The Scientific Revolution study guide summary



The Scientific Revolution study guide summary


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The Scientific Revolution study guide summary

AP European History
Chapter 14: New Directions in Thought and Culture in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries Outline

Chapter Overview:

  • Due to science and the discovery of a “heliocentric” universe, there was a transformation of humankind’s perception of its place in the larger scheme of things.
  • This new worldview led to new thinking about moral and religious matters, as well as scientific theory.
  • New ideas and methods of science challenged modes of thought associated with late medieval times like scholasticism and philosophy.
  • The Protestant Reformation and the discovery of the Americas presented new uncertainties that caused Europeans to question their souls, geographical knowledge, and physical nature.

Section One: The Scientific Revolution

  • Section Overview
    • The process that resulted in the view of the universe is typically called the Scientific Revolution.
    • The Scientific Revolution was not rapid as it took the brilliant minds of dislocated scientists in laboratories in Poland, Italy, Denmark, Bohemia, France and Great Britain, as well as many local artisans they hired to help created instruments for study to produce this new science.
    • During the fifteenth century, individuals interested in natural philosophy worked at universities, in home workshops, or the courts of royal families; it wasn’t until the late seventeenth century that formal societies and academies devoted to science were founded.
    • Science became the greatest cultural authority in the western world.
  • Nicolaus Copernicus Rejects an Earth-Centered Universe
    • Biographical information
      • Polish priest and scientist
      • educated at the University of Krakow
      • wrote On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres in 1543
        • Commissioned to find astronomical justification so that the papacy could change the calendar so that it could correctly calculate the date of Easter, Copernicus’s work provided an intellectual springboard from which scientist could posit questions about Earth’s position in the universe.
    • Ptolemaic System
      • Ptolemy, a Roman citizen of Greek ancestry, wrote the Almagest (150CE) was considered the authority on astronomy throughout the Middle Ages and it suggested a geocentric model of the universe.
      • Ptolemaic World System
        • Above the earth lay a series of concentric spheres, probably fluid in character, one of which contained the moon, another the sun, and still others the planets and the stars.
        • The outer realm contains God and angels
      • The problem of the motions of the planets was something astronomers struggled to chart.
        • Ptolemy believed that the planets moved uniformly about a small circle called an epicycle and the center of the epicycle moved about a larger circle—called a deferent—with the earth at or near its center.
        • The circles in Ptolemy’s system were not orbits but rather components of mathematical calculations meant to predict planetary positions.
    • Copernicus’s Universe
      • Copernicus’s Model adopted many elements in the Ptolemaic model, but transferred them to a heliocentric model, which assumed the earth moved about the sun in a circle.
      • He proposed that the farther planets are away from the sun, the longer they took to revolve around it which enabled astronomers to rank the planets in terms of distance from the sun.
      • Although very few astronomers embraced the Copernican system—at least for a century—it  did allow other people who were not satisfied with the Ptolemaic view to think in new directions.


  • Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) and Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) Make New Scientific Observations
    • Brahe’s contributions to science
      • He did not believe Copernicus’s view and spent much of life advocating for a geocentric system.
      • He posited that Mercury and Venus revolved around the sun but that the moon, the sun, and other planters revolved around the earth.
      • He collected very detailed data of his observations.
    • Kepler’s contributions to science
      • He studied under Brahe and was given his data when he died.
      • Kepler, unlike Brahe was a convinced Copernican who found mathematical proof of a sun-centered universe.
      • He found that in order for heliocentrism to be true, planets must have an elliptical, rather than circular orbiti.
      • Kepler published his findings in a book called The New Astronomy (1609) in which he used Copernicus’s sun-centered model and Brahe’s empirical data to solve the problem of planetary motion.
  • Galileo Galilei Argues For A Universe of Mathematical Laws
    • In 1609, he used a recently invented telescope to observe the skies and he saw stars where none had been before, mountains on the moon, spots moving across the sun, and moons orbiting Jupiter.
    • In The Starry Messenger (1610) and Letters on Sunspots (1613), he used his rhetorical skills to argue that his new evidence—particularly in the phases of Venus—required a Copernican interpretation of the heavens.
    • Galileo taught at the University of Padua before being hired by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who was a Medici.
    • He popularized the Copernican system and articulated the concept of a universe subject to mathematical laws.
      • Copernicus had thought that the heavens conformed to mathematical regularity; Galileo saw this regularity throughout all physical nature.
    • For many people, the power of the mathematical arguments that appeared irrefutable proved more persuasive than the new information from physical observation that produced so much controversy; few intellectual shifts have wrought such momentous changes for Western civilization.


