Major Scientific Discoveries of the 19th Century

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Scientific knowledge expanded rapidly, and influenced the way Europeans viewed the world; perhaps more profoundly than at any other time in history.
Among these changes was Louis Pasteur discovery of the germ, which opened up a whole new world in health care. This led to Europeans using soap and taking showers more often, a huge market for antiseptics and disinfectants opened up, new methods for food preservation were discovered and used, the invention of the refrigerator, avoiding being around people who are sick or appear to be sick, people being much more picky about what they eat such as not eating foods that were undercooked, fell on the ground, or a bug landed in it, and much more effective methods developed to prevent wide spread of disease.

Another major development in 19th century Europe was thermodynamics, which investigated the relationship between heat and mechanical energy. Machines were the focal point of the Industrial Revolution. Thus the efficiency of those machines became a major concern to scientists and industrialists.

Charles Darwin challenged the idea of a special divine creation of each species of animal and concluded that all life had gradually evolved from a common ancestral origin in an unending "struggle for survival." This completely changed the way people viewed the natural world and led to Herbert Spenser said that the human race was driven forward by a constant specialization and progress by a brutal economic struggle. The poor were the weak and the prosperous were the chosen strong. Spenser’s philosophy became known as Social Darwinism, which was very popular with the upper middle classes. It later became the justification for presumed Anglo-Saxon superiority.

Many advancements in technology, medicine and human behavior occurred in Europe during this period. The 19th century gave witness to the Scientific Revolution and changed the world forever.
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