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 consisting of the earth and ten spheres: the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Firmament (fixed stars), the Crystalline Heaven which imparted motion to the spheres around the earth, and finally the motionless Empyrean Heaven where God dwelt with the elect.
These spheres were generally believed to be solid and transparent, and the planets to be of a non-earthly weightless substance fitted into the spheres and revolving with them around the motionless earth. Beyond the Empyrean Heaven there was nothing. Thus, the universe was considered to be a finite entity with the stationary earth as its center. The contradiction to Ptolemy’s system was as the astronomers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries collected more data the Ptolemaic System was noted to have more and more errors. Copernicus revolutionized the idea of the appearance of the universe.
He stated that the Sun was the universe rather than the earth, and that the planets revolved around the sun not the earth. This system is known as the Heliocentric Universe. 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.
This discovering led to the idea that the Sun rotated as the earth rotated on its own axis as well as revolving around the Sun. Scientist did not only revolutionize astronomy but other fields as well. Philippus Areolus Paracelsus made his accomplishments while altered the field of medicine. Prior belief, provided by Galen, was that a disease was obtained from within and that it was caused by a disparity between bodily fluids, known as humors. Paracelsus stated that instead disease came from outside the body.
Because of this, Paracelsus produced medications, which could aid the body in its fight against a disease. William Harvey’s (1578-1657) ideas included that the function of the heart was to propel the blood in a circular course. He arrived at his views not only by an intricate series of dissections, but also by cautious studies of the movement of the heart and blood in a vast variety of living animals. Harvey publicly pronounced his results, in 1628, when he published Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus (Anatomical Essay on the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals).
Vesalius, Andreas (1514-1564), a Belgian anatomist made critical dissections of the human body. His works lead to the findings helped to correct mistaken belief prevailing since ancient times they laid the foundations of the modern field of science known as anatomy. He was employed as a professor at the University of Paris and the University of Padua and lectured concerning the anatomy of the human beings. He was one of the first scientists that stopped using animal corpses and started using human cadavers.
With these revolutionary practices the knowledge of the human body grew enormously. Sir Isaac Newton revolutionized the field of physics. One day when thinking of who the moon was bound to the earth Newton saw an apple fall from a tree. He realized that two were fixed to earth by a force known today as gravity. Most of Newton’s other revolutionary ideas are stated in his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) along with his Three Laws of Motion, including Inertia. Newton did not only limit himself to physics.
To most mathematicians Newton is considered the 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.