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Scientific Revolution. Scientific Revolution. Scientific Revolution, when did it take place?

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Scientific Revolution

Scientific Revolution, when did it take place?

No set date to indicate the start of the Scientific Revolution. Some historians the 12th and 13th centuries with the rediscovery of Aristotle by Europeans via the Islamic world. Others say it starts when Nicholas Copernicus challenges Ptolemy’s model of the universe.

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Scientific Revolution

Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)

-He based his helio-centric theory on Aristarchus of Samos (310-230 BCE).

-The helio-centric theory during the time of Copernicus was not accepted because it meant rejecting Aristotelian thought.

-His main work was On the Revolution of Celestial Orbs.

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Scientific Revolution

Scientific Revolution, Why and how did it begin?


The tables used to predict astronomical events were not accurate.


Spanish and Portuguese explorers to the Far east and America sailed off course and out of sight of land for days on end.

The only people who could help them were the astronomers.


The calendar created by Julius Caesar in 44 BCE was not accurate. The vernal equinox which was on the 21st had fallen to the 11th. Easter was based on when the vernal equinox fell. Therefore all religious holidays were based upon the timing of Easter

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Scientific Revolution

Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)

On the Revolution of Celestial Orbs

-Published, in the same year of his death, 1543.

-Dedicated to Pope Paul III and caused little controversy.

-It had an anonymous preface stating that it was only a mathematical hypothesis.

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Scientific Revolution

Religious reasons For and Against Copernicus Theory

What major social upheaval was taking place in the 16th century?


Protestants—accepted helio-centric theory quickly

Catholics—didn’t accept helio-centric as quickly.

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Scientific Revolution

Copernican Theory Versus Ptolemy’s Theory

Helio-centric Model Geo-Centric Model

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Scientific Revolution

Geocentric Model of the Universe

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Scientific Revolution

How did Copernicus’s Theory eventually dominate Ptolemy’s Theory?

He believed the sun not only symbolized but also contained God.

Arabic Numerals were adopted in Europe during the 12th and 13th century

Which one is easier to do?





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Mathematical Astronomy, monks and students began adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. All of these calculations had proven Ptolemy wrong.

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Scientific Revolution
  • Scientists Supporting Copernicus’s Theory

Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)

A proponent of Ptolemy’s Theory. He made so many mathematical calculations that they became the basis for Copernicus’s Theory.

Hear about his death and his nose here

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Scientific Revolution

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Scientific Revolution
  • Scientists Supporting Copernicus’s Theory

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

What brought about Galileo’s persecution?

Telescope Galileo made his first telescope in 1609, modeled after telescopes produced in other parts of Europe that could magnify objects three times. He created a telescope later that same year that could magnify objects twenty times. With this telescope, he was able to look at the moon, discover the four satellites of Jupiter, observe a supernova, verify the phases of Venus, and discover sunspots.

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Scientific Revolution
  • Scientists Supporting Copernicus’s Theory

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

He also believed that the sun represented the spiritual essence and presence of God. Some of his laws were found in his 1609 work Astronomia Nova

i) Planets orbited around the sun and remained in their orbital paths but revolve at different speeds.

ii) Planets move in elliptical orbits

iii) the speed of each planet’s revolution around the sun depends on its distance from the sun

Read more about Kepler here

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Scientific Revolution

Scientists Supporting Copernicus’s Theory

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

SidereusNuncius(The Starry Messenger)-1610

It was a pamphlet but his main work was

Dialogues on the Two Chief Systems, 1632

This work forced the Catholic church to look at his work and how they related to Catholic teaching.


Scripture he argued “teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”

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Scientific Revolution

Scientists Supporting Copernicus’s Theory

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

After Dialogues On the Two Chief Systems of the World was published he was called to Rome to face the Inquisition. He was found guilty of heresy by 1633.

His other work De Motuproved

Law of Falling Bodies—Objects fall at the same speed

regardless of mass. Aristotle believed heavier objects fell


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Scientific Revolution

Revisiting Copernicus

Paolo Antonio Foscarini

A theologian in Naples, published a book which stated the Copernican theory did not conflict with scripture. The church took notice of Copernican Theory and places

On the Revolution of Celestial Orbs on the Index of Forbidden Books

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Scientific Revolution
  • Scientists Supporting Copernicus’s Theory

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687)

--Universe can be explained

through mathematics

--Universe operated in a rational

and predictable way

--Did not need religion or theology

to explain the universe

--All planets move by physical

attraction, gravity

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Scientific Revolution

Scientists Supporting Copernicus’s Theory

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Laws of Motion


An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

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Scientific Revolution

Scientists Supporting Copernicus’s Theory

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Laws of Motion


Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object).

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Scientific Revolution

Scientists Supporting Copernicus’s Theory

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Laws of Motion


For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.