During the 1500s and 1600s, a grasp of brilliant people laid the foundations for scientific research as we understand it today. Some historians take into consideration the advancement of contemporary science the most necessary event in the intellectual history of humankind.

You are watching: How did renaissance humanism prepare the way for the scientific revolution?

A transformation in Thinking


The series of events that caused the bear of modern-day science is dubbed the scientific Revolution. It arisen between around 1540 and also 1700. Why would certainly the bear of science be referred to as a “revolution”? The prize is that science was a radical brand-new idea. It was a totally different means of looking at the world.

Before the scientific Revolution, many educated people who learned the people took guidance indigenous the explanations given by authorities like ancient Greek writers and Catholic Church officials. After ~ the scientific Revolution, educated world placed more importance ~ above what lock observed and also less on what they were told. They got knowledge by observing the world around them and coming up through logical explanations for what castle saw.

Understanding Science

Science is a particular method of gaining knowledge about the world. In fact, the word science originates from a Latin word meaning “knowledge” or “understanding.” science starts through observation. Researchers observe, or look at, the world. Through observing the human being they deserve to identify facts around it. A well known scientist when said, “Science is gathered with facts, together a home is with stones. But a repertoire of truth is no much more a scientific research than a pile of stones is a house.”

So researchers do an ext than determine facts. They usage logic to describe the truth they have actually observed. The explanations researchers develop based on these facts are called theories. Theories are not embraced on faith. They have to be experiment to watch if they are true. Scientists style experiments to test your theories. If the experiments keep mirroring that the theory renders sense, the concept is kept. If the experiments carry out not support the theory, scientists try a new theory. In this way, scientists learn more about the world.

As you deserve to see, scientific expertise is based on observations, facts, and also logical ideas, or theories, about them. Prior to the clinical Revolution, this method of getting knowledge to be uncommon.

Roots the the Revolution

Some the the main principles of science had been to express long prior to the clinical Revolution. In fact, some of the simple ideas of scientific research are ancient.

Greek Thinkers

Many Greek thinkers expressed principles that, today, we would contact scientific. The good philosopher Aristotle, because that example, wrote around astronomy, geography, and also many other fields. But his greatest contribution to science was the idea that civilization should watch the world carefully and draw reasonable conclusions about what they see. The usage of observation and logic, as you have just read, is crucial in acquiring scientific knowledge.

Another Greek thinker to be Ptolemy (TAHL-uh-mee), an ancient astronomer. He studied the skies, videotaped his observations, and offered theories to describe what the saw. Ptolemy was likewise a geographer who made the best maps that his time. His maps were based upon observations that the genuine world. Aristotle, Ptolemy, and other Greek thinkers were rationalists, world who looked in ~ the civilization in a rational, or reasonable and also logical, way. Throughout the Renaissance, Europeans studied the functions of Greek rationalists. As a result, they began to view the human being in a rational way. They started to think like scientists.


Preserving ancient Knowledge

European scholars can study ancient Greek writings due to the fact that of the work-related of others. Muslim scholars translated Greek writings right into Arabic. They learned them for centuries and added their own brand-new ideas. Later, the Arabic versions were analyzed into Latin, i beg your pardon was check out in Europe. This job-related preserved old knowledge and spread interest in science to Europe.

Other religious scholars likewise played a function in keeping Greek ideas. The Jewish scholar Maimonides (my-MAHN-uh-deez) studied and wrote around Aristotle, trying to unite his work with Jewish ideas. The Christian scholar thomas Aquinas tried to unite the work of Aristotle through Christian ideas. Various other Christian scholars studied Greek concepts in europe’s universities.

Developments in Europe

The Scientific change was not simply the an outcome of europe scholars studying ancient Greek writings. Breakthroughs in Europe likewise helped bring around the scientific Revolution. One development that assisted lead to the Scientific transformation was the expansion of humanism during the Renaissance. Humanist artists and writers spent lot of their time examining the natural world. This interest in the natural world lugged forward into the scientific Revolution.

