The Enlightenment Essay

1153 words - 5 pages

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the scientific revolution brought about a slow change in societies’ thinking regarding math, earth science, physics, and astronomy. Early on, new ideas about our universe were not widely accepted, especially from the church. This soon changed due to the hard work and perseverance of several scientists and philosophers who unbeknownst to them brought about an era known as the Enlightenment.
The Enlightenment, which eased into existence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries created a new way of thinking based on rationality. Scholars and intellects were free to debate and have informed discussions about such things as science, religion, and philosophy without fear of censorship from authorities try as they might. This is in contrast to the previous structure of society that prevailed in centuries past where fear of offending the church or government meant persecution.
The Enlightenment may have happened later in history or perhaps not at all if not for early notable scientists such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. Nicolaus Copernicus theorized that the Earth moved around the sun instead of the held belief that the earth was the center of the known universe. This was not necessarily a new suggestion, but Copernicus had the right tools available to give new proof that allowed for serious debate. His proof was loosely based on what we now know as retrograde motion which can be measured by observing the motion of other planetary bodies in relation to the earth.
Later after Copernicus came Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, who confirmed some of Copernicus’ observations. Kepler provided concise evidence of planetary motion regarding their path around the sun through mathematics and astrological observations. Not only did this reaffirm observations made by Copernicus about the Sun’s place in our universe but gave more insight into how the planets move around the sun namely in elliptical paths. Around the same time as Kepler, Galileo was making his own observations.
Galileo was first to have the use of a telescope to observe celestial bodies, which helped him greatly in making new discoveries. He was able to not only study the motion of other planets, but was able to observe the satellites orbiting those planets. Galileo also discovered an enormous amount of stars by observing the Milky Way giving way to theorizing that there is more to our universe then what was previously thought. Galileo later found himself in trouble with the Catholic Church for publicly announcing his findings, which went against the Church’s held beliefs of the Earth’s place in our universe. Sadly, Galileo had to essentially denounce his findings and was forced to keep his discoveries private for the rest of his days.
Sir Isaac Newton was the hero of the scientific revolution and his findings quickly propelled the Enlightenment to fruition. Newton was a brilliant mathematician whose...

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