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The Scientific Revolution Essay

1140 words - 5 pages

The Scientific Revolution

A paradigm is one's world view in which one understands his place in it. Copernicus, Galileo, Vesalius, Linnaeus, Leuwenhoek, and Newton were all medieval scientists, whose work changed people's lives and the world. The way man viewed the universe in which he lived, the world of nature that surrounded him and even his own physical anatomy changed right before him. Scientists, like Galileo, disproved the heliocentric model as new instruments like the telescope were invented. The way in which man saw his own physical anatomy changed when Andreas Vesalius completed detailed studies of the human body. Due to these new, groundbreaking studies man began to view himself as insignificant and as a machine.

First came the Geocentric model that showed the earth as being the center of the universe, the sun and other planets were shown revolving around the earth, with heaven shown beyond the crystalline shell. It wasn't until Nicholas Copernicus published his writing, "On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres," that people began to question this idea. The writing was so complicated that the vast majority of the population of Europe could not understand its meaning and ideas that it contained. This writing stated that the earth was not the center of the universe, and the sun and other planets did not revolve around it. The writing did state, however, that the earth and other planets revolved around the sun. Since very few Europeans could understand the writing, it was not considered a threat to the Catholic Church at the time. To be safe the Catholic Church did ban Copernicus' ideas. It was not until an Italian scientist named Galileo Galilei published a book and redisplayed the idea of a heliocentric universe. This time the idea was expressed using simple language, and this time the Church felt an immediate threat. The Catholic Church believed that Galileo was mocking the Church-approved ideas of Ptolemy and their geocentric model. The Catholic Church sentenced Galileo to house arrest for the remainder of his life, but his ideas of a heliocentric universe remained strong. This idea changed man's whole view of his significance and place in the universe. Now, man was no longer the center of everything. Man was not as important as he originally thought. This also meant that the Church was not preaching the truth, and that the Bible and Aristotle were wrong. This raised questions about the validity of the rest of the Bible and Aristotle's teachings.

During the Scientific Revolution, scientists developed ways to make more precise and more reliable observations. The new scientists challenged the assumptions of past scientists. Zacharias Janssen invented the first microscope. Anton van Leuwenhoek used a microscope to observe bacterium and red blood cells. Galileo made the first thermometer using alcohol for measuring temperatures. Later, a German physicist named Gabriel Fahrenheit developed the first thermometer...

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