In conclusion, Jack Repcheck has really succeeded in his major purposes of writing this book. He has given a precise and in-depth human explanation of the events that led to the scientific revolution. He has explained thoroughly the political, human, and cultural factors that eventually paved the way for the revolution. The author has brought this scientific genius to life in a manner that has never been achieved in the past. He has revealed some of the little known weak character traits of Copernicus at the time of his major theories. Copernicus’s secret mistress and other scandals, together with his earlier intention to hide his work, are some of the little known facts about him that the author reveals in the book.
In addition to this, the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, which had always held that the motion of the universe was controlled by God, was now questioned by many. In response, this set the Roman Catholic Church as a natural opponent of the Scientific Revolution. This was because the new information contradicted the Church’s world view not because of opposition to new ideas or scientific exploration itself. Fortunately, the Scientific Revolution happened moderately over approximately a one hundred and fifty year period so society and the Church had time to adjust to the revolutionary new thoughts.
The Scientific Revolution took place in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It was not a "revolution" in the classic sense as it did not involve rapid political changes nor large numbers of people, but it was revolutionary in the sense that it completely changed people's way of thinking and their outlook on the world we live in. It was definitely one of the most important events in history as it marked the birth of modern science. With the Scientific Revolution, man became more curious about nature. He wanted to learn more about natural phenomena and the mechanisms of nature, and he also adopted a new method for the study of nature.
The first record of the movement of the planets was produced by Nicolaus Copernicus. He proposed that the earth was the center of everything, which the term is called geocentric. Kepler challenged the theory that the sun was the center of the earth and proposed that the sun was the center of everything; this term is referred to as heliocentric. Kepler’s heliocentric theory was accepted by most people and is accepted in today’s society. One of Kepler’s friends was a famous person named Galileo. Galileo is known for improving the design and the magnification of the telescope. With improvement of the telescope Galileo could describe the craters of the moon and the moons of Jupiter. Galileo also created the number for acceleration of all free falling objects as 9.8 meters per second. Galileo’s and Kepler’s theories were not approved by all people. Their theories contradicted verses in the bible, so the protestant church was extremely skeptical of both Galileo and Kepler’s
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were known as the Scientific Revolution. During these centuries, science was starting to answer many questions about the earth. Scientists all around the world were making their assumptions on how the universe worked. Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer that also had a theory. The Copernican Theory changed many views and had a great effect on society.
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.
Over the next 50 years Copernicus’s book would slowly make its way across Europe. In 1566 a second edition was published without the false preface. The church denounced the book and Copernicus for “going against the bible”, but eventually began to accept it and allow it to be taught. Copernicus’s work was profound and changed the direction of Astronomy. It dared to challenge the notion that the Earth was the center of the universe, and that heavenly matter was unchanging and perfect. Over the next several hundred years Brahe would observe, Kepler and Newton would pour over the numbers and they would find the Copernicus’s model had underlying truths, some flaws, but with tweaking and vigilant observations of the celestial motions it would be the basis that lead them to the model we know today. Bringing forth what we know as the Copernican Revolution.
Johannes Kepler was a German astronomer and mathematician ho discovered that planetary motion is elliptical. Early in his life, Kepler wanted to prove that the universe obeyed Platonistic mathematical relationships, such as the planetary orbits were circular and at distances from the sun proportional to the Platonic solids (see paragraph below). However, when his friend the astronomer Tycho Brahe died, he gave Kepler his immense collection of astronomical observations. After years of studying these observations, Kepler realized that his previous thought about planetary motion were wrong, and he came up with his three laws of planetary motion. Unfortunately, he did not have a unifying theory for these laws. This had to until Newton formulated his laws of gravity and motion.
When comparing the views presented by both Aristotle and Copernicus, one must consider the circumstances under which these men lived to understand the differences. The most obvious of these is the time in history. Aristotle came almost 2000 years earlier in the astronomy field. While Copernicus had set out to glorify the great religion of his time, Aristotle's views came 200 years before Christ was even born! Although the book gives the impression nothing of significance in astronomy happened in the time between Aristotle and Copernicus, professional astronomy was a developing institution during that time. For nearly 2000 years astronomers had been tracking and organizing and refining the prevailing thoughts in astronomy so that Copernicus could look at them and make his judgment. This touches on perhaps the largest difference between Copernicus and Aristotle; while Aristotle was a pioneer in his field and was bringing a whole new theory about to explain the world to the people, Copernicus was merely evaluating and analyzing other people's theories. In fact, some would say there is no such thing as the Copernican theory, but merely a theory Copernicus believed. The major point where Copernicus disagreed with Aristotelian theory—that the Sun was the center of the universe—was taken from the Greeks. Even after deviating from the Aristotelian view, Copernicus did not question any of the other elements, such as celestial spheres and divine circular motion. While Aristotle and his views revolutionized the thinking of mankind for nearly 2000 years, Copernicus was so timid he did not even publish his works until the year of his death. Finally, while the Aristotelian theory was embrace...
While working as Brahe's assistant, Kepler was given the task of studying and attempting to understand the orbit for planet Mars. The orbit of Mars was particularly difficult because Copernicus had correctly placed the Sun at the center of the Solar System, but had erred in his assumption of circular planetary orbits. After numerous experiments and mathematical calculations, he finally realized the obits of the planets were in fact not circular as Aristotle had previously insisted and Copernicus assumed correct, but in fact were more elliptical in shape. The fact that Mars has the most elliptical of all orbits that Kepler had data on lead to Kepler eventually formulating the correct theory for the Solar System. After Brahe's death Kepler was able to obtain all of Brahe's data and observations. Utilizing the voluminous and precise data of Brahe, Kepler was able to use his realization of the elliptical orbits of the planets to formulate his Three Laws of Planetary Motion, his most important achievement and the one history most notably remembers him for.
The Scientific revolution in the 16th and 17th centuries changed the way that people views the world. Scientific philosophers such as Galileo and Descartes threw out the old teachings of the church and challenged them with new ways of thinking. These men sought to prove that rational thought could prove the existence of God. They also challenged that it was an understanding of a series of rational thoughts, not faith, would bring understanding of how the world worked. Traditional ways of thinking were ultimately challenged by logical and sensible rationale.
Thomas Kuhn's book The Copernican Revolution effectively demonstrates how the conceptual schemes of science are constantly changing and being replaced. Kuhn was able to recount the past with diagrams, and full explanations of the different theories and systems that lead up to the Copernican revolution. He also gave a full explanation of the theories that followed. This book was surprisingly enjoyable to read, and should be read by anyone interested in the evolution of science and western thought.
This essay will discuss differences in motives which have driven ancient and modern science, arguing that 17th century alterations of power structures led to the ultimate division between modern and ancient science and the eruption of modern science as it is today. Comparisons will be drawn regarding knowledge accessibility, prevailing philosophies and ideologies, and the relationship between science and the church.