  • Isaac Newton Discovers the Laws of Gravitation
    • Astronomers like Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo were still confused about how the planets and other heavenly bodies moved in an orderly fashion.
    • In his book, The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), Newton identified the cause of planetary motion, and in so doing, established a foundation for the study of modern phsyics.
      • One of Newton’s findings was that the principle of inertia applied to both objects at rest and in motion.
      • He also reasoned that the planets and all other physical objects in the universe moved through mutual attraction, or gravity.
        • The attraction of gravity explained why the planets moved in an orderly rather than chaotic fashion.
    • Newton, along with Francis Bacon, believed in empiricism—that one must observe phenomena before attempting to explain it through mathematics.
    • Newton opposed the idea of rationalism supported by the French philosopher Rene Descartes which he believed was insufficient guards against error.

Section Two:  Philosophy Responds to Changing Science

  • Section Overview
    • Revolutionary scientific thought also impacted Western philosophy, and several important scientists—like Bacon and Descartes—began studying and writing philosophy.
      • Bacon emphasized the importance of empirical research.
      • Descartes looked for certainty through the exploration of his own thinking process.
  • Nature As Mechansim
    • Philosophers began to view the universe as a machine and many of them used the imagery of a clock to explain the workings of the universe.
      • Some coalesced the view of the universe as a machine with spirituality by suggesting that God was a divine mechanic or clockmaker who had arranged the world like a machine that would thereafter function automatically.
    • The new world view of the universe as a machine took away the mystery of the world and the previous assumption of the presence of divine purpose in nature as Europeans no longer looked for symbolic or sacramental meaning in nature.
    • Knowledge of the universe became the path toward physical improvement of human beings through their ability to command and manipulate the processes of nature.


  • Francis Bacon:  The Empirical Method
    • Biographical information
      • Bacon (1561-1626) was an Englishman who worked as a lawyer, a high royal official, wrote history, moral essays, and philosophical discourses.
      • Although Bacon is known as the father of empiricism and experimentation in science—a designation that he did not earn—his real accomplishment was setting an intellectual tone and helping create a climate conducive to scientific work.
    • Bacon’s Works
      • In The Advancement of Learning (1605), the Novum Organum (1620), and The New Atlantis (1627), he attacked the scholastic belief that most truth had been discovered and only required explanation.
        • Bacon believed that many scholastics paid too much attention to tradition and the classics and encouraged scientist to blaze new trails in their understanding of nature.
      • Bacon believed that human knowledge should produce deeds rather than words and encouraged the application of knowledge to the improvement of the human condition.
        • Bee as a metaphor for the philosopher
    • Bacon’s Significance
      • He represented and advocated the sentiment of rejecting the past not from simple contempt or arrogance, but rather from a firm understanding that the world was much more complicate that medieval scholars had thought.
      • Bacon influenced monarchs and governments as he encouraged leaders to use new knowledge to increase the efficiency and productivity of governments.
  • Rene Descartes: The Method of Rational Deduction
    • Contributions to Mathematics and Philosophy
      • Descartes (1596-1650) was a top-notch mathematician who invented analytic geometry.
      • He also developed a scientific method that relied more on deduction—reasoning from general principle to arrive at facts—than empirical observation and induction.
    • Major Works
      • Discourse on Method (1637)
        • Descartes stated that he would doubt everything except those propositions about which he could have clear and distinct ideas.
        • His approach rejected all forms of intellectual authority except the conviction of his own reason.
          • He deduced the existence of God and since God was not a deciever, the ideas of God-given reason could not be false.
          • He concluded that human reason could fully comprehend the world.
      • Meditations (1641)
        •  In this book, Descartes encouraged an emphasis on deduction, rational speculation, and internal reflection of the mind.
    • Descartes’ deductive methodology, however, lost favor to scientific induction, whereby scientists draw generalizations derived from and test hypotheses against empirical observations.


