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Global Perspectives
Essential Question

Understand what the Scientific Revolution was and be

able to describe important innovations.

The scientific revolution occurred from roughly

the late 16th century to the early 18th

This revolution brought about radical changes

in scientific thought

The era is heralded as the birth of modern


The most important changes occurred in the

fields of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology
and engineering
One of the first great engineering feats was
the discovery of the mechanical clock

New trade routes from the east brought the

technology from China to Europe

Europeans did not pay great attention to time

For the most part they monitored the position

of the sun

They had sun dials, water clocks and solaria,

none of which are terribly accurate

People rose when the sun came up and went

to bed when it went down. Few lingered in the
The first mechanical clocks appear in Italy
in the early 1200s

The Church strongly pushed for their use

as they coordinated prayer

Soon they appeared everywhere and

became a mainstay of bell towers and walls

They became increasingly artistic and


Medieval clocks remain an attractive site to

see across Europe today where many still
operate as the did when first created over
500 years ago

Have you heard of Galileo? What were his greatest


The most significant change in astronomy

was the acceptance of the view that the
sun was the center of the universe, not the

Until the middle of the 16th century,

natural philosophers [scientists] subscribed
to the views of Claudius Ptolemy

According to Ptolemys observations in the

2nd century AD, the earth was stationary
and the sun, stars and moon revolved
around it

Ptolemys observations did not stop there

He observed that beyond the planets

existed a large sphere which carried the
fixed stars

This theory popularized astrology

Stars are fixed and rotate around the

earth, the center of the universe

Ptolemy also made observations in physics


He observed that the earth was made up

of the four great elements, earth, air, water
and fire

Of these elements, all things were made

However, Ptolemy observed that the stars

and planets had a fifth element, aether

Aether was an eternal element that could

not be altered, corrupted or destroyed
Ptolemys writings formed the basis of all
astrological thought for 1300 years

Many of his theories held until the late 18th


His first challenger was Nicolaus Copernicus,

a Polish cleric

Copernicus observed the night sky with his

bare eyes and concluded in 1543 in his book,
The Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres, that the
sun revolved around the earth

However he was very careful due to religious

philosophies of the time
Copernicus developed only a theory based on
naked eye observations

Proof would come due to innovations with


As far back as 3500 BC, the Phoenicians

discovered glass when they cooked food on

Despite such a monumental discovery, it

would take an additional 5000 years before
being shaped into the 1st telescope

The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all knew of

glass but made little use of it

Roman philosopher Seneca mentioned

reading all the books of Rome by peering
at them through a glass globe of water

Nero, it is written, observed gladiatorial

combats in the coliseum by pressing his
eye to an emerald

True glasses did not come onto the scene

until about 1000 AD when monks began
using a segment of a glass sphere placed on
paper to read

Years later, in Venice, Italy people put the

first glass lenses into frames creating the

Eyeglasses emerged between 1268 and


Centuries later, in Holland, Hans

Lippershay c 1570-1619 constructed the
first spyglass

He was a spectacles maker


The spyglass was very weak and was likely

never used to gaze at the stars

It was used as a gimmick, a toy

In 1608, Galileo Galilei in Padua, Italy heard

of the device

He began constructing his own for

scientific observations

Galileo spent many tedious hours polishing

glass lenses so he could achieve the
greatest magnification possible

He then did something unprecedented

He pointed it to the stars

Galileo first looked at the moon

Many believed the moon was completely


Galileo however observed that the moon

was rough, it had canyons, craters and

Then, by creating an ingenious refractory

device he observed the sun

Later he pointed it to Venus and then


As Galileo wrote down what he saw, he

began noticing many new things
He noticed that the moon changed over time

He saw that Venus changed shape, similar to that of the

moon during its various phases

He saw the sun had spots on it that moved across its


Jupiter had moon like earth but they would disappear

then reappear

All of these discoveries would made a major impact on

the scientific community

He proved that the Earth was not the centre of the


This breakthrough shattered classical belief and field

the Scientific Revolution
Essential Question

What were three of Galileos discoveries concerning

the solar system?