Another breakthrough was a farming interest in alchemy (AL-kuh-mee). Alchemy to be a forerunner the chemistry. Alchemists experimented v various natural substances. Castle were ideal known because that trying to change other metals right into gold. Although castle failed at that, alchemists prospered in utilizing experiments come learn more about exactly how nature worked.

All of this developments—the interest in old Greek writings, the expansion of humanism, the experiments of alchemists—came together in the beforehand 1500s come bring about the scientific Revolution.

02 – brand-new DISCOVERIES

During the Renaissance, europe scholars eagerly read and studied the functions of Greek rationalists. Aristotle, Ptolemy, and others were viewed as authorities.

Then an occasion took place that led to Europeans come doubt some of what the Greeks had said. In 1492, Christopher Columbus cruised west throughout the Atlantic s in wishes of getting to Asia. Together a guide, he take it the map the the people that Ptolemy had created. Columbus never reached Asia because he ran into North America instead. Within a couple of years trips of exploration made the clear that there was an entire continent the Europeans hadn’t even known existed.

This discovery stunned Europeans. This continent was not on Ptolemy’s map. Ptolemy to be wrong. Monitoring of the real civilization had disproved the teachings of an ancient authority. Soon, european scholars began to question the accuracy of other Greek authorities. An ext and more, monitorings the europeans made did not fit through what the authorities had described. Together observations assisted lead to the scientific Revolution.


In 1543 one astronomer published a book that contradicted what a Greek authority had written. Numerous historians think the publication of this publication marks the start of the clinical Revolution.

Nicolaus Copernicus

The publication thought to have marked the start of the Scientific change was created by a polishing astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus (kuh-PUHR-ni-kuhs). His 1543 publication was referred to as On the transformation of the Celestial Spheres. Copernicus was acquainted with Ptolemy’s theories and writings. Ptolemy had actually written the the earth was the center of the universe and also that the sun and also other planets orbited, or circled around, the earth. For 1,400 years, civilization accepted this belief as fact.

As Copernicus studied the movements of the planets, however, what Ptolemy stated made less and less sense to him. If the planets were without doubt orbiting the earth, lock would need to be moving in very complex patterns. Therefore Copernicus tried a different explanation for what he it was observed in the sky. Copernicus asked, What if the planets in reality orbited the sun? Suddenly, complicated patterns weren’t essential to make sense of what Copernicus observed. Instead, straightforward circular orbits would certainly account because that the planets’ movements.

What Copernicus had done was practice science. Instead of make the efforts to do his monitorings fit an old idea, he came up v a different idea—a different theory—to explain what that observed. Copernicus never ever proved his theory, however the Scientific revolution had begun.


Brahe and also Kepler

Another important astronomer the the Scientific change was Tycho Brahe (TYOO-koh BRAH-huh). Brahe, who was Danish, spent most of his life observing the stars. In the late 1500s, the charted the location of an ext than 750 the them.

What Brahe did, however, to be less crucial than how he did it. Brahe emphasized the prominence of mindful observation and also detailed, accurate records. Careful recording of info is crucial so that other scientists deserve to use what has actually previously been learned. In this way, Brahe made critical contribution to modern-day science.

Brahe was assisted by the German astronomer johannes Kepler. Later, Kepler tried come map the orbits the the planets. However Kepler ran into a problem. According to his observations, the earth Mars go not move in a circle as he meant it to. Kepler knew that Copernicus had declared that the orbits of the planets to be circular. Yet Kepler’s observations showed that Copernicus to be mistaken. In 1609 Kepler created that Mars—and all other planets—moved in elliptical, or oval, orbits rather of circular ones. Here was a brand-new theory that fit the observed facts.

Kepler’s work helped prove Copernicus’s concept that the planets orbit the sun. In fact, Kepler became one of the first scientists to speak out in assistance of Copernicus.Kepler continued to examine the planets because that the rest of his life. His an easy ideas about the planets’ movements are still accepted by researchers today.



Galileo Galilei (gal-uh-LEE-oh gal-uh-LAY) was among the most crucial scientists that the clinical Revolution. He was the very first person to study the sky with a telescope. With his telescope, Galileo uncovered craters and also mountains on the moon. He additionally discovered that moons orbit Jupiter.

