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“What makes the Scientific Revolution (a) scientific and (b) Revolutionary?”

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Scott Sandoval

AP European History

Period B

December 1, 2001


“What makes the Scientific Revolution (a) scientific

and (b) Revolutionary?”

        For many scholars, the year 1543 is considered to be the beginning of the scientific revolution. This year marked Copernicus’s publication of, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) and Vesalius’s De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body). Spanning for more than a century and a half, man's conception of himself and the universe he inhabited was altered. Not only did the above modifications occur but the scholastic method of reasoning was replace by new, revolutionary scientific methods.

        Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543), was born in Torun, Poland. He received higher educated in Italy for ten years starting from when he was twenty-three years old. While in Italy, among other things he studied the accepted astronomical system of the time, developed by Ptolemy. This system depicted the universe as

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Although Copernicus stated the main points about our universe, without the minor adjustments made by other scientist, Copernicus’s theory would have probably been rejected. Tyco Brahe (1546-1601) was a Danish astronomer. Although he never exclusively agreed with Copernicus, the data he amassed over the years played an essential role in the accurate description of planetary motion devised by Brahe’s own apprentice Johannes Kepler. Kepler used Brahe’s data to derive the Three Law’s of Planetary Motion. One of which was the revolutionary idea that planets traveled around the sun in elliptical orbits. The scientist that sealed the heliocentric belief was Galileo Galilei. By using a telescope, he discovered numerous things about our solar system. He discovered Jupiter’s four largest moons, known as the Galilean moons. He virtually closed the discussion on the heliocentric universe when he discovered the fact that the Sun had spots that if observed rotated.

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Mathematics is a more broad discipline and therefore had more modifications. John Napier developed the idea of logarithms. Today they are commonly known as exponents. They are used to abbreviate the function of a number multiplied by itself. Rene Descartes (1596-1650) developed the Cartesian coordinate system. Which is currently used to graph lines.

These new and revolutionary advancements could not have happened without the two chief, contemporary methods of reasoning. They were inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. Inductive method of reasoning is the technique where specific observations and experiments led to the general hypotheses or theory. Deductive reasoning is the way of thinking where theories accounted for specific experimental results.

As displayed by the above examples the revolution, started in 1543, was not one of over throwing a king but instead one of advancing their ideas of a society. Although these ideas only reached the upper class they eventually spread to the rest of the general public. The thoughts of these great intellects had enormous effects on the way we live our lives today.

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