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...)
Luminiferous aether or ether ("luminiferous", meaning "light-bearing") was the postulated medium for the propagation of light. It was invoked to explain the ability of the apparently wave-based light to propagate through empty space (a vacuum), something that waves should not be able to do. The assumption of a spatial plenum of luminiferous aether, rather than a spatial vacuum, provided the theoretical medium that was required by wave theories of light.The aether hypothesis was the topic of considerable debate throughout its history, as it required the existence of an invisible and infinite material with no interaction with physical objects. As the nature of light was explored, especially in the 19th century, the physical qualities required of an aether became increasingly contradictory. By the late 1800s, the existence of the aether was being questioned, although there was no physical theory to replace it. ( Full article...)
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In this detail from an early 14th century copy of Euclid's Elements, a woman is shown teaching geometry. It is a detail of a scene in the bowl of the letter 'P'; the woman, with a set-square and dividers, uses a compass to measure distances on a diagram. In her left hand she holds a square, an implement for testing or drawing right angles. She is watched by a group of students. In images from the Middle Ages, it is unusual to see women represented as teachers, in particular when the students appear to be monks. She may be the personification of Geometry.
... that the Merton Thesis—an argument connecting Protestant pietism with the rise of experimental science—dates back to Robert K. Merton's 1938 doctoral dissertation, which launched the historical sociology of science?
...that a number of scientific disciplines, such as computer science and seismology, emerged because of military funding?
...that the principle of conservation of energy was formulated independently by at least 12 individuals between 1830 and 1850?
Charles Babbage KH FRS ( /ˈbæbɪdʒ/; 26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage originated the concept of a digital programmable computer.Babbage is considered by some to be " father of the computer". Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer, the Difference Engine, that eventually led to more complex electronic designs, though all the essential ideas of modern computers are to be found in Babbage's Analytical Engine, programmed using a principle openly borrowed from the Jacquard loom. Babbage had a broad range of interests in addition to his work on computers covered in his book Economy of Manufactures and Machinery. His varied work in other fields has led him to be described as "pre-eminent" among the many polymaths of his century. ( Full article...)
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al-Idrisi's 1154 Tabula Rogeriana, upside-down, north at top (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)Modern copy of
Plato and Aristotle. The School of Athens (1509). (from History of science in early cultures)
al-Biruni's explanation of the phases of the moon (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)
Savery Engine was the first successful steam engine (from Scientific Revolution)The 1698
Hippocrates, known as the "Father of Modern Medicine" (from Science in classical antiquity)The physician
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
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)
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
Vesalius's intricately detailed drawings of human dissections in Fabrica helped to overturn the medical theories of Galen. (from Scientific Revolution)
Ahmad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir's treatise on mechanical devices, c. 850 (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)Self trimming lamp in
Isaac Newton in a 1702 portrait by Godfrey Kneller (from Scientific Revolution)
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)
Abbasid Caliphate, 750–1261 (and later in Egypt) at its height, c. 850 (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)The
George Trebizond's Latin translation of Ptolemy's Almagest (c. 1451) (from Science in classical antiquity)
Mesopotamian clay tablet-letter from 2400 BC, Louvre. (from King of Lagash, found at Girsu) (from History of science in early cultures)
Isaac Newton's Principia, developed the first set of unified scientific laws. (from Scientific Revolution)
Academy of Sciences was established in 1666. (from Scientific Revolution)The French
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
metallurgy, as evidenced by the wrought iron Pillar of Delhi. (from History of science in early cultures)Ancient India was an early leader in
Antikythera mechanism, an analog astronomical calculator (from Science in classical antiquity)Diagram of the
Hunayn ibn Ishaq, c. 1200 (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)The eye according to
al-Khwarizmi's Algebra (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)A page from
The Sceptical Chymist, a foundational text of chemistry, written by Robert Boyle in 1661 (from Scientific Revolution)Title page from
Napier's Bones, an early calculating device invented by John Napier (from Scientific Revolution)An ivory set of
Francis Bacon was a pivotal figure in establishing the scientific method of investigation. Portrait by Frans Pourbus the Younger (1617). (from Scientific Revolution)
Quince, cypress, and sumac trees, in Zakariya al-Qazwini's 13th century Wonders of Creation (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)
Galileo Galilei by Leoni (from Scientific Revolution)Portrait of
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
Matteo Ricci (left) and Xu Guangqi (right) in Athanasius Kircher, La Chine ... Illustrée, Amsterdam, 1670. (from Scientific Revolution)
William Gilbert's De Magnete, a pioneering work of experimental science (from Scientific Revolution)Diagram from
Apollonius wrote a comprehensive study of conic sections in the Conics. (from Science in classical antiquity)
Mansur's Anatomy, c. 1450 (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)A coloured illustration from
first World Map of Piri Reis (1513) (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)Surviving fragment of the
Otto von Guericke's experiments on electrostatics, published 1672 (from Scientific Revolution)
Ibn Sina teaching the use of drugs. 15th-century Great Canon of Avicenna (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
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)
Ptolemaic model of the spheres for Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Georg von Peuerbach, Theoricae novae planetarum, 1474. (from Scientific Revolution)
Al-Jahiz. Ninth century (from Science in the medieval Islamic world)Page from the Kitāb al-Hayawān (Book of Animals) by
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