Galileo to be interested in much more than astronomy, however. He likewise was interested in such things as just how falling objects behave. Today, we use the hatchet mechanics for the research of objects and motion.

Galileo’s best contribution to the advance of scientific research was the way he learned about mechanics. Rather of simply observing points in nature, he set up experiments to test what the observed. Galileo to be the very first scientist to consistently use experiment to check his theories. For this, the is remembered as the father of experimental science.



The high suggest of the Scientific change was marked by the publishing of a remarkable book. This book, released in 1687, to be Principia Mathematica. Its writer was the English scientist teacher Isaac Newton. Newton was among the greatest and most influential scientists who ever lived. Newton studied and also simplified the occupational of earlier scientists. In law so, he:

reviewed whatever scientists had actually been learning,coupled it with his own observations and ideas, andidentified 4 theories that defined how the physical civilization worked.

Some the his theories have actually been proven so countless times the they room no longer dubbed theories, yet laws.

One the Newton’s laws is called the law of gravity. You may recognize that heaviness is the force that attractive objects to each other. The the force that renders a reduce apple loss to the ground and also that keeps the planets in orbit approximately the sun.

Newton’s other three legislations are called the laws of motion. They describe how objects move in space. Friend may have actually heard of among them: “For every activity there is an equal and also opposite reaction.” Newton proposed that the world was like a substantial machine. In ~ this machine, every objects monitor the legislations he identified. In short, Newton defined how the physical world worked—and he was correct. Newton’s laws became the structure of almost all clinical study till the 1900s.

Newton also invented calculus, an advanced kind of math that researchers use come solve complicated problems. Because that this, and also for his laws of motion, Newton is remembered as a great scientist.



During the clinical Revolution, scientists invented new and better instruments. These helped them examine the herbal world.

Around 1590, a netherlands lens machine named Zacharias Janssen designed a basic microscope. The first person to use a microscopic lense as a scientific instrument, though, to be the dutch scientist Antoni valve Leeuwenhoek (LAY-ven-hook) in the mid-1600s. Analyzing a fall of pond water through his microscope, he saw tiny plants and animals not visible come the nude eye.

In 1593, Galileo designed the thermometer. Thermometers are offered to measure temperature. Around 50 years later an Italian doctor developed a much more accurate model than Galileo’s.

The telescope was probably created by a dutch lens an equipment in 1608. The following year, Galileo developed a much-improved telescope that he supplied to do his important astronomical discoveries.

In 1643, the Italian scientist Evange-lista Torricelli invented the barometer. A barometer is a clinical instrument that measures air pressure. Barometers are used to assist forecast the weather.

These instruments—the microscope, the thermometer, the telescope, and the barometer—are very common today. In fact, you have actually probably offered at least one of them yourself. Yet when they to be invented, they were dramatic advances in technology. They offered scientists the tools they needed to make much more accurate observations of the world and to conduct experiments. They to be the devices of the clinical Revolution.

07 – THE clinical METHOD

Today scientists use a procedure referred to as the scientific an approach when doing their research. The scientific method is a step-by-step method for performing experiments and also other clinical research.

The scientific an approach combines Bacon’s idea that a systematic clinical process, Descartes’s insistence on proof and clear reasoning, and also the work of other scientists. Utilizing the scientific method, scientists have learned much more about the world in the few hundred years since the Scientific change than in every one of the countless years that come before. Because of this, the basics the the clinical method—observation and experimentation—are thought about the main ethics of modern science.

There are six simple steps in the scientific method:


1. Stating the problem. The difficulty is often a question that starts with why. For example, Copernicus’s trouble today would certainly be stated, “Why do the planets move as castle do?”

2. Collection information. This deserve to involve reading what other scientists have actually written and also making observations.

3. Developing a hypothesis. A theory is a equipment that the scientist proposes to resolve the problem. A hypothesis differs from a theory in that a hypothesis has actually not however been tested.

