May 2nd, 2002
Was there a Scientific Renaissance?
(Or don’t read this unless you have lots of time on your hands)
The Renaissance has been defined as a rebirth of knowledge and revival of art and literature originating in Italy in the fifteenth century. This revival led to the revolution in the arts, which had an immense effect on the “understanding of the world of nature”. A revolution in physics and astronomy changed Western cosmology and greatly influenced the development of modern science. “Measurement, observation, experiment and classification” were beginning to be used on a much wider scale. Debus states that the period between the mid-fifteenth and end of the eighteenth century saw an important growth in “cultural and political influence of Western Europe over all other parts of the globe”. It can be said that science gets invented in the Scientific Revolution. The word scientia had long been in use, but it meant something like “knowledge.” There was no notion of a discipline called Science, and no one described themselves as being scientists or scientific. By the early 1700s, there were Academies of Science, and the word “science” had the specific definition we use today.
Posted at 12:15 am | 2 comments | Category: Essays, Science
April 5th, 2002
Why was Galileo’s Dialogue concerning the Two Chief World Systems condemned by the Roman Catholic Church? Was this confrontation inevitable or could it have been avoided?
The conflict between Galileo and the church is a well-known incident in history often portrayed as a battle between the tyrannical Catholic Church and a heroic scientist. As recently as 1992 the Roman Catholic Church admitted they had made an error in their persecution of Galileo at a meeting of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome, much to the ridicule of the media who interpreted this as obvious result which had taken a Papal commission thirteen years to derive. To fully assess the reasons behind the condemnation of Galileo’s Dialogue concerning the Two Chief World Systems we shall examine the events that preceded it’s publication and also the condition of Italy at the time.
Posted at 1:51 pm | 1 comment | Category: Essays, Science