As important an impact Galileo made on astronomy,

perhaps even greater were his discoveries in physics

Physics as we know it today, is the study of matter

and energy, did not exist

What did exist was mechanics, the study of motion

and optics, the study of light

Galileos work in this field laid the foundation for

modern physics
Mechanics and its theories were 1st made by

He said that every objects motion required

something of another object to move it, once the
mover stopped, the object fell to the ground

However, this theory failed to explain why a

projectile remained in flight after being released
from ones hand

Galileo observed that an object lies at rest or

moves until something intervenes to change its

He also theorized that the Earth moves


Many protested that the Earth cannot be moving or

else we would feel it

Galileo went forth to explain that as a ship moves

through water the goods carried by the ship do not
move in relation to the moving ship

This insight explains that while the earth moves, we

do not experience its motion

Galileo also set forth the mathematical law of motion

This explained how the speed and acceleration of a

falling object are determined by the distance it travels
during equal intervals of time

As great and important as Galileos contributions to

physics were, the greatest achievements in this field
belong to Isaac Newton

As a farm-boy in Licolnshire England, Newton spent

much of his time building wooden models and

He was always mathematically inclined

One story tells of how he sat down to calculate the

wind and its speed in order to win a jumping
distance contest

It was soon obvious to everyone around Newton

that the only place for the boy was at the University

In 1661, Newton entered Cambridge University and

in 1669 he became a professor of mathematics

Newton studied math, biblical prophecy and natural


His groundbreaking book, Mathematical Principals of

Natural Philosophy, explained the universal law of

In his book, Newton explained that the same force

that holds an object to the earth, holds planets in
their orbits

Newton established that 2 bodies attract each

other with a force that is directly proportional to
the product of their masses and inversely
proportional to the square of the distance between

Newton, with this explanation of gravity, gave

scientists, A system of the world.

How did Galileo use science to prove that the Earth


At the beginning of the 17th century, chemistry had

little respect

It was not an independent disciple but part of

medicine and alchemy

Alchemy was the magical art of turning base metals

into precious ones

The most famous chemist of the century was the

Swiss Paracelsus

Paracelsus was one of the first to reject the Greek/

Roman physician Galen

Galen and Hippocrates held that the diseases in the

world were caused by an imbalance of the four
humors, or bodily fluids

They being, blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile

A persons illness was directly related to not having

enough or too much of one of the above

Doctors of the time prescribed dieting and blood

letting as a cure

Paracelsus refuted this belief and treated his patient

with chemicals such as sulfur and mercury

Paracelsus believed chemistry would provide a new

basis for the understanding of nature

Chemistry was further legitimized by English

philosopher Robert Boyle

Boyle contested that matter did not share the same

structure, contradicting the view that everything
was made up of the same elements

Boyle speculated that matter consisted of an

arrangement of atoms

He conducted experiments on volume, pressure,

density of gas and the elasticity of air

Using a primitive air pump, Boyle was able to prove

the existence of vacuums

With these discoveries, chemistry entered the stage

as a legitimate field of science

To Galen, blood originated in the liver where it was

made/converted from food

It then flowed outward through the body via veins

to nourish the body

Some of the blood made its way to the heart where

it was enriched with Vital Spirit

When the enriched blood traveled to the brain it

became the bodies Psychic Spirit which traveled
to the nerves where it influenced human behavior
Harvey through experimentation with cadavers
weighed how much blood the heart pumped in
every hour

Harvey demonstrated that blood traveled outwards

from the heart, through the arteries and returned
to the heart through the veins

Harvey could not however show how blood

traveled from the arteries to the small capillaries

This was later proved in 1661 through the use of

the microscope

His observations set the standard for biological


What was the Scientific Revolution?