4. Trial and error the theory by performing experiments.

5. Record and analyzing data gathered native the experiments.

6. Drawing conclusions indigenous the data collected.

After scientists have concluded their experiments, they generally publish their results. This sharing of ideas is very important for two reasons. First, publishing results allows other scientiststry come reproduce the experiments. By reproducing experiments, scientists deserve to determine whether the results are the same. If lock are, they deserve to be reasonably sure that the outcomes are accurate. Second, publishing outcomes spreads clinical knowledge. New scientific knowledge builds on previous knowledge. Sir Isaac Newton once wrote, “If I have seen more it is by stand on the shoulders that Giants.”


Some that the many important results of the Scientific revolution had nothing to carry out with science at all. As soon as philosophers began applying scientific thought to other locations of human being life, they come up through some startling new ideas.

The strength of Reason

By the finish of the clinical Revolution, one point had become clear to plenty of European thinkers: person reason, or logical thought, to be a an effective tool. After all, researchers using reason had made numerous discoveries around the world in a relatively short time. Due to the fact that reason had proven itself as a method to learn some of nature’s great secrets, might reason additionally be provided to solve the troubles facing people? Philosophers decided to use reason when they considered society’s difficulties like poverty and also war, or what kind of government is best. This usage of reason to take into consideration the problems of society led theorists to look in ~ the world in a new way. They believed they could use reason to determine just how to boost society.

Democratic Ideas

One way in which researchers thought they might improve culture was by changing its government. Scientists’ usage of reason and also logic throughout the Scientific change helped pave the method for the beginnings of autonomous thought in Europe. As scientists prefer Sir Isaac Newton studied the world, they found laws that governed nature. In time, part scientists began to think the there have to be legislations that administer human actions as well. Once civilization learned what these legislations were, the researchers argued, they could improve their lives and also their societies. Yet the idea the people’s stays were governed by laws had actually a deeper an interpretation as well. If all civilization were administer by the same laws, then it was standing to factor that all human being must be equal. This idea the the equality of all civilization was a fundamental step in the advance of democratic concepts in Europe.

09 – SCIENCE and also RELIGION

The roman Catholic Church to be a an effective force in Europe throughout the time that the clinical Revolution. The birth and also growth of science brought about conflicts between scientists and the Church.

Reason because that Conflict

There were 2 related components to the conflict in between science and also the Church. The first was the the new science was putting forth concepts that contradicted Church teachings. For example, Copernicus’s idea that the planet orbited the sunlight contradicted the Church teaching the the earth was in ~ the facility of the universe.

A second component of the dispute was pertained to the first. When human being contradicted the Church’s teachings, they weakened the Church. Church officials were afraid that questioning also one Church teaching might lead to much more and an ext questions around the Church. People might also start come doubt key elements the the faith. Church officials feared this would weaken the Church’s influence.

The attempt of Galileo

The conflict in between science and also the Church was illustrated by a trial. Galileo released a publication that sustained the check out that the planets orbit the sun. For this, he was placed on trial by the Inquisition, a Church court the investigated human being who questioned Church authority. Catholic public representative insisted that Galileo publicly reject his findings and also accept Catholic teachings the the earth was the facility of the universe and also did no move. Under threat of torture, Galileo agreed. Still, legend has actually it that together Galileo left his trial, he muttered, “And however it go move.” Although the is remembered for opposing this Church teaching, Galileo to be a devout Catholic. He believed that testing was a search for an understanding of oh my gosh creation.

Knowledge and Belief

Many the the scientists you have been reading around held views similar to Galileo’s. For the researchers of the scientific Revolution, science and traditional religious beliefs can exist at the same time. Nicolaus Copernicus served as a Church official. Teacher Isaac Newton experienced a close connection between science and also religion. For example, Newton thought that all forces in nature were actions directed by God.

See more: Watch Katy Perry Wardrobe Malfunction On 'Idol', Wardrobe Malfunction!

Despite the conflicts, science developed rapidly ~ the clinical Revolution. Scientists made—and continue to make—countless discoveries. Scientific expertise has adjusted human life dramatically and touches her life every day. Therefore, the Scientific transformation ranks as one of the many influential events in history.