History of science

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The School of Athens by Raphael. Aristotle (pictured in blue in the centre arch) wrote that the truth can be found through observation and induction. This was his scientific method.[1]

The history of science is the study of the historical development of science and scientific knowledge. The English word scientist is relatively recent – first coined by William Whewell in the 19th century. Previously, people investigating nature called themselves "natural philosophers".

Science is a body of knowledge about the natural world, produced by scientists who observe, explain, and predict real world phenomena. Historiography of science, in contrast, often draws on the historical methods.

Facts about the natural world have been described since classical antiquity. Ancient Greece is perhaps most famous for its contributions to astronomy and mathematics. Aristarchus of Samos came up with the idea of the Sun at the centre of what we now call the Solar system many centuries before Galileo. Others, like Thales and Aristotle were interested in the natural world.

Scientific methods have been used since the Middle Ages (Roger Bacon), but the dawn of modern science is often traced back to the early modern period and in particular to the scientific revolution that took place in 16th- and 17th-century Europe. Important figures in the development of modern science include Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Robert Boyle, Charles Darwin, Wilhelm Roux and Albert Einstein.

Scientific methods are so fundamental to modern science that some consider earlier inquiries into nature to be pre-scientific.[2] Traditionally, historians of science have defined science sufficiently broadly to include those inquiries.[3]

The natural sciences are these:

There are various applied sciences which depend on one of more of the natural sciences. Medicine is an example.

Related pages[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. O'Leary, De Lacy (1949). How Greek science passed to the Arabs. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.. ISBN 0-7100-1903-3.
  2. Hendrix, Scott E. (2011). "Natural Philosophy or Science in Premodern Epistemic Regimes? The Case of the Astrology of Albert the Great and Galileo Galilei". Teorie vědy / Theory of Science 33 (1): 111–132. http://teorievedy.flu.cas.cz/index.php/tv/issue/view/10. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  3. "For our purpose, science may be defined as ordered knowledge of natural phenomena and of the relations between them". William Cecil Dampier, "Science", in Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed. New York: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc, 1911; "Science comprises, first, the orderly and systematic comprehension, description and/or explanation of natural phenomena and, secondly, the [mathematical and logical] tools necessary for the undertaking". Marshall Clagett, Greek Science in Antiquity. New York: Collier Books, 1955; "Science is a systematic explanation of perceived or imaginary phenomena, or else is based on such an explanation. Mathematics finds a place in science only as one of the symbolical languages in which scientific explanations may be expressed". David Pingree, "Hellenophilia versus the History of Science", Isis 83, 559 (1982); Pat Munday, entry "History of Science", New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005.