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The Nature of Scientific Change Lyndsi Monjon-November 8, 2007 Quotes “The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life.” -Ernest Renan, 1883 “Science is the great antidote to the position of enthusiasm and superstition.”

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the nature of scientific change

The Nature of Scientific Change

Lyndsi Monjon-November 8, 2007

  • “The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life.”

-Ernest Renan, 1883

  • “Science is the great antidote to the position of enthusiasm and superstition.”

–Adam Smith, 1776

scientific revolutions
Scientific Revolutions
  • Periods of Revolutions
  • Share some features of political revolutions
  • More like a formal, ongoing dialogue between opposing parties
more on scientific revolutions
More on Scientific Revolutions
  • Loyalty oaths uncommon
  • Rarely appeal to arms
  • Usually the result of informal alliances with an occasional ‘set price’ in the form of a review, program or manifesto designed to sharpen the awareness of the professionals in a particular area
dialogues of scientific revolution
Dialogues of Scientific Revolution
  • Take the form of reasoned argument
  • Have few threats
  • Moderate language used by all
the hemholtz br cke pact
The Hemholtz-Brücke Pact
  • 1840s
  • Intended as anti-Müller, anti-vitalist manifesto
  • Put together by Müller’s brightest students
who was m ller
Who was Müller?
  • Leading exponent of the vitalist doctrine
  • “Life on earth could not have originated from chemical and physical forces alone”
  • Believes it was triggered by some external, “vitalizing” principle
the process of change
The Process of Change
  • Have been several attempts to explain the origins and process of social revolution
  • Conflict of interest between two groups or social classes over the division of social resources
the ruling group
The Ruling Group
  • Monopoly of violence due to control of resources
  • Uses those resources to suppress opposition
Revolutions usually begin from the perception that the existing body of knowledge is flawed.
scientific research
Scientific Research
  • Humdrum, routine tasks
    • Humdrum-dull
  • Some form of measurement
  • Checking and rechecking of facts
normal science
Normal science
  • Carried out within a theoretical framework of assumptions
  • In-depth understandings of specialized subject area
  • The frame of reference within which science is developed
paradigmatic shifts
Paradigmatic Shifts
  • Resulted from abandoning religious explanations of the creation of the universe
  • Some resulted of more practical, specialized work
spheres of influence
Spheres of Influence
  • Strong states overwhelm weaker ones
  • Vulnerable nations form alliances against a common enemy
  • Some nations dominate, others are subservient
who really gets the credit
Who really gets the credit?
  • Omar Khayyam (and others): arithmetic triangle: credited to Pascal
  • Ruffino’s method of solving equations of high degree was know to the ancient Chinese

Leibniz did not discover the differential calculus (Newton did)

Nor did Leibniz invent the binary system (the Chinese did)

Leibniz’s basic philosophy (Monadology) was “borrowed” from Lady Anne Conway

  • 3 people believed the discovered non-Euclidean geometry but Euler gets the credit
history of science
History of Science
  • Post-1789 idea of nation state is too narrow of a concept
  • Spheres of Influence have had an effect on scientist
sphere of influence with math
Sphere of Influence with Math
  • Neolithic, pre-literate European and North American
  • Sumerian, Babylonian, Akkadian, Chaldean, Phoenician
  • Egyptian
  • Greek/Roman- first Pax Romana
  • Chinese, Japanese, Korean

6. Arab, Indian, Syrian- first Scientific Revolution

7. Roman Catholic, Mediaeval European- Second Pax Romana

8. Renaissance, Christian, European (especially Italian)

9. Western Europe (especially British, French, and German)- second Scientific Revolution

10. Old European science and mathematics; world science

the future of mathematics
The Future of Mathematics
  • Due to the invention of the electric computer, soon we will not be able to talk about numbers in the old-fashioned way
  • Students will have a different sense of values
  • Key process is liberation from the domination of age-old traditions
more of the future
More of the Future
  • The method of teaching math will change
  • Most prosperous countries:
    • Japan
    • USA
    • Germany
  • Websites
  • Books
    • The Story of Numbers