We explain to you what the Scientific Revolution was, when it happened, what were its main contributions and the leading scientists.
What was the Scientific Revolution?
It is known as the Scientific Revolution to the drastic change in the model of thought that took place between the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in the West, during the early Modern Age. Forever transformed medieval visions about nature and life. I laid the foundations for the emergence of science as we understand it today.
The Scientific Revolution was born in Europe at the end of the Renaissance. It was the result of new ideas in terms of physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry, and with them the change in the philosophical paradigm that produced the social and intellectual movement known as Illustration n.
The exact dates of the appearance of this phenomenon are debatable, but generally the year 1543 is taken as its starting point, when the peak work of Nicol s Copanic was published. From revolutionibus orbium coelestium ( About the movements of the celestial orbs ).
Similarly, its end was traditionally signaled in the year 1632, when Galileo Galilei published its Dialogue sopra i due massimi system of the Tolemaic, and Copernican mondo (Dialogues about the two maximum systems of the world: the tolemaico and the copernicano ), or with the publication of the Principles of Isaac Newton in 1687.
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Background of the Scientific Revolution
In order for the Scientific Revolution to take place, it was necessary to overcome the obscurantism of the medieval era, during which faith and religion ruled the thinking of the West with an iron hand. The first step was when the classical legacy of antiquity was recovered, especially from Greco-Roman culture. To this was added the contribution of medieval Islamic science .
This also required the appearance of the printing press in the fifteenth century, which allowed to massify and democratize knowledge. In addition, the bourgeoisie emerged as a new social class that transformed the world. This class of merchants, of plebeian origin but important material possessions, managed to abolish the feudal order.
As it gained power, the bourgeoisie forced the aristocracy to make its rules more flexible, and weakened the fierce grip of the Church on culture. However, many of the thinkers of the Scientific Revolution suffered the persecution of the Catholic Inquisition, as is the famous case of Galileo, who was forced to publicly retract his revolutionary ideas.
On the other hand, the thought of the Greek philosopher Aristotle was in force at the beginning of the Scientific Revolution. Aristotelian influence was one of the most difficult to break, especially its conception of the cosmos as a space in which the Earth occupied the central place.
Thanks to the contributions of Eudoxo de Cnido and Claudio Ptolomeo, a new vision of the cosmos could be developed in the work of Nicolás Copernicus, thus giving rise to the heliocentric model and a new era of thought.
Protagonists of the Scientific Revolution
The main names of the Scientific Revolution were:
- Nicol s Copanic (1473-1543). Jurist, mathematician, physicist and Catholic Catholic polish, devoted much of his life to astronomy, and reformulated in his own way the theory Helioc Central Solar System, initially formulated by Aristarchus of Samos. With the publication of his work on the movement of the stars began the Scientific Revolution, contravening centuries of repetition of the Aristotelian geocentric model.
- Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Astronomer, physicist, physicist, mathematician and Italian engineer, he is the great example of the Renaissance man, dedicated equally to the arts and sciences. He was an important astronomical observer, for which he also improved the manufacture of telescopes, and is famous for his decisive support for the Copernican formulation of the Solar System. He is considered the father of modern physics.
- Isaac Newton (1643-1727). Physicist, theologian, philosopher, alchemist, inventor and English mathematician, author of the first great treatise of modern physics, his Philosophia naturalis principia mathematica or mathematical principles of natural philosophy, a work that revolutionized the physical understanding of the world and laid the foundations for the emergence of this science. Even its principles on movement, its thermodynamic laws and its formulations regarding optics and infinitesimal calculation are put into practice.
- Tycho Brahe (1546-1601). Danish astronomer, considered the largest observer of the sky before the invention of the telescope and founder of the first center of astronomical studies, Uraniborg. His work allowed to consolidate the astronomical study systematically and not by occasional observations.
- Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). German astronomer and mathematician, famous for his laws on the movement of the celestial stars in his orbit around the Sun, was a close collaborator of Tycho Brahe and one of the fundamental names of modern astronomy.
- Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Famous English philosopher, politician, lawyer and writer, considered the father of philosophical and scientific empiricism, since in his work De dignitate et augmentis scientiarumn ( Of the dignification and progress of science), described and laid the foundations for the construction of the experimental scientific method. He is one of the great pioneers of modern thought and the first essayists in England.
- Ren Descartes (1596-1650). French philosopher, mathematician and physicist, father of modern philosophy, of analytical geometry, and of the greatest contributors to the Scientific Revolution Effective It is his cogito ergo sum principle (I think, then I exist), which would be essential in the rise of rationalism, faith in reason and not in divine will. His most famous work is the Discourse on Method (1637), where he clearly broke with the traditional scholastic of the Middle Ages.
- Robert Boyle (1627-1691). Natural philosopher, Christian theologian, chemist, physicist and inventor of English origin, famous for his formulation of Boyle's Law, one of the principles that govern the behavior of gases. He is considered the first modern chemist in history, and his work The Sceptical Chymist ( The Skeptic Chemist ) is a fundamental work in the history of this discipline.
- William Gilbert (1544-1603). English natural and medical philosopher, pioneer in the study of magnetism, as evidenced by his work De Magnete (1600), England's first physics book. He was one of the pioneers in the study of electricity from electrostatics, and a reliable opponent of the scholastic method and Aristotelian theories at the Universities of the moment.
Consequences of the Scientific Revolution
The Scientific Revolution meant an important cut with the medieval tradition that, first and foremost, demonstrated the human ability to apply the intellect to the understanding of the world . It allowed the birth of rationalism and modern thought, which displaced medieval faith as the ruling principle of human life and society.
But perhaps the greatest consequence was the formal birth of science, framed in the scientific method and rationalist empiricism. This implies a radical transformation of the world of ideas, allowing the reappearance of knowledge that until a century ago was part of Islamic alchemy and heretical knowledge.
Contributions of the Scientific Revolution
The contemporary world would have been impossible without the Scientific Revolution. Among his main contributions to the understanding we have today of the universe, are:
- The heliocentric model of the Solar System . Through the calculation and observation of the sky with increasingly refined telescopes, the first astronomers showed that Earth is not the center of the universe around which the Sun, but the Sun is the center of the Solar System and around it the planets revolve, including the Earth. This knowledge broke with the religious cosmolytic order that prevailed during the Middle Ages, and that came from the same Arististteles.
- Atomism support above the Aristotelian theory of matter . Arist teles thought, in antiquity, that matter was a continuous form and that it was constituted by four elements: air, fire, water and earth, in different proportions. This idea prevailed during the Middle Ages, despite the fact that Democritus, another ancient philosopher, had already formulated the atomic theory. The latter was, during the Scientific Revolution, rescued and improved.
- Advances in the human anatomy and discard of Galen's theories . For more than a thousand years the studies of the ancient Galen governed medical knowledge in the West, until the Scientific Revolution arrived. New experiments, dissections and studies applying the scientific method and with new measuring instruments, allowed the best understanding of the human body and laid the foundations for modern medicine.
- Separation of the chemistry of alchemy . Chemistry is formally born during this period, thanks to the first students of the subject such as Tycho Brahe, Paracelsus and Robert Boyle, among others.
- Development of optics . The optics was a huge advance of the Scientific Revolution, which resulted not only in better knowledge of the behavior of light, but in better inputs for scientific research, such as telescopes and microscopes, which allowed the observation of distant stars and microscopic particles.
- First experiments with electricity . William Gilbert was one of the first to devote himself to the experimentation and recording of electrical principles, inventing even the Latin word electricus, derived from elektron ( mbar in Greek). Thus he discovered the electrical properties of many different materials, such as sulfur, wax or glass, and made enormous advances in electricity and magnetism, which founded entire fields of study of the f Physical
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