The Scientific Revolution

The Scientific Revolution was a series of events, fueled by the natural curiosity of humans (//Humanism//), that led to the birth of modern science. The //Renaissance// was the major cause of the Scientific Revolution. During this time period, people began to question the way the world worked and began to think for themselves instead of accepting how things were. When people thought for themselves, they began to make new discoveries. As trade began to expand solutions to navigation problems began to be solved. In order to solve these problems they needed to do scientific research, which sparked new discoveries.

Aristotle and Plato, Ancient Greece (CC)
Background - Looking into the Classical Era

In ancient times, before religion took hold of Europe, there were scientists and great thinkers. Many of these people came from ancient Greece or Rome, such as Ptolemy and Aristotle. They were some of the first to write about topics such as astronomy, geography, and logic. People were using logic and rationality. After Rome fell, however, during the Middle Ages, people forgot all these things. The only thing they believed in was their religion, and they would do anything for that religion. Muslims in Asia and Africa, though, were able to preserve the ideas of these great Greek and Roman thinkers. They translated them and then added their own ideas to them--to learn more about muslim thinkers, see this link. As the Europeans came out of their Dark Age, they began to learn from the muslims when trade and conflict brought Europeans and Arabs together. As they read and learned, their own view of the world became more rational and expanded their view of the world. As humanism spread throughout Europe, more people began to devote themselves to science, and not so much to religion. People believed in the power of a human. And this led them to explore the world around them. It sparked their curiosity, and started the Scientific Revolution.

The Perfect Mix
Before the Scientific Revolution, there was a lack of technology, and most people in Europe had never left their hometown, let alone explored the rest of the world, and focused only on survival. But as Europe came out of the Dark Ages, the rulers gained power and wealth from the Church. The people began to lose faith in religion and instead began to explore the world around them. New technologies were being created, and more information was being discovered. Education developed, people could learn to read and write by themselves and the printing press made books much cheaper and available to a wider audience. When the time came, the government provided money, supplies and education for explorers.

Now that all this was happening, people were able to devote themselves to the world around them. The kings and queens would give people supplies to explore and claim new worlds for them. Also, the people had the education to be able to survive out in the world by themselves. They had the technology to go to far away lands, and they had the need to know attitude about the unknown. Together, education, government, technology, and science created the perfect mix for the Scientific Revolution and exploration.

Some great thinkers of the time include Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton, and Nicolaus Copernicus. Galileo Galilei discovered that moons orbit Jupiter and was the first scientist to repeatedly use experiments to test his theories. Sir Isaac Newton discovered the laws of motion. Nicolaus Copernicus discovered that the Earth orbits around the sun.
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Galileo Galilei (CC )

GALILEO -1564-1642. In 1609, he invented the telescope from two lenses and a lead pipe. He proved Copernicus's theory of a heliocentric universe correct (for this he faced large objection from the Church and was put on house arrest). He also found that the Milky Way was not a light in the sky but a cloud made of many nebulas and stars. He was the first person to create laws about inertia and gravity. When studying the sky, he was the first to discover sunspots and he also discovered many stars. However, he did study other sciences, like math, medicine, and poetry, and for some reason objected a lot of Aristotle's theories.

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Isaac Newton (CC)

NEWTON - 1643-1727. He was a British mathematician and physician. Newton invented calculus, three laws of motion, and the law of gravity.He was the one who came up with the Binomial Theorem which was part of a leap in math and science, letting more calculations be done than before. His achievements led to helping other scientists like Einstein be able to make theories of Relativity and Nuclear Fission.

Nicolaus Copernicus (CC)

COPERNICUS - 1473-1543. He was a Polish astronomer and mathematician. He was the one who came up with the //heliocentric universe theory//, that the Earth was not the center of the Universe (as the Church claimed), but it was the Sun that was the center. He was also a translator, artist, physician, and scholar.

More on Key Figures of the Scientific Revolution.

Galileo invented the thermometer in 1593, a device used to measure temperature. There are two types of thermometers: mercury and digital. They can be used to check for fevers if you are sick or to find meat temperatures when cooking.
Another invention by Galileo is the telescope, invented in 1609. The telescope was and still is used to make discoveries in astronomy, by making it possible for us to see farther into space than ever before. In 1590, the microscope was invented by two Dutch lens makers, Zacharias and Hans Janssen (father and son), and was later enhanced by Galileo. It was first used to study small plants and animals. Now, we use them to study microscopic organisms that cannot be seen by the naked eye. The microscope was an important invention because it helped us make discoveries that can help cure diseases or solve environmental problems.

In 1563, Francis Bacon invented the barometer. The barometer measures changes in air pressure and is used to help forecast the weather.

The immense spread across Europe of the ideas of these great thinkers was greatly aided by the printing press. As their works sold, some were able to profit off of their publications.

Conclusion: Rome and Greece the idea of humanism was passed on to the Arabs. When the Europeans started to make contact with the Arabs, these ideas were brought back. Education, government, technology, and science made it possible for this time of major change, discovery and exploration. Many discoveries and inventions were made in this time period by great thinkers still impact the world today.

Extensively edited by Yardena and Sanchari, May 15, 2014
"Thinkers" and other areas edited and added to by Tara and Jing, May 2014
Re-Revised By Auryon May 14 2014
Revised by Bagatur May 16, 2011
Movie on Printing Press, made and created by Aryeh, May-June 7, 2012