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Scientific Revolution

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A very brief presentation of the basic philosophical underpinnings and Astronomical findings of the Scientific Revolution.

A very brief presentation of the basic philosophical underpinnings and Astronomical findings of the Scientific Revolution.

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  • 1. Scientific Revolution Science and Astronomy
  • 2. A Slow Revolution • From Copernicus to Newton is almost 150 years • A few thousand European scholars • Diverse opinions and intense debate • Results not widely known until 18th century
  • 3. Philosophical Revolution: Epistemology • Francis Bacon (1561-1626) – Induction: reasoning from facts to general ideas, – Limited to what is observable and measurable – Concerned that scientific claims not infringe on religious truth • Rene Descartes (1596-1650) – Deduction: reasoning from principles to specifics • "cogito, ergo sum" – Also: Cartesian Dualism and Analytical Geometry • Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) – Mechanistic Naturalism, Monism – "best of all possible worlds" – Stoic Ethics of Virtue and Equality, Secular State
  • 4. Scientific Revolution consists of three crucial elements: • Abandonment of traditional ideas; Creation of new categories based on evidence • Development of Scientific Method and standards of evidence • Presentation and Publication of Results for confirmation
  • 5. Ptolemaic or geocentric universe circular transparent crystal "spheres" (one per planet, sun, moon, stars) beyond which lay Heaven
  • 6. Making it work: Epicycles
  • 7. Copernicus: Heliocentric System • Retained Circular Orbits and Epicycles, but simplified • Emphasis on Fitting Data to Mathematical Models • Publication
  • 8. Brahe and Kepler • Tycho "silver nose" Brahe rejected Copernicus, argued for modified geocentric system. Collected best naked-eye astronomical data to date, including comet observations. • Johannes Kepler used Brahe's data to modify Copernicus: elliptical orbits eliminated epicycles. • Kepler's Law: "the square of the period of each planets revolution is proportional to the cube of its mean distance from the sun."
  • 9. Galileo! • Telescopic observations: features of planets, movement of the moons of Jupiter • Physical experimentation: created concept of inertia to explain astronomical movement • Studied gravity and pendulum motion as well • Published in Italian, not Latin • Convicted of Heresy
  • 10. Sir Isaac Newton • Physics – inertia, acceleration, action/reaction – gravity: inverse square law – Prismatic study of light • Mathematics – Calculus (simultaneously with Leibniz) • Scientific Method – Integration of Inductive and Deductive methods • Religious
  • 11. Ptolemaic system --> Copernicus --> Brahe --> Kepler --> Galileo --> Newton starting theory --> math --> observation --> math --> observation --> math
  • 12. • Background Picture: "Miyajima - Senjokaku Zodiac Spinner" by Jonathan Dresner, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jondresner/ • Aristotelean and Galilean gif images from http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/index.html

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