History of Science

Topics: Scientific method, History of science, Science Pages: 32 (11148 words) Published: October 18, 2010
Science is a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world, produced by researchers making use of scientific methods, which emphasize the observation, explanation, and prediction of real world phenomena by experiment. Given the dual status of science as objective knowledge and as a human construct, good historiography of science draws on the historical methods of both intellectual history and social history. Tracing the exact origins of modern science is possible through the many important texts which have survived from the classical world. However, the word scientist is relatively recent—first coined by William Whewell in the 19th century. Previously, people investigating nature called themselves natural philosophers. While empirical investigations of the natural world have been described since classical antiquity (for example, by Thales, Aristotle, and others), and scientific methods have been employed since the Middle Ages (for example, by Ibn al-Haytham, Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī and Roger Bacon), the dawn of modern science is generally traced back to the early modern period, during what is known as the Scientific Revolution that took place in 16th and 17th century Europe. Scientific methods are considered to be so fundamental to modern science that some — especially philosophers of science and practicing scientists — consider earlier inquiries into nature to be pre-scientific. Traditionally, historians of science have defined science sufficiently broadly to include those inquiries.[1] Contents

1 Early cultures
o1.1 Science in the Ancient Near East
o1.2 Science in the Greco-Roman world
o1.3 Science in India
o1.4 Science in China
2 Science in the Middle Ages
o2.1 Science in the Islamic world
o2.2 Science in Medieval Europe
3 Impact of science in Europe
o3.1 Age of Enlightenment
o3.2 Romanticism in science
4 Modern science
o4.1 Natural sciences
4.1.1 Physics
4.1.2 Chemistry
4.1.3 Geology
4.1.4 Astronomy
4.1.5 Biology, medicine, and genetics
4.1.6 Ecology
o4.2 Social sciences
4.2.1 Political science in Ancient India
4.2.2 Political science in the Western and Islamic Cultures 4.2.3 Modern Political Science
4.2.4 Linguistics
4.2.5 Economics
4.2.6 Psychology
4.2.7 Sociology
4.2.8 Anthropology
o4.3 Emerging disciplines
5 Academic study
o5.1 Theories and sociology of the history of science
6 See also
7 Notes
8 References
9 External links

[edit] Early cultures
Main article: History of science in early cultures
See also: Protoscience and Alchemy
In prehistoric times, advice and knowledge was passed from generation to generation in an oral tradition. The development of writing enabled knowledge to be stored and communicated across generations with much greater fidelity. Combined with the development of agriculture, which allowed for a surplus of food, it became possible for early civilizations to develop, because more time could be devoted to tasks other than survival. Many ancient civilizations collected astronomical information in a systematic manner through simple observation. Though they had no knowledge of the real physical structure of the planets and stars, many theoretical explanations were proposed. Basic facts about human physiology were known in some places, and alchemy was practiced in several civilizations. Considerable observation of macrobiotic flora and fauna was also performed. [edit] Science in the Ancient Near East

Further information: Babylonian astronomy, Babylonian mathematics, Babylonian medicine, Egyptian astronomy, Egyptian mathematics, and Egyptian medicine

Mesopotamian clay tablet, 492 BC. Writing allowed the recording of astronomical information. From their beginnings in Sumer (now Iraq) around 3500 BC, the Mesopotamian peoples began to attempt to record some observations of the world with extremely thorough numerical data. But their observations and...

References: Plato and Aristotle. The School of Athens (1509).

Chinese gunpowder used during the Mongol Invasions of Japan, 1281
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