What Was The Scientific Revolution Of The 16th Through 18th Centuries?

Visionary minds such as Isaac Newton prompted humanity to look at the natural world like never before.
Visionary minds such as Isaac Newton prompted humanity to look at the natural world like never before.

The Scientific Revolution has been defined as the rapid advances in mathematical, scientific, and political thought based on new philosophies of empiricism and faith that defined Europe in the 16th and the 17th Centuries. Any period of major advancement in science has been referred to as a revolution from the 18th Century onward.

Background of the Scientific Revolution

Ancient Greek learning and science is credited with paving the way for the Scientific Revolution which would arrive much later on. Traditional Christianity has also been linked with the revolution by some scholars. In the ancient world, Greek was renowned for having some of the finest minds in the world. One of the greatest thinkers of this time was Aristotle and whose ideas were transformed fundamentally during the scientific revolution. The Aristotelian scientific traditions were to observe and search for natural circumstances by reasoning. Any event that seemed to deviate from the norm was regarded as an aberration and of no benefit. This ideology was known the empirical theory. In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus made a publication named “on the revolutions of the celestial spheres.” In his publication, he explained that it is the sun and not the earth that is at the center of the universe. This theory brought about the questioning of the strict interpretation of the Bible and the philosophies of the Roman Catholics. It brought about a new era of astronomical thought and efficiently sparked off the scientific revolution. Other publications that followed soon after that included the Andreas Vesalius’ human anatomy and Girolamo's algebra.

Scientific Breakthroughs and Key Figures During the Revolution

Before the Scientific Revolution period, deduction methods were widely used for analyses. The philosophy was gradually replaced by an inductive method, but at an advanced stage, scientists advocated for the use of both approaches. Francis Bacon introduced the art of inductive methodologies in making of scientific inquiry. He argued that there is a need for a planned procedure of investigating all things naturally. It was a new dawn for the previously rhetorical and theoretical framework for science. It is still the core of scientific conceptions today. He also asserted that the primary goal and objective of science should be making human life better and not merely seeking contemplative aims. Some of his inventions include the gunpowder, printing press, and the compass. Another scientist in this period was William Gilbert who was referred to as the father electricity and magnetism. He advocated for experimentation of facts. One of his discoveries was that the Earth was magnetic and that the reason that compasses point north. Other inventions in the period include construction of the microscope, laws of planetary motion and the discovery that blood circulate.

Lasting Impacts on Greater Society

The scientists of the Scientific Revolution era had acted as pioneers and pacesetters for the scientific world, and most of scientific works today follow the scientific procedures, rules, and laws defined in that period. Their works have led to the development of technology today. Bacon's experiments are still at the core of scientific research today and have made experiments more reliable. Cavendish and Maria Winkelmann were some of the most successful women scientists and encouraged women today to venture into science.


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