World History



























































Scientific Revolution

In 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus proposed a radical new theory: That the sun—not the earth—was at the center of the solar system.

The Renaissance, the Reformation, the discovery of new lands—all these events opened European minds to new ways of thinking, and this included the pursuit of science. Galileo Galilei of Italy used a telescope to observe the heavens and prove the Earth was not the center of the universe. (The Catholic Church disagreed and locked him up.) Isaac Newton of England discovered the principle of gravity while sitting under an apple tree; he concluded that all objects in the universe obey the same laws of motion.

Galileo Galilei = an Italian astronomer who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. He was put on trial by the Inquisition for supporting Copernicus’ heliocentric model of the solar system.

Isaac Newton = an English scientist who discovered laws of motion and gravity; a leading figure of the Scientific Revolution.

Dutch shopkeeper and amateur scientist, Anton von Leeuwenhoek (LAY-vun-hook), built an early microscope and was struck with “wonder at a thousand living creatures in one drop of water.” This new world of tiny organisms challenged the accepted theory of spontaneous generation, a theory that proposed small creatures such as insects spring to life from rocks or air. Leeuwenhoek suspected eggs.

Anton von Leeuwenhoek = a Dutch scientist who has been called the “father of microbiology.” A moderately educated owner of a textile business, he learned how to make his own unique microscopes which offered unparalleled magnification. Using these microscopes, he made a number of crucially important scientific discoveries, including single-celled animals and plants, bacteria, and spermatozoa.

These and other discoveries amounted to a leap in scientific understanding in the 1600s that came to be called the Scientific Revolution. Printed books spread this new scientific knowledge along with the revolutionary idea that the workings of the universe could be explained by natural causes.

Scientific Revolution = a leap in Scientific understanding that took place in the 1600s.