What is History of science: Definition and 29 Discussions

The history of science covers the development of science from ancient times to the present. Science is an empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the universe, produced by scientists who formulate testable explanations and predictions based on their observations. There are three major branches of science: natural, social, and formal.The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3000 to 1200 BCE. Their contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to provide explanations of events in the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Latin-speaking Western Europe during the early centuries (400 to 1000 CE) of the Middle Ages, but continued to thrive in the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire. Aided by translations of Greek texts, the Hellenistic worldview was preserved and absorbed into the Arabic-speaking Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age. The recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived the learning of natural philosophy in the West.Natural philosophy was transformed during the Scientific Revolution in 16th- and 17th-century Europe, as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The New Science that emerged was more mechanistic in its worldview, more integrated with mathematics, and more reliable and open as its knowledge was based on a newly defined scientific method. More "revolutions" in subsequent centuries soon followed. The chemical revolution of the 18th century, for instance, introduced new quantitative methods and measurements for chemistry. In the 19th century, new perspectives regarding the conservation of energy, age of the Earth, and evolution came into focus. And in the 20th century, new discoveries in genetics and physics laid the foundations for new subdisciplines such as molecular biology and particle physics. Moreover, industrial and military concerns as well as the increasing complexity of new research endeavors soon ushered in the era of "big science," particularly after the Second World War.

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  1. F

    A Matter density crude estimates

    Liddle (2015, p.67) writes: "From the crude estimates that a typical galaxy weighs about ##10^{11}M\odot## and that galaxies are typically about a megaparsec apart, we know that the Universe cannot be a long way from the critical density." Was this fact (i.e. that the actual density is likely...
  2. P

    Everett and Gell-Mann at the notable Massagon(?) meeting

    While discussing at https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/why-is-there-no-consensus-about-the-meaning-of-probability-in-mwi.1059618/post-7054892 somebody posted this video: where Gell-Mann in a interview with Geoffrey West discusses the contributions of Everett. He says in the transcript...
  3. Frigorifico9

    I In what chapter do Mehra and Rechenberg discuss Pauli matrices?

    I am very interested in how Pauli found the Pauli matrices, so I read his original paper, but it didn't give me the perspective I wanted, so I went to Mehra and Rechenberg, but here's the thing, after reading Volumes 1, 2 and most of volume 3, I can't find any mention of Pauli matrices anywhere...
  4. Frigorifico9

    I When was the formula for the Stern-Gerlach experiment found?

    Today we know that if you make successive Stern-Gerlach measurements the beam of atoms will split according to this formula: > cos^2 (theta/2) And this is something people back then could have figured out, they could have done many measurements, plotted the values, and realized it followed...
  5. F

    Tusi discovering laws of planetary motion before Kepler?

    I was reading about the Tusi couple and read it "as a solution for the latitudinal motion of the inferior planets, and later used extensively as a substitute for the equant". Since the Tusi couple is related to plotting out an ellipse, did Nasir al-Din al-Tusi already discover the laws for...
  6. nsaspook

    History "The Lightning Tamers" (Nonfiction history of science book)

    A great channel. https://www.youtube.com/c/KathyLovesPhysicsHistory Kathy Loves Physics & History
  7. codelieb

    Classical FLP Original Course Handouts at The Feynman Lectures Website

    Hello, everyone. The first large collection of FLP-related content posted at The Feynman Lectures Website was 744 pages of FLP classroom handouts (including laboratory guidelines, descriptions of experiments, homework, quizzes and exams, lecture summaries and outlines) donated by one of...
  8. S

    Examples of really famous female physicists?

    Such as Lisa Randall, Fabiola Gianotti, Shirley Ann Jackson, Ingrid Daubechies, Donna Strickland or Jocelyn Bell Burnell
  9. C

    Is the Configuration of Magnetic Fields Only a Convention?

    If I understand correctly, the concept of electric and magnetic fields originated with Faraday and was developed by reconceptualizing forces acting at-a-distance. For example, the electric field concept was developed by looking at the force on a test charge in the presence of a source charge...
  10. Marco Masi

    I Example of a theory that was right after 20 years of failures?

    Is there a historical example of a theory that physicists all over the world pursued and developed in a concerted and organized research for more than 20 years without results, but then turned out to be correct? I get frequently as an answer the heliocentric vs. geocentric model, it took...
  11. DaTario

    I Probability Amplitudes and the History of Science

    Hi All, I would like to know who was the first scientist to use probability amplitudes in solving either math or physics problems. Best wishes, DaTario
  12. Sophrosyne

    Scientific law vs. theory, Newton vs. Einstein

    My son is taking a chemistry class in high school, and he was telling me this morning that their teacher had taught them there was some kind of fundamental distinction between scientific laws and theories. He said the teacher had told them that laws are just fundamental regularities observed in...
  13. ORF

    Detailed history about the discovery of "isotopes"?

    Hello I would like to know more about the history of the discovery of the isotopes, what there was before, and the short term impact on the chemistry and nuclear physics. Is this topic discussed in any book/review? Thank you for your time. Regards, ORF
  14. victor94

    I What inspired Dirac's formulation of quantum theory?

    "historically the Heinsenberg equation of motion was first written by P. A. M Dirac, who - with his characteristic modesty- called it the Heinsenberg equation of motion." Modern quantum mechanics/ J.J. Sakurai, page 84 Why dirac did that?, I didn't find any source. Any information about this...
  15. E

    B History of Error Bars in Physics

    I was reading an 1803 paper by Thomas Young (of double slit fame), "Experiments and Calculations relative to physical Optics". In it, he lists various dimensions of fringes of light and things. All without any error bars. It got me thinking, what's the history of error bars in scientific...
  16. M

    Classical Physics Textbook structured by History?

    Once in the university library I came across an incredibly fascinating physics textbook different from pretty much every other I've encountered. It wasn't for general readers, but (in my opinion) tailored for undergraduate level students. The philosophy of the book was to develop not only an...
  17. RabbitWho

    How attention affects perception - Mach and Stumpf

    This is a bit of a logic problem that should be figure-outable from the information At the turn of the last century there was a debate about whether attention increased the perception of something by increasing the clarity of that one thing, or by decreasing the clarity of everything except...
  18. T

    Recommendation for a book on history of science

    I am looking for a book on the history of science. I do not want one that is targeted to 'general public', in the sense that I want it to be more towards the academic community, i.e. more deeply presented and cited, etc. Are there any recommendations?
  19. DennisN

    History History of science, