Part of the interest in The First Scientist
is the urge to understand the consequences
of the scientific revolution that started in Ionia around 600. It's effects permeate our life---they are everywhere.
One can also say that about the invention of agriculture or the first stone tools, but among the human initiatives we can date and assign to definite persons the SciTech tradition is possibly the one with most pervasive influence on life today.
So I keep coming back to the SciTech timeline---the sequence of thoughts and events that started around 600 BC which we take as our SciTech "Year One" = 1 ST. If you prefer, think of "ST" as standing for "since Thales".
To illustrate the year numbering convention used here: Columbus sailed the ocean blue in twentyhundred-ninetytwo (2092 ST) and the first demonstration of an electromagnet motor was in 2421 ST by Faraday.
Approximate lifespans will be shown here by midpoint (± halflife)
For instance, Faraday lived 2429±38, fewer digits to remember than with the alternative style b. 2391 and d. 2467.
Here't the latest version of the timeline:
3 ST Solon
16 ST Thales
of Miletus lived 16±39; systematic natural explanations; calculated height of pyramids and distance of ships from the shore; predicted eclipse that occurred in 16 ST.
22 ST Anaximander
of Miletus 22±32; Earth unsupported in space, “first geometrical model of the world...”; improved on Thales natural explanations. Nature governed by natural laws analogous to laws of a city?
70 ST Pythagoras
of Samos (±40); mathematical formulation of natural laws.
137 ST Anaxagoras
(±37); moon shines with the light of the sun, explaining phases and eclipses.
167 ST Socrates
of Athens (±35)
218 ST Eudoxus
of Cnidus (±28) detailed cosmic model with concentric spheres reproducing observed (e.g. retrograde) motions.
248 ST Aristotle
270 ST founding of the port city of Alexandria
which became a hub of learning and scientific activity; among Mediterranean cities, second only to Rome in size and wealth.
300 ST publication (in Alexandria) of Euclid's Elements
302 ST Strato
of Lampsacus (±32); performed physics experiments, noted the acceleration of falling bodies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strato_of_Lampsacus
330 ST Aristarchus
of Samos (±40); Inferred from observation that the Sun was much farther away than the Moon, and therefore much larger in actual size. Conceived the heliocentric model
. According to Archimedes and others, he held that the Moon revolved around the Earth and the Earth around the Sun, which remained stationary like the stars.
351 ST Archimedes
of Syracuse (±38) contributed numerous advances to science including the principle that a body immersed in fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. "His method was to select definite and limited problems. He then formulated hypotheses which he either regarded, in the Euclidean manner, as self-evident axioms or could verify by simple experiments. The consequences of these he then deduced and experimentally verified" [Crombie 1952, page 278]. Constructed cosmic models using gearwheels. For a later example which has survived, see:
Additional information in this as well:
He also got some nice math results, for instance in solid geometry, and calculated the value of pi.
365 ST Eratosthenes
of Cyrene (±40); calculated the circumference of the earth and basically got it right (accurate to within a couple of percent).
445 ST Hipparchus
of Rhodes (±35) Besides much else, he determined that the distance to the moon was about 60 times the radius of the Earth.
Starting around 500 ST Roman expansion (the Macedonian Wars) disrupted the Hellenistic east Mediterranean. Learning survived in dumbed-down version from which, however, it was eventually able to be revived.
1415 ST Muhummad al-Khwarizmi
(±35); Persian mathematician and astronomer, wrote a standard algebra text On Calculation by Completion and Balancing (al-Jabr wa'l Muqubalah
= completion and balancing) and a book on "Indian" positional notation that introduced decimal numbers to Europe.
1690 ST Omar Khayyam
(±42); Persian poet, mathematician, astronomer.
2092 ST Columbus' voyage
2200 ST Kepler
(±30) Stated his first two laws in 2205: (i) Orbits are elliptical with sun at one focus (ii) Planet sweeps out area in its ellipse at a steady rate. Third (square-cube) law in 2218: If you square the number of years that a planet takes to orbit what you get is the cube of its average distance from the sun compared with that of the earth. If a planet takes 8 years to orbit then it must be 4 times farther than we are from the sun because 82
2203 ST Galileo
(±39); in 2210 observed Jovian moons with telescope, in 2232 published "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems."
2275 ST roughly accurate measurement of the speed of light
by Olaus Roemer at the Paris Observatory.
2388 ST Pierre-Simon Laplace
(±39) "Celestial Mechanics" published in several volumes right around 2400. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Simon_Laplace
2429 ST Michael Faraday
(±38); first demonstrated an electromagnet motor in 2421. Much more. The idea of a field. Intuiting molecular structure. One of three people whose pictures Albert Einstein had on the wall of his office at the IAS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Faraday
2455 ST James Clerk Maxwell
(±24) published "A dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field." in 2464. Another of Einstein's three portraits.
2505 ST Einstein's Wunderjahr.
2515 ST publication of the geometric theory of gravity.
2546 ST semiconductor solar cell patented by Russell Ohl (developed for practical application 2554 at Bell Labs) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaic_cell
2611 ST present :)
Feel welcome to suggest additions!