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The Scientific Revolution. Standard 7.10 Students analyze the historical developments of the Scientific Revolution and its lasting effects on religious, political, and cultural institutions. Background.

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The scientific revolution

The Scientific Revolution

Standard 7.10 Students analyze

the historical developments of the

Scientific Revolution and

its lasting effects on

religious, political, and

cultural institutions.


  • During the Renaissance, there was a renewed interest in classical ideas from the Greeks and Romans.

  • This sparked a renewed interest in scientific learning.

  • Old beliefs, especially about religion, were questioned

Classical greek science
Classical Greek Science

  • Ancient Greeks used rationalism, reason or logical thought, to make sense of the world.

  • Aristotle and geocentric theory: studies led to belief that the Earth was at the center of the universe

  • Ptolemy (500 years later), an astronomer, agreed with Aristotle. But expanded theory: moon and stars move in small orbits

  • Geocentric theory widely accepted for about 2000 years!

Classical greek science1
Classical Greek Science

  • Pythagoras tried to explain the universe using mathematics--all things work together as harmony

  • Also known for Pythagorean Theorem formula for right-angled triangle

  • Euclid, Father of Geometry, studied circle and triangle shapes

  • Hippocrates, 400s B.C., came up with Hippocratic Oath, treat patients with best ability

  • Believed observing many medical cases, doctors would be able to diagnose diseases

  • Galen, 100s B.C., practiced anatomy, the study of living things and dissection of plants and animals

Muslim scholars
Muslim Scholars

  • al-Khwarizmi (late 700s & early 800s), borrowed numbering system & zero from Indian scholars

  • Created Arabic numbering system (we still use it!)

  • Developed algebra

  • al-Razi(early 900s), Persian born doctor, used Greek studies to identify and describediseases.

  • Ibn Sina, published a medical encyclopedia, the Canon of Medicine

Jewish christian scholars
Jewish & Christian Scholars

  • From al-Andalus (Islamic Spain), classical scientific ideas spread to western Europe

  • Greek & Arabic scientific works were translated into Latin

  • Gersonides, Jewish scholar, made an instrument to measure distance between celestial objects--challenged Ptolemy’s geocentric theory

  • Thomas Aquinas (1200s), reason and faith both come from God--can co-exist

  • Led to open-mindedness leading to humanism

Renaissance spreads ideas of humanism
Renaissance Spreads Ideas of Humanism

  • Printing Press --helped spread humanistic ideas across Europe

  • More books became available, scholars understood classical thinkers did not always agree with each other--okay to disagree

  • Questioning old beliefs led to new spirit of investigation

  • Artists showed subjects in realistic ways

  • To do this, they needed to study plants & animals carefully

  • Led to accurate scientific knowledge of human anatomy

New scientific theories
New Scientific Theories

  • Copernicus (1500s), came up with Heliocentric Theory --the sun is the center of the universe

  • This challenged Ptolemy’s geocentric theory

  • Johannes Kepler (1600s), used math to refine Copernicus’ theory, planets revolve in elliptical orbits NOT circular orbits

  • Galileo (1564-1642), 1st to use telescope, observations supported Copernicus’ theory

  • Challenged church beliefs, banished for life

  • Sir Isaac Newton (late 1600s), came up with theory that all physical objects are affected by the same force--GRAVITY

  • The Law of Universal Gravitation— gravity acts on all objects

New scientific theories continued
New Scientific Theories continued

  • William Harvey (1628), English physician, studied circulation of blood through the body

  • The heart pumps blood through thebody NOT the liver!

Woodcut depicting William Harvey’s theory of the circulation of blood, from his Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus (1628).

New scientific inventions
New Scientific Inventions

  • New instruments made scientific observation MUCH easier!

The microscope
The Microscope

Zacharias Janssen, a Dutch eyeglass maker, invented the microscope in 1590

Anton van Leeuwenhoek,

first to look at microscopic life in fluids.

Also, observed flow of blood in capillaries

The thermometer
The Thermometer

  • Galileo invented in early 1600s

  • Anders Celsius, created thermometer scale in 1742, showing water freezing at 0°C and boiling at 100°C

  • German scientist, Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, made first mercury thermometer

  • Used measurement scale that showed water freezing at 32°F and boiling at 212°F

The barometer
The Barometer

  • Galileo’s friend, Evangelista Torricelli, invented the barometer

  • It measures the pressure of the Earth’s atmosphere

  • Today, it is used to predict weather—useful, because it measures CHANGES in the air pressure

Sir francis bacon 1561 1626
Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

  • Wanted to proved that rationalism applied to both government AND science

  • Believed in using rational, organized thought

  • To understand the world, it’s important to make observations and conduct experiments

  • Came up with the scientific method

The scientific method
The Scientific Method

  • Sir Francis Bacon’s Scientific Method:

  • Observing and describing a subject

  • Forming a hypothesis—an unproved assumption about the subject

  • Testing the hypothesis in an experiment

  • Interpreting results to show conclusion

Ren descartes
René Descartes

  • Believed in questioning the opinions of recognized authorities

  • Every idea should be doubted until proven through reason

  • Famous for saying, “I think, therefore I am.”

  • Argued that God created 2 realities: the physical, and the mind (what people think)

  • Use rational mind to understand the “truths” of the physical world

The impact of scientific rationalism
The Impact of Scientific Rationalism

  • Power of the Church was challenged

  • People began to think for themselves instead of what the Church told them to believe

  • Applied to government, planting the seeds of democracy

  • Same methods still used in government and science today!


Harvey, William: theory of the circulation of blood. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Web. 23 May. 2012. <>.

History of the, http://www.history-of-the-microscope image,

First thermometer, Eur-Climhist,

Picture of a barometer,

The Weather Channel, example of barometric pressure,

Sir Francis Bacon image,

Rodin, Auguste. The Thinker, image by,

I think, therefore I am cartoon,