  • Thomas Hobbes: Apologist for Absolute Government
    • Biographical Information
      • English political philosopher who lived from 1588-1679
      • He traveled to Paris, where he studied alongside Descartes, and Italy where he exchanged ideas with Galileo.
      • His first publication was a translation of the Thucydides’ classic History of the Peloponesian War from which he developed a dark view of human nature.
    • Hobbes’s Works
      • Leviathan (1651)
        • Written shortly after the English Civil War, he attempts to philosophically justify the necessity for a strong central authority.
        • Hobbes traced all psychological processes to bare sensation and regarded all human motivations as egotistical, intended to increase pleasure and minimize pain.
        • The Social Contract
          • Hobbes contends that only a sovereign commonwealth established by a contract between the ruler and the ruled could enable human beings to meet their needs by limiting the free exercise of the natural human pursuit of self-interest with all its potential conflict.
          • Hobbes rejects the idea that human beings are naturally sociable but rather self-centered creatures.
          • In the state of nature, Hobbes believed, humans live in constant conflict and fear of destruction and death.
          • Essentially, he believes human beings are naturally willing to give up the absolute individual freedom of the state of nature for the comfort and protection provided by a strong central ruler.
  • John Locke: Defender of Moderate Liberty and Toleration
    • Biographical information
      • Locke (1632-1704) was the most influential philosophical and political thinker of the seventeenth century.
      • He criticized absolutism.
      • His family had Puritan sympathies and his father fought with Parliament against the monarchy in the English Civil War.
      • Locke was a close associate of Ashley Cooper, the earl of Shaftesbury, who was considered a radical;  both he and Locke were forced to flee to Holland after Shaftesbury organized an unsuccessful rebellion to overthrow Charles II in 1682.
    • Locke’s works
      • Second Treatise of Civil Government
        • He advocated for a government that must be responsible for and responsive to the concerns of the governed.
        • Contrary to Hobbes, Locke regarded humans in the state of nature as creatures of reason and basic goodwill.
        • Humans enter into the social contract in order to form political society to secure and preserve the rights, liberty, and property that they already possess prior to the existence of political authority.
        • The relationship between the governed and the government is one of trust, and if the government breaks that trust, it is the responsibility of the governed to replace them.
      • Letters Concerning Toleration
        • Locke advocated for extensive religious toleration among Christians to prevent the chaos caused by over a century of religious struggles.
        • He believed that religious salvation was an individual endeavor not to be mandated by the state.
        • He did not, however, believe toleration should be extended to Roman Catholics whom he believed to have pledged allegiance to a foreign prince [the papacy].
      • Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
        • The major work of European psychology during the eighteenth century.
        • He believed the mind to be a “blank tablet” at birth whose content would be determined by sense experience; therefore, the human condition could be improved by changing the environment.

Section Three: The New Institutions of Expanding Natural Knowledge

  • Section Overview
    • People in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries began to believe that genuinely new knowledge about nature and humanity could be discovered in contrast to medieval and Renaissance notions of looking back on antiquity for knowledge.
    • Universities began establishing natural philosophy as an area of study and offered increasing funding for it.
    •  Due to initial reluctance of universities to pledge full support for the sciences, scientists formed “institutes for sharing” ideas about science.
      • Inception of Scientific Societies
        • Royal Society of London was founded in 1660 whose members followed the path of Bacon.
        • Academy of Experiments in Florence had been established in 1657 and the French Academy of Science in 1666.
        • Germany only slowly overcame the destruction of the Thirty Years’ War and didn’t establish a scientific society until 1700.
      • Mission of scientific societies
        • Although most of the members were from the literate class, they invited people outside the elite class like craftspeople, who could manufacture scientific equipment, sailors, whose travels had taken them to different parts of the world with different people, plants, and animals, and workers who had practical knowledge of problems in the countryside.
        • Explorers brought specimens and experiences back from exotic places that required classification, analysis, and observation.

