The scientific revolution
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The Scientific Revolution. Do Now:. What is a REVOLUTION? What are the elements of a REVOLUTION?. What is so revolutionary about the Scientific Revolution?. a new way of understanding the earth, human body, the heavens a new way of “doing science” - scientific method

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The Scientific Revolution

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The Scientific Revolution


Do Now:

  • What is a REVOLUTION?

  • What are the elements of a REVOLUTION?


What is so revolutionary about the Scientific Revolution?

  • a new way of understanding the earth, human body, the heavens

  • a new way of “doing science” - scientific method

  • change in what it means to be an elite (top of the heirarchy)


A New Way of Knowing…

  • epistemology - study of how we know things

  • there is a revolution in this…

    • reason over tradition

    • scientific method /

      empirical observation

    • end of “great chain of being”

      - that is, end of the heirarchy between the heavens and earth


Causes of the Scientific Revolution

  • Medieval Intellectual Life and Medieval Universities

  • The Italian Renaissance

  • Renewed emphasis on mathematics

  • Renaissance system of patronage

  • Navigational problems of long sea voyages

  • Better scientific instruments


Scientific “Revolutionaries”

Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)

Sun-centered (heliocentric) universe vs. earth-centered (geocentric)

Challenged circular orbits

Universe of staggering size

Earth no different than any other planet

On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543)


Scientific “Revolutionaries”

Tycho Brahe

(1546-1601)

Most sophisticated observatory of his day

Discovered & named the Supernova

Wanted to prove Copernicus wrong, his measurements led Kepler to prove the heliocentric theory correct


Scientific “Revolutionaries”

Galileo Galilei

(1564-1642)

Early pioneer of the experimental method in Florence, Italy

Develops practical inventions (ex: efficient water pump)

Becomes celebrity professor in Italy, becomes a Renaissance courtier (“Renaissance Man”)

His discoveries using the telescope (craters on the moon)


Scientific “Revolutionaries”

Galileo Galilei

(1564-1642)

Challenges Catholic monopoly on education - does not intend to attack the Church - sees science and theology as different things

“God has given men their senses, and they are obliged to use them.”

Publishes work in the vernacular - makes science popular (new class of literate elite)


Scientific “Revolutionaries”

Galileo Galilei

(1564-1642)

Other contributions…

Law of inertia

Challenges categories of “form” and “matter”

Condemned by Catholic Church in 1633, spent the rest of his life in house arrest.

People turn to science for truth and stability. The Church represents violence and contradiction.


Scientific “Revolutionaries”

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

Student of Brahe, friend of Galileo’s

Planetary motion conforms to mathematical formula

Elliptical orbits

Planets do not move at uniform speeds in their orbits


Scientific “Revolutionaries”

Francis Bacon

(1561-1626)

English courtier

The Inductive Method: analyze data, then develop theories

Emphasis on practical, useful knowledge

New attitude toward nature


Scientific “Revolutionaries”

Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

Significance of Doubt

Deductive method: work from abstract to data

Spatial relationships can be expressed in mathematical formulas

Father of “analytical geometry”


The Scientific Method

A set of techniques for acquiring new knowledge about the natural world based on observable, measurable evidence.


  • Rise of the “Scientific Community”

  • Laws discovered by human reason

  • “De-Spiritualized”and de-mystified the Universe

  • A universe ordered according to natural laws

  • The modern scientific method

Consequences of the Scientific Revolution


DO NOW

Historians like to assign dates to specific time periods, but these dates are always up for debate.

Do you believe the “Scientific Revolution” is over?

Why or why not? Are there examples from our time you can think of?


In your opinion, which scientist made the greatest accomplishment?

Explain your answer.


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