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The Scientific Revolution


The Scientific Revolution While the Renaissance and Reformation were taking place, another revolution in European thought was also occurring. It changed how people ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Scientific Revolution

The Scientific Revolution
  • While the Renaissance and Reformation were taking
    place, another revolution in European thought was
    also occurring. It changed how people viewed
    their place in the universe.

The Roots of Modern Science
The Medieval View
  • Before 1500, scholars generally decided what was
    true or false by referring to an ancient Greek
    scholar or to the Bible.
  • Whatever Aristotle said about the material world
    was true unless the Bible said otherwise.
  • Few questioned the scientific ideas by carefully
    observing nature for themselves.

The Medieval View
  • Most scholars believed that the earth was an
    unmoving object located at the center of the
    universe, known as the geocentric theory.
  • Common sense seemed to support this view. After
    all, the sun appeared to be moving around the
    earth as it rose and set.
  • It was also supported by Aristotle and

A New Way of Thinking
  • Beginning in the mid-1500s, a few scholars
    challenged the ideas of the ancient thinkers and
    the church, known to historians as the Scientific
  • The Scientific Revolution was a new way of
    thinking about the natural world based upon
    careful observation and a willingness to question
    accepted beliefs.

A New Way of Thinking
  • A combination of discoveries and circumstances
    led to the Scientific Revolution and helped
    spread its impact
  • 1)European scholars translated many ancient and
    current scientific works by Muslims scholars.
  • 2)Uncovering many ancient manuscripts showed that
    the ancient authorities often did not agree with
    each other.
  • 3)European explorers traveling to Africa, Asia,
    and the Americas were inhabited by peoples and
    animals previously unknown. These discoveries
    opened Europeans to the possibility that there
    were new truths to be found.

A New Way of Thinking
  • 4) Exploration also fueled scientific research,
    especially in astronomy and mathematics.
    Navigators needed better instruments and
    geographical measurements to determine their
    location in the open sea.
  • 5) The invention of the printing press helped
    spread challenging ideas.
  • As scientists began to look more closely at the
    world around them, they made observations that
    did not match the ancient beliefs.

A Revolutionary Model of the Universe
  • The first major challenge to science came in the
    field of astronomy. The Scientific Revolution
    began when a small group of scholars began to
    question the geocentric theory.

The Heliocentric Theory
  • The geocentric theory troubled a Polish
    astronomer named Nicolaus Copernicus in the early
  • After studying planetary movements for more than
    25 years, Nicolaus Copernicus reasoned that the
    stars, earth, and other planets revolved around
    the sun.
  • This is called the heliocentric theory.

The Heliocentric Theory
  • Copernicuss theory still did not completely
    explain the planets orbits. He thought they
    orbited in a perfect circle.
  • Knowing most scholars and clergy did not publish
    his findings until 1543, the last year of his

Galileos Discoveries
  • In 1581, a 17-year-old Italian student named
    Galileo Galilei discovered the law of the
    pendulum which states that each swing of a
    pendulum takes exactly the same amount of time.
  • This disproved Aristotle, who said it swings at a
    slower rhythm as it approaches its resting place.

Galileos Discoveries
  • In another study, Galileo found that a falling
    object accelerates at a fixed and predictable
  • Aristotle said that heavy objects fall faster
    than lighter ones.
  • According to legend, he dropped stones of
    different weight from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • Contrary to Aristotle, the objects fell at the
    same speed.

Galileos Discoveries
  • Without ever seeing one, Galileo successfully
    built his own telescope.
  • Galileo began to make observations which
    supported the theories of Copernicus.
  • This frightened Christian leaders because it went
    against church teachings.

Galileos Discoveries
  • If people believed the church could be wrong
    about this, they could question other church
    teachings, as well.
  • In 1616, the Catholic Church warned Galileo no to
    defend the ideas of Copernicus.
  • In 1632, he published a book supporting
    Copernicus theories.

Galileos Discoveries
  • Galileo was called to Rome to stand trial in
  • Under the threat of torture, he read a signed
    confession stating the ideas of Copernicus were
  • He lived under house arrest until his death in

The Scientific Method
  • The revolution in scientific thinking developed
    into a new approach to science called the
    scientific method.

The Scientific Method
  • The scientific method is a logical procedure for
    gathering and testing ideas.
  • It begins with a problem or question arising from
    an observation.
  • Scientists next form a hypothesis, or unproved
  • The hypothesis is then tested.
  • Scientists then interpret the data.
  • Finally, the conclusion either confirms or
    disproves the hypothesis.

The Scientific Method
  • The scientific method did not develop overnight.
  • The work of two important thinkers of the 1600s,
    Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes, helped to
    advance the new approach.

The Scientific Method
  • Francis Bacon, an English politician and writer,
    felt scientists should observe the world and
    gather information about it first.
  • Then they should draw conclusions from that

The Scientific Method
  • In France, Rene Descartes developed analytical
    geometry, which linked algebra and geometry.
  • He believed everything should be doubted until
    supported by reason.

The Scientific Method
  • The only thing he knew for certain was that he
    existed because he wrote, I think, therefore I
  • From this starting point, he followed a train of
    strict reasoning to arrive at other basic truths.

The Scientific Method
  • Scientists have shown that observation and
    experimentation, together with general laws that
    can be expressed mathematically, can lead people
    to a better understanding of the natural world.

Newton Explains the Law of Gravity
  • By the mid-1600s, the accomplishments of
    Copernicus and Galileo had shattered the old
    views of astronomy and physics. Later, a great
    English scientist Isaac Newton helped to bring
    together their breakthroughs under a single
    theory of motion.

Isaac Newton
  • Isaac Newtons great discovery was that the same
    force ruled the motions of the planets, the
    pendulum, and all matter on earth and in space.
  • This was the law of universal gravitation, which
    states every object in the universe attracts
    every other object.

Isaac Newton
  • What does an apple have to do with gravity?
  • Newton was sitting in the shade of an apple tree
    when an apple fell nearby. Newton began to
    wonder why apples always fall to the ground. Why
    dont the fall sideways or up? Newton reasoned
    that the earth must have a power that draws
    objects to it. This was the beginning of the law
    of gravity.

Isaac Newton
  • In his book, Mathematical Principles of Natural
    Philosophy, he describe the universe like a giant
  • Its parts all worked together perfectly in ways
    that could be expressed mathematically.
  • Newton believed that God was the creator of this
    orderly universe, the clockmaster who had set
    everything in motion.

Isaac Newton
The Scientific Revolution Spreads
  • Careful observation and the use of scientific
    method eventually became important in many
    different fields.

Scientific Instruments
  • The first microscope was invented by Zacharias
    Janssen in 1590.
  • In the 1670s, Anton van Leeuwenhoek used the
    microscope to observe bacteria and red blood

Scientific Instruments
  • In 1643, Evangelista Torricelli developed the
    first barometer, a tool for measuring atmospheric
    pressure and predicting weather.
  • In 1714, Gabriel Fahrenheit made the first
    thermometer to use mercury in a glass.

  • Being able to control disease is one of the most
    important developments of science.
  • In the late 1700s, Edward Jenner introduced the
    first vaccine to prevent smallpox.

Discoveries in Chemistry
  • Robert Boyle pioneered the use of scientific
    method in chemistry.
  • Boyles Law explains how the volume, temperature,
    and pressure of gas affect each other.
  • In 1774, Joseph Priestly discovered the gas,

The Enlightenment
  • Other scholars and philosophers also applied a
    scientific approach to other areas of life.
  • Believing themselves to be orderly, rational, and
    industrious, they thought of themselves as
  • They would become the leaders of a new
    intellectual and social movement called the