Section Four:  Women in the World of the Scientific Revolution

  • Section Overview
    • Women were excluded from the growing advances in science
    • Some women had power at princely courts to whom scientists—like Galileo—went for patronage, but they usually did not determine the patronage decisions or benefit from them.
    • Queen Christina of Sweden, who brought Rene Descartes to set up a new science academy, was an exception who had a major impact on the development of science.
    • However, a few noblewomen and women from the artisan class did manage to engage in scientific activity.
      • Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673), wife of the duke of Newcastle, wrote Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy (1666) and Grounds of Natural Philosophy (1668), and was the only woman in the seventeenth century to be allowed to visit the Royal Society of London.
      • Maria Cunitz
        • German woman from the artisan class who took over her husband’s shop—which produced equipment for astronomy—when he died.
        • She published a book on astronomy.
      • Elisabetha and Johannes Hevelius constituted a husband-wife astronomica team as did Maria and Gottfried Winkelmann.
        • Winkelmann had worked jointly with her husband at the Berlin Academy of Sciences but her application to continue their work after his death was rejected.
    • Some scientists began writing solely for female audiences.
      • Margaret Cavendish produced a Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World (1666) to introduce women to the new science.
      • Bernard Fontenelle wrote Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds and Francesco Algarotti published Newtonianism for the Ladies in 1737.
      • Emilie Chatelet (1706-1749) translated Newton’s Principia into French.


Section Five: The New Science and Religious Faith

  • Section Overview
    • New science threatened religion for three reasons
      • Certain theories and discoveries did not agree with biblical statements about the heavens.
      • Who would decide conflicts between religion and science—church authorities or the natural philosophers?
      • For many religious thinkers, the new science seemed to replace a universe with spiritual meaning and significance with a purely materialistic one.


  • The Case of Galileo
    • The condemnation of the Catholic Church of Galileo in 1633 is the most famous incident of conflict between modern science and religious institutions.
    • Following the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church taught a more literal interpretation of scripture in order to respond to Protestant criticisms and it did not want to surrender the interpretation of scripture to a layman like Galileo.
    • Galileo published a Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1615) in order to explain how scripture should be interpreted to accommodate the new science.
    • In 1616, the Catholic Church put Copernicus’s book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres on a list of prohibited books, but Galileo was able to resume his defense of the Copernican view when an acquaintance of his, Pope Urban VIII became pope in 1623.
      • This allowed Galileo to publish Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems
        • This book was clearly designed to defend the physical truthfulness of Copernicanism.
        • The voices in the dialogue favoring the older system appeared slow-witted to which Pope Urban VIII found insulting and consequently ordered the trial of Galileo in 1633
        • Galileo was condemned, forced to renounce his views, and was placed under house arrest in his home near Florence for the rest of his life.
    • In 1992, Pope John Paul II formally ordered the reassessment of the Galileo case and the Roman Catholic Church admitted that errors had occurred, particularly in the biblical interpretations of Pope Urban VIII’s advisors.
  • Blaise Pascal: Reason and Faith
    • Biographical information
      • He was a French mathematician who lived from 1623-1662.
      • He allied himself with the Jansenists who were the opponents of the Jesuits.
    • Blaise’s works
      • He aspired to write a work that would refute dogmatism and skepticism in order to reconcile faith and the new science.
      • Pensees (Thoughts), published after his death, was a collection of reflections on humankind and religion.
        • He believed that in religious matters, only the reasons of the heart and a “leap of faith” could prevail.
        • Two Christian truths
          • A loving God exists
          • Human beings, because they are corrupted by nature, are utterly unworthy of God.
        • He believed that atheists and deists of his day placed too much emphasis on reason which was too weak to resolve the problems of human nature.
      • Pascal engaged in a famous bet with skeptics to whom he insisted that it is a better bet to believe God exists and to stake everything on his promised mercy than not to do so.


