Scientific Revolution- Generally placed from the sixteenth through late eighteenth centuries, the scientific revolution
was a time of paradigm shifts on how the universe worked. Rather than
continuing the use of thoughts from the Middle Ages, new ideas
circulated that were based on mathematics. The scientific revolution is
often known for reconstructing the idea of the universe, but its base
in mathematics spread even to religion, taking hold in the form of
Nicolaus Copernicus- (1473-1543) a Polish astonomer who challenged the existing theory of Ptolemy.
He suggessted the heliocentric theory in his work On the Revolutions of
the Heavenly Spheres (1543) which was not a revolutionary idea, but
rather revolution-making. He provided a starting point for criticism of
the popular view of the earth in the universe. He provided another way
to attack the difficulties in Ptolemic astronomy.
On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres- (1543) text published by Nicolaus Copernicus
which challenged Ptolemic astronomy by suggested the earth moved around
the sun(heliocentric theory). This was not a new idea, rather a
starting point for criticism of the problems associated with the
Ptolemic theory. In fact, the ideas in this text were no more acurate
than the Ptolemic theory.
Ptolemy- Before the scientific revolution, astronomers believed that the universe ran on a geocentric model;
that is, the earth was the center of the universe. This concept was
derived from Ptolemy, and ancient mathematician and astronomer from the
Roman Empire. His ideas are referred to as the Ptolemaic Systems,
on which astronomers would make scientific calculations that resulted
in the earth lay underneath spheres that contained the planets and
stars. The Ptolemaic System was eventually challenged by Copernicus’
views and soon replaced entirely.
After Copernicus, he took the next major step toward the conception of
the sun-centered system. However, he didn't advocate Copernicus' view
of the universe and spent most of his life supporting the
earth-centered system. He suggested that the moon and the sun revolved
around the earth and that the other planets revolved around the sun.
When he died, his vast body of astronomical data came into the
possession of his assistant, Johannes Kepler (below).
1630) Johannes Kepler, a German astronomer and the assistant of Tycho
Brahe (above), was a rigorous advocate of the Copernican heliocentric
theory of the universe. He was determined to find mathematical
harmonies in Brahe's numerical data that supported a sun-centered
universe. Kepler discovered that to keep the sun at the center of
things, he would have to abandon the circular components of
Copernicus's model, particularly the epicycles. Brahe's observations
suggested that the motions of the planets were elliptical. He published
his findings inThe New Astronomy(1609). Using Copernicus'
sun-centered universe and Brahe's empirical data, he solved the problem
of planetary motion, while also defining new problems: Why were the
planetary orbits elliptical, and why was planetary motion orbital
rather than simply moving off along a tangent?
An Italian mathematician and natural philosopher who discovered many
new objects in space using the recently invented telescope. In theStarry Messenger(1610) andLetters on Sunspots(1613),
he argued that his newly observed physical evidence required a
Copernican interpretation of the heavens. His career illustrates that
the forging of new science involved more than just presentation of
arguments and evidence. He not only popularized the Copernican system,
but also articulated the concept of a universe subject to mathematical
Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World-(1632)
Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World-(1632)
A book written by Galileo upon the permission of Pope Urban VIII. The
book defended the physical truthfulness of Copernicanism. The voices in
the dialogue favoring the older system appeared slow-witted, and those
voices presented the views of Pope Urban VIII. Feeling both humiliated
and betrayed, the pope ordered and investigation of Galileo's book,
later requiring him to abjure his views.
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire- Written by Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes between 1776 and 1789, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire used primary source evidence to tell the story of the fall of the Roman Empire. Behind this historical veil, however, this volumed work examined Christianity's
rise as it happened politically, indirectly contradicting the Church's
teachings of the divine establishment of the "proper Church to save
humanity." In this work, Gibbon also praises Muhammad's success in establishing the religion of Islam.
Cesare Beccaria- Cesare Beccaria was an Italian philosophe whose Enlightenment ideas influenced ideas about criminal law and practical reform. His On Crimes and Punishments,
published in 1764, critically analyzed the fine balance between
effective and just punishments. He considered punishment's sole role in
the legal system as deterring others from further crime through fear.
Punishments that are overly harsh for the sake of justice were attacked
by Beccaria, who particularly bludgeoned capital punishment and torture. He supported a noble monarchy, but urged that the monarchy be rational and work for the happiness of the people.
Isaac Newton - described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion.
Newton showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of
celestialbodies are governed by the same set of natural laws by linking
Kepler's laws of planetary motion and his own theory of gravitation,
which ended the last doubts about heliocentrism.
Principia - published in 1687, this book states Newton's three laws of motion and the mathematical methods Newton used to discover them.