over the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago during the Manhattan Project, and served as chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis from 1945 to 1953.In 1919, Compton was awarded one of the first two National Research Council Fellowships that allowed students to study abroad. He chose to go to the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory in England, where he studied the scattering and absorption of gamma rays. Further research along these lines led to the discovery of the Compton effect. He used X-rays to investigate ferromagnetism, concluding that it was a result of the alignment of electron spins, and studied cosmic rays, discovering that they were made up principally of positively charged particles. ( Full article...)
List of selected biographies
Academy of Sciences was established in 1666. (from Scientific Revolution)The French
Mesopotamian clay tablet-letter from 2400 BC, Louvre. (from King of Lagash, found at Girsu) (from Science in the ancient world)
Hunayn ibn Ishaq, c. 1200 (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)The eye according to
Plato and Aristotle. The School of Athens (1509). (from Science in the ancient world)
Royal Society had its origins in Gresham College in the City of London, and was the first scientific society in the world. (from Scientific Revolution)The
Ahmad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir's treatise on mechanical devices, c. 850 (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)Self trimming lamp in
classical elements (fire, air, water, earth) of Empedocles illustrated with a burning log. The log releases all four elements as it is destroyed. (from Science in classical antiquity)The four
The Sceptical Chymist, a foundational text of chemistry, written by Robert Boyle in 1661 (from Scientific Revolution)Title page from
Savery Engine was the first successful steam engine (from Scientific Revolution)The 1698
George Trebizond's Latin translation of Ptolemy's Almagest (c. 1451) (from Science in classical antiquity)
Mansur's Anatomy, c. 1450 (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)A coloured illustration from
Hippocrates, known as the "Father of Modern Medicine" (from Science in classical antiquity)The physician
Omar Khayyam's "Cubic equation and intersection of conic sections" (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)
Newton's Opticks or a treatise of the reflections, refractions, inflections and colours of light (from Scientific Revolution)
Isaac Newton in a 1702 portrait by Godfrey Kneller (from Scientific Revolution)
Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), (965–1039 Iraq). A polymath, considered to be the father of modern scientific methodology due to his emphasis on experimental data and on the reproducibility of its results. (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)
mosaic depicting Plato's Academy, from the Villa of T. Siminius Stephanus in Pompeii (1st century AD). (from Science in classical antiquity)A
first World Map of Piri Reis (1513) (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)Surviving fragment of the
veins from William Harvey's Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus. Harvey demonstrated that blood circulated around the body, rather than being created in the liver. (from Scientific Revolution)Image of
Scholar Nersi with Anahita in Persia. (from Science in the ancient world)
metallurgy, as evidenced by the wrought iron Pillar of Delhi. (from Science in the ancient world)Ancient India was an early leader in
Vesalius's intricately detailed drawings of human dissections in Fabrica helped to overturn the medical theories of Galen. (from Scientific Revolution)
al-Idrisi's 1154 Tabula Rogeriana, upside-down, north at top (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)Modern copy of
Air pump built by Robert Boyle. Many new instruments were devised in this period, which greatly aided in the expansion of scientific knowledge. (from Scientific Revolution)
al-Khwarizmi's Algebra (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)A page from
Al-Jahiz. Ninth century (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)Page from the Kitāb al-Hayawān (Book of Animals) by
al-Biruni's explanation of the phases of the moon (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)
Napier's Bones, an early calculating device invented by John Napier (from Scientific Revolution)An ivory set of
Galileo Galilei by Leoni (from Scientific Revolution)Portrait of
Tusi couple, a mathematical device invented by the Persian polymath Nasir al-Din Tusi to model the not perfectly circular motions of the planets (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)The
William Gilbert's De Magnete, a pioneering work of experimental science (from Scientific Revolution)Diagram from
Quince, cypress, and sumac trees, in Zakariya al-Qazwini's 13th century Wonders of Creation (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)
Abbasid Caliphate, 750–1261 (and later in Egypt) at its height, c. 850 (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)The
Ibn Sina teaching the use of drugs. 15th-century Great Canon of Avicenna (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)
Matteo Ricci (left) and Xu Guangqi (right) in Athanasius Kircher, La Chine ... Illustrée, Amsterdam, 1670. (from Scientific Revolution)
Otto von Guericke's experiments on electrostatics, published 1672 (from Scientific Revolution)
Francis Bacon was a pivotal figure in establishing the scientific method of investigation. Portrait by Frans Pourbus the Younger (1617). (from Scientific Revolution)
Apollonius wrote a comprehensive study of conic sections in the Conics. (from Science in classical antiquity)
Egyptian practice of treating Migraine in ancient Egypt. (from Science in the ancient world)An
Antikythera mechanism, an analog astronomical calculator (from Science in classical antiquity)Diagram of the
Isaac Newton's Principia, developed the first set of unified scientific laws. (from Scientific Revolution)
Ptolemaic model of the spheres for Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Georg von Peuerbach, Theoricae novae planetarum, 1474. (from Scientific Revolution)
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