  • The English Approach to Science and Religion
    • Francis Bacon
      • There were two books of divine revelation: the Bible and nature
        • In studying nature, the natural philosopher could gain a deeper understanding of things divine, just as could a theologian studying the Bible.
        • Since the two works have the same author—Bacon contended—science and religion must eventually be reconciled.
    • Following Newton’s works, natural philosophers came to see themselves as studying nature to come to a better understanding of the Creator.
      • Physio-theology—religious thought associated with the deducing of religious conclusions from nature.
    • By the late seventeenth century, natural philosophy and its practical achievements had become associated in the public mind with consumption and the market economy.
      • John Ray’s The Wisdom of God Manifested in His Works of Creation (1690)
        • Argued that God wanted human beings to first understand the work, then turn this knowledge into productive practical use through rationality.
        • People came to believe that God wanted human beings to improve the world.
        • This outlook provided a religious justification for the processes of economic improvement that would characterize the eighteenth century.

Section Six: Continuing Superstition

  • Section Overview
    • Despite the great optimism of many European thinkers, traditional beliefs and fears retained their hold on Western culture as many people continued to be preoccupied with death, sin, and the devil.
    • Until the end of the seventeenth century all Europeans—in one way or another—believed in the power of demons, the occult, or magic.
  • Witch-Hunts and Panic
    • Between 1400 and 1700, European courts sentenced an estimated 70,000-100,000 people to death for harmful magic and witchcraft.
    • Witches were accused of attending mass meetings known as sabbats, to which they were believed to fly, they were accused of participating in sexual orgies with the devil, who appeared in animal form (most often as a he-goat), and cannibalism as it was believed that witches devoured small Christian children.
    • Why did witch panics occur in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?
      • Religious division and warfare
      • Some believe the Reformation took away traditional safeguards against devils and demons and people felt the need to seek protection preemptively by seeking out witches.
      • Political consolidation led rulers to eliminate potential rivalries to their loyalty in their realms.


  • Village Origins
    • Origins of witches are found in both popular and elite culture as feared and respected “cunning folk” helped people cope with disasters by magical means.
    • The possession of magical powers made one an important person in a village and oftentimes widowed-women were those who needed to boost their social prestige.
    • In village society witch beliefs may have been a way to defy urban Christian society’s attempts to impose orthodox beliefs, laws, and institutions on the countryside.
  • Influence of the Clergy
    • When the church expanded into areas where its power and influence were small, it encountered semi-pagan cultures rich in folkloric beliefs, the Christian religious authorities clashed with those of the traditional villages.
    • The Christian clergy practiced high magic—they could transform water into wine and bread into the body of Christ; they also claimed the power to cast out demons.
    • However, the church claimed to have a monopoly on magic and anyone else who claimed to possess it would be severely punished.


  • Who Were the Witches
    • 80% of the victims of witch-hunts were women
    • Three groups of women seem to be most targeted by witch-hunts
      • Widows
      • Midwives
      • Women healers and herbalists
    • Nowhere do we find women being randomly rounded up for burning; the witch-hunts targeted specific women.
  • End of Witch Hunts
    • A more scientific point of view helped end witch hunts as it became harder to rationalize how thoughts of the mind or words on the lips could alter physical things.
    • With advances in medicine, the emergence of insurance companies, and the availability of lawyers, people felt increasingly more secure against physical afflictions and natural disasters.
    • Witch-hunts began to get out of hand and threatened anarachy.


