The scientific revolution was a period of time, during the 16th and 17th centuries in which historical changes in intellectual thoughts and beliefs took place The changes occurred in two different areas, astronomy (the solar system) and biology (anatomy and physiology).This revolution was such a major milestone for man because it changed the way people looked at the world of nature and man.
The emergence of the scientific revolution was brought about by several intellectuals; Copernicus, Galilei, Kepler, Brahe and Newton.
First we have Nicholas Copernicus. He studied both math and astronomy. After studying Ptolemy’s works, he challenged the Ptolemaic Conception of the universe. This stated that the earth was the center of the universe. Copernicus formulated a helio centric conception which meant that the sun was the center of the universe. and that the planets moved around the sun in an elliptical shape. His theory built the foundation of the new astronomy.
Supporting the Copernican theory were Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe.
Brahe complied over 20 years of astronomical data which Kepler used. He discovered 3 laws of planetary motion that confirmed and modified the Copernican theory.
Next there was Galileo Galilei. He was the first European to make observations of the heavens via a telescope. Galileo who discovered the first four moons of Jupiter and that earth’s moon is bumpy and not smooth, also generated the law of inertia.
Finally we have Sir Isaac Newton. He was an English mathematician and physicist, considered to be the greatest scientist to ever live.
Newton used the works of Copernicus and Galileo in his own theory. He discovered the law of universal gravitation. He also began calculus and discovered that white light consisted of all the colors of the spectrum.
Those who helped with the emergence of the biological portion of the Scientific Revolution were the following; Galen, Paraclesius, Versalius, and Harvey.
Galen was a Greek doctor during the medieval times. He dissected animals instead of humans to produce his pictures of the human anatomy. He introduced the 4 doctrines of bodily humors used to treat diseases.
Three other figures credited with making changes to medicine were Paraclesius, who rejected Galen’s work. He’s also known as the father of holistic and homeopathic medicine. Andreas Versalius, who studied Galen and rectified some of his errors using the hands on approach. Lastly, William Harvey dealt a severe blow to Galen’s theories. Also, his own theories of the circulation of blood, laid the foundation for modern physiology.
Speigl, Western Civ, vol 2
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