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Was the scientific revolution primarily one concerned with the solar system?

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Introduction

R. Jefferys

November 2002

Was the scientific revolution primarily one concerned with the solar system?

  In the early modern period, scientific advancements paved the way for the findings, which we now take for granted, but back then were originally seen as a far more abstract concept.  This was largely due to the work of men such as Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642), Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543), Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630), Tycho Brahe (1564 – 1601) and Ismael Boulliau (1605 – 1694) as well as others.  Their work meant that whether it was believed or not originally, there was some sense of a revolution in the sciences giving us a greater understanding of the world in which we live.  However the scientific revolution, which took place during the early modern period also signals something that has a far greater historical impact on the time.  Whilst many may have predominantly looked skywards for answers to their questions, the revolution marked a new direction in renaissance thinking much closer to the ground.  Whether it was the discoveries and new theories of the cosmos proposed by Copernicus or Galileo, or whether it was Gilbert’s work on the magnet or even Bacon’s work on learning, what came out of the scientific revolution was that the sciences rather than being their own separate entity were rather more inter-linked than originally thought.  Therefore the scientific revolution was largely about the way science was thought of as well as the remarkable discoveries that were made.

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Middle

[5]  His work on the anatomy, in much the same way as Copernicus’ theories on the solar system, was way ahead of its time, as he believed that instead of the human body being a separate entity, it was integral to the understanding of science as a whole.

  Further scientific discoveries were made during this period, including William Gilbert’s work on the magnet and loadstones.  In his work entitled Concerning the Magnet he set out ‘to examine the legends and scientific facts associated with magnets, lodestones, amber, and other materials that possess natural powers to attract or repel.’[6]  This was important as it tied in with Copernicus’ work on the solar system and the positions of the planets with the sun at the centre.  Indeed  ‘He described the Earth itself as a giant lodestone possessing magnetic properties.’[7]  This discovery and research was predominantly based on issues much closer to the ground than Copernicus and Galileo’s work on the solar system, but it nevertheless did have an impact on the science of the heavens, adding to the increasing revolutionary thought surrounding the solar system at the time.

  However the discoveries did not stop here.  Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was influential in his work in The Advancement of Learning.  As was William Harvey (1578-1657) with his work On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals, in which he proves that the heart circulates blood throughout the body.

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Conclusion

Bibliography

Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, (University of California Press, 1962)

Science and the Artist's Book at http://www.sil.si.edu/Exhibitions/Science-and-the-Artists-Book/phys.htm

Catalogue of the Scientific Community Vesalius, Andreas at http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/Catalog/Files/vesalius.html

The Warnock Library, Copernicus, Nicolaus: De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium at http://www.octavo.com/collections/projects/coprev/

Rosen, Edward: Kepler’s Conversation with Galileo’s Sidereal Messenger, (Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York and London, 1965)


[1] Rosen, Edward: Kepler’s Conversation with Galileo’s Sidereal Messenger, (Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York and London, 1965), xvi

[2] Ibid., xvi

[3] Rosen, Edward: Kepler’s Conversation with Galileo’s Sidereal Messenger, (Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York and London, 1965), xiii

[4] The Warnock Library, Copernicus, Nicolaus: De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium at http://www.octavo.com/collections/projects/coprev/

[5] http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/Catalog/Files/vesalius.html

[6] http://www.sil.si.edu/Exhibitions/Science-and-the-Artists-Book/phys.htm

[7] http://www.sil.si.edu/Exhibitions/Science-and-the-Artists-Book/phys.htm

[8] Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, (University of California Press, 1962), 326

[9] Ibid., 327

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