Section Seven: Baroque Art

  • Section Overview
    • Baroque—style associated with seventeenth-century paintings, sculptures and architecture.
    • Characteristics of Baroque style
      • Artists depict subjects in a more naturalistic way rather than an idealized manner.
      • Faith and interest in nature paralleled the new science and understanding of the natural world.
      • Deeper understanding of human anatomy
    • Baroque Artist
      • Michelangelo Caravaggio (Italian)
        • Known for contrasts between light and darkness, which created dramatic scenes
        • Works known to be theatrical as they draw the viewer into an emotional involvement in the work.
      • Louis LeNain (Dutch)
        • Portrayed still lifes and scenes of everyday life
        • Fascinated with French peasant life
    • Baroque Art and the Church
      • Painters portrayed biblical scenes and from the lives of saints intended to instruct the observer in religious truths.
      •  Baroque style became associate with Roman Catholicism and absolutism.
      • Gian Lorenzo Bernini
        •  Designed and oversaw the construction of a great tabernacle that stands beneath St. Peter’s Bascilica’s towering dome directly over the space where St. Peter is said to be buried.
        • Behind the tabernacle, he designed a monument to papal authority known as the chair of St. Peter.
        • In the Church of Santa Maria de la Vittoria in Rome, he created a sculpture of the Spanish mystic St. Teresea of Avila.
    • Baroque Art and the ideology of absolutism
      • King Charles I of England—who ruled in the 1630s without calling Parliament—hired the Roman Catholic Flemish artists Peter Paul Rubens to decorate the ceiling of Banqueting Hall at his palace in London.
      • Louis XIV’s palace of Versailles contains the most elaborate monument that symbolizes political absolutism.
        • Room after room on the interior was decorated with vast and dramatic paintings presenting Louis as the Sun King.
        • The Hall of Mirrors, which runs across the entire rear of the palace, allowed for a glittering and elaborate play of light whose purpose was to reflect the power of the monarch.



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The Scientific Revolution study guide summary

The Scientific Revolution
Prior to the Scientific Revolution, Europe and most of the world believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the sun, planets and stars revolved around it. This was known as the geocentric model of the universe. However, there were numerous inconsistencies observed by scientists with regard to this theory but most scientists continued to try and explain the inconsistencies rather than investigate the theory itself.
During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church and the political structure reinforced the lack of scientific investigation. The Church focused everyone’s attention on salvation. The lives of the people were mainly concerned with eternal salvation and military conquests. The Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation changed Europe dramatically and caused people to begin to question many theories that were before considered to be explained by religion. The growth of universities gave structure to questions about the world, and learned Europeans began to examine the outside world much more closely and this caused a new revolution in science.

  1. What is Geocentric?


  1. How did the Renaissance and Reformation cause the Scientific Revolution?


The Copernican Revolution
In the 16th century, a Polish mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus presented the first challenge to the geocentric theory. He claimed that the sun stood at the center of the universe and that the earth moved around the sun. He worked for twenty-five years to develop what he called the heliocentric model, or sun-centered. In 1543, the year of his death, his book, On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, was published. Many scientists, and both Protestant and Catholic churchmen denounced Copernicus’s theory, charging that it was illogical, unbiblical, and un-Christian.
In 1632, Galileo Galilei published his book. He wrote the work in Italian in order to reach a wide audience. Galileo was quick to defend his work; he showed how the rotation of the earth on its axis produced the rotation of the heavens. He was able to say this because he used the telescope to document his findings. The Roman Catholic Church supported the geocentric theory, and would have tolerated the heliocentric model as a hypothesis, not as proven fact. Galileo proved his theories and the Church quickly summoned him before the Inquisition in Rome. He was charged with teaching a doctrine contrary to Holy Scripture and he was forcefully compelled to recant. His book was placed on the Index of Forbidden Works and remained there until 1822. 

  1. What is heliocentric? Why did the Church claim Copernicus’s theory to be incorrect?


  1. How did Galileo prove the heliocentric theory? Why was he summoned to Rome?


The Scientific Method
Under the scientific method, one had to prove what the mind concluded, document it, demonstrate it for others, and open it up to experimentation. At its highest stage, the scientific method required that any underlying principles be proven with mathematical precision. There were many contributors to the Scientific Revolution. The revolution started with Copernicus and spread throughout Europe. Tycho Brahe built Europe’s most modern astronomical laboratory where he and his associates collected data about the planets and the stars.
Francis Bacon published works on inductive logic. This method involved experimentation, and the systematic collection and analysis of data. Johannes Kepler developed the three laws of planetary motion. His main point was that the earth and the other planets revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits. He used mathematics and observation to develop these laws.
Rene Descartes promoted the deductive method, whatever could be doubted must be rejected. He resolves to trust only that which is clearly and distinctly seen to be beyond any doubt. In this manner, Descartes peels away the layers of beliefs and opinions that clouded his view of the truth. He began doubting all authorities and all knowledge, both scientific and religious, until he was left with one thing he could not doubt: his own existence, “I think, therefore I am.”  Isaac Newton invented calculus to prove the theories of Copernicus, Galileo, Bacon and others. He also developed the law of universal gravitation in his work Principia Mathematica in1687.
All these men and others developed a widely used system of observation, reason, experiment, and mathematical proof that could be applied to every conceivable scientific inquiry. With precise scientific instruments, like the microscope and the telescope, a scientist could retest many theories and prove them as fact.

