Headline Feb 07, 2016/''' THE INVENTION OF SCIENCE - *[STUDENTS]* '''



BELIEVE IT OR NOT but,  -around the long 17th century. just about the whole world was learning, curious. questioning, experimenting and figuring. 

*The whole planet-earth was but a student*. 

SO, SUPPOSE YOU had been born in 1500. You would have grown up on a globe that was, that was thought to be at the centre of a fairly small-

Coherent cosmos, in which every natural body had its designated place. And you would lived your life embedded in in a complex web of sympathies, antipathies, correspondences, and harmonies

Now suppose you were born just 200 years later. Your world be utterly different. The Earth would be in a motion around the  sun, a terrifyingly tiny dot somewhere in a universe of infinite size.

The witch trials would be retreating into memory and your local wizard more likely to be laughed at than burned. Science would be a commodity: You would get your by reading printed journals in coffee houses.

In a period when Europe underwent a number of profound, convulsive changes, this was perhaps the most important of all.

The relationship between humanity and nature was transformed every way, with consequences that people are still coming to terms with today. Since the mid-20th century this shift has been called the  ''scientific revolution''.

Explaining it is one of the most necessary, difficult and challenging tasks a historian can take on. Many have, and the curious readers can choose from a half dozen books that address different perspectives. David Wootton's is a redoubtable addition to the pile.

Mr. Wootton who has written widely on the history of political thought, brings the skills of intellectual historian to his subject. Admirably sceptical of received interpretations, he is adamant that going back on contemporary sources, both celebrated and obscure, is the only way to detect most of the developments that gave rise to modern science.

He is particularly interested in the appearance of new words  -terms that were invented or appropriated by innovative mathematicians, physicians and philosophers, like discovery, experiment, fact, evidence, theory, and, in the end, even science.

By looking in detail at when and how these were adopted into the sciences, Mr. Wootton claims to be able describe the advent of science itself with remarkable precision. 

MODERN SCIENCE was invented, asserts master author David Wootton, between  1572  and  1704.

It began the year that a young Danish Nobleman, Tycho Brahe, saw a new star in the constellation of Cassiopeia and was able to show that it shone far above the orbit of the Moon.

That should have been impossible   -who ever heard of stars appearing out of nowhere?  Brahe made astronomers confront the possibility that even the heavens could change.

He followed this up by inaugurating a sustained and painstakingly accurate programme of monitoring at his palatial observatory of  Uranborg, turning astronomy into Mr. Wootton calls the first modern science.

Other people went to produce one fact after another, making it all but impossible to go on believing the old truths. The phases of Venus, revealed by Galileo, were perhaps the most important, because they proved that a planet orbited the sun rather than the Earth.

Then Blaise Pascal, a  French  Mathematician   and  philosopher, showed that the height of mercury in a barometer reflected the weight of the atmosphere, not nature's abhorrence of a  vacuum, as claimed by Aristotle.

Issac Newton demonstrated that white light was composed of a mixture of differently coloured rays, overturning received understandings of light and vision. It was Newton's publication of this  ''crucial experiment''  and its many consequences in his  ''Optics''  of 1704 that set the seal on the new conception of nature.

In this short period  -just four generation-  a radically new enterprise had come into being. 

It was practical and mathematical at the core and based in a community that transcended nation, confession and language. 

It was dedicated to the continuing discovery and testing through experimentation of new facts that might not be true for all time, but would be reliable and robust.

And it relied on the printing press, a new technology. Established once and for all by the early  18th-century, this enterprise not only triggered the ''Industrial Revolution''  that created the modern world. but flourished essentially intact into the present time.

Indeed, Mr. Wootton predicts, it is destined to remain intact for good. for the simple reason that, as he puts it with emphatic capitalisation,  ''Science Works.''

Does Mr. Wootton's account itself work? Almost.

''The Invention of Science'' is full of insights, so every student, and even jaded scholars will find it fresh and compelling.

With respectful dedication to all the Scientists, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society:

''' Prince Of Science '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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