The Scientific Revolution

By: Zaynah Bashir

What was the change?

From the 5th to the 15th century, now known as the Middle Ages, there was little scientific inquiry. Before the Scientific Revolution, the Catholic Church accepted the teachings of ancient Greeks and Romans, such as Aristotle (as seen in the picture on the right). This also meant that the citizens accepted the inaccurate teachings of the past, due to remaining loyal to the Church. The Scientific Revolution was a change in thought caused by scholars replacing old assumptions and erroneous beliefs with new and proved theories. It was a period of time in which breakthrough discoveries were made and the traditional beliefs in Europe were questioned. The Scientific Revolution changed the way people thought about the natural and physical world around them.

Who were the people associated with the change?

Some of the most noticeable people in the Scientific Revolution are Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543), Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), and Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Prior to the Scientific Revolution, Aristotle created the Geocentric Theory. The Geocentric Theory was an assumption that the Earth was the center of the universe. The Church accepted this theory because after all, the Bible did state that God placed the Earth at the center of the universe because it was meant to be the heart of creation. This assumption was accepted until the 17th century when Nicolas Copernicus challenged it. Copernicus developed the Heliocentric Theory, which stated that the Sun is the center of the universe and the Earth revolves around it. Despite his calculations, both the scholars and the Church continued to believe Aristotle's work. Following this, Johannes Kepler not only proved the Heliocentric Theory, but furthered Copernicus' work by creating the Three Laws of Planetary Motion. Not long after, Galileo Galilei proved not only Kepler's work correct, but proved Aristotle's work wrong, as well as studied the laws of gravity and motion. Another major person associated with the Scientific Revolution was Sir Francis Bacon. Sir Francis Bacon was responsible for inventing the Scientific Method, which is a way to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and performing experiments. Lastly, Isaac Newton was also one of the many people who left their mark on the Scientific Revolution. Newton built upon the earlier workings of Copernicus and Galileo and used mathematics to describe gravity as the force that keeps planets revolving around the Sun. Newton also proved that gravity cause objects to fall to the Earth. These are just a few of the numerous people who were associated with the Scientific Revolution.

How did the change impact the society at the time?

During the Scientific Revolution, religion dominated the majority of people's lives. This made it extremely hard for people to transition from the assumptions that the Church had preserved an acceptance for, to believing facts that scientists had discovered and proven. The Church didn't like the scientists or the people who agreed with the scientists because they were going against the Church by saying that the Church's beliefs were incorrect. This led to a loss of traditional faith during this time period. An example of when the Church didn't approve the change was when the Church didn't agree with Galileo's research. They threatened to punish him if he continued and forced him to sign a confession stating that his work was wrong and that the Church was right. Not only this, but they placed him under house arrest for the remainder of his life. Overall, the change impacted the society at the time because it was a transition from the Church to science.

How is that change evident in today's modern society?

The Scientific Revolution has impacted today's modern society in numerous ways. In general, it has changed our views. If the Scientific Revolution had not occurred, we wouldn't look at the world around us in the same way. Because of the Scientific Revolution, we have the Heliocentric Theory, the Scientific Method, mathematical principles of natural philosophy, the Law of Universal Gravitation, the Three Laws of Planetary Motion, improvements in medicine, and increased knowledge in general. Because of the Scientific Revolution, people no longer blindly follow the beliefs and assumptions of the past. Now, people look to the new ideas of the future that make logical and mathematical sense.