  1. What is the scientific method?


  1. Why are these men important?


Other Improvements of the Scientific Revolution
Zacharias Jansen invented the first microscope. Evangelista Torricelli developed the first mercury barometer. This tool was developed to measure atmospheric pressure and predicting weather. Gabriel Fahrenheit developed the first thermometer to use mercury in glass. His studies showed water freezing at 32 degrees. Anders Celsius developed another thermometer using a different scale. His studies showed water freezing at 0 degrees.
There were also many medical improvements. Andreas Vesalius studied human anatomy and published a book that detailed the insides of the human body including organs, bones and muscles. William Harvey also studied anatomy where he showed that the heart acted like the pump to circulate the blood. Edward Jenner introduced the first vaccine to prevent smallpox. Robert Boyle considered modern father of chemistry, challenged Aristotle’s ideas. Boyle said that matter was made up of smaller primary particles that joined together in different ways. Boyle’s law, how the volume, temperature, and pressure of gas affect each other.

  1. What were some important new inventions and medical improvements of the time?


Copernicus: On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres

Copernicus began a revolution in astronomy when he argued that the sun and not the earth was the center of the universe. Expecting controversy and scorn, Copernicus hesitated to publish the work in which he put forth his heliocentric theory. He finally relented, however, and managed to see a copy of it before he died.

“For a long time, then, I reflected on this confusion in the astronomical traditions concerning the derivation of the motion of the universe’s spheres. I began to be annoyed that the movements of the world machine, created for our sake by the best and most systematic Artisan of all [God], were not understood with greater certainty by the philosophers, who otherwise examined so precisely the most insignificant trifles of this world. For this reason I undertook the task of rereading the works of all the philosophers which I could obtain to learn whether anyone had ever proposed other motions of the universe’s spheres than those expounded by the teachers of astronomy at the schools. And in fact first I found Cicero; he supposed the earth to move. Later I also discovered in Plutarch that certain others were of this opinion. I have decided to set his words down here, so they may be available to everyone:
‘Some think the earth remains at rest. But Philolaus the Pythagorean believes that, like the sun and moon, it revolves around the fire in an oblique circle. Heraclides of Pontus and Ecphantus the Pythagorean make the earth move, not in a progressive motion, but like a wheel in rotations from west to east about its own center.’
Therefore, having obtained the opportunity from these sources, I too began to consider the mobility of the earth. And even though the idea seemed absurd, nevertheless I knew that others before me had been granted the freedom to imagine and circles whatever for the purpose of explaining the heavenly phenomena. Hence I thought that I too would be readily permitted to ascertain whether explanations sounder than those of my predecessors could be found for the revolution of the celestial spheres on the assumption of some motion of the earth.
Having thus assumed the motions which I ascribe to the earth later on in volume, by long and intense study I finally found that if the motions of the other planets are correlated with the orbiting of the earth, and are computed for the revolutions of each planet, not only do their phenomena follow therefrom but also the order and the size of all the planets and spheres, and heaven itself is linked together that in no portion of it can anything be shifted without disrupting the remaining parts and the universe as a whole…
Hence I feel no shame in asserting that this whole region engirdled by the moon, and the center of the earth, traverse this grand circle mid the rest of the planets in its annual revolution around the sun. Near the sun is the center of the universe. Moreover, since the sun remains stationary, whatever appears as a motion of the sun is really due rather to the movement of the earth.”

  1. How does Copernicus prove his theory of the heliocentric model?


  1. What is Copernicus’s conclusion?


  1. What kind of reaction did Copernicus’s theory receive?



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The Scientific Revolution study guide summary



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The Scientific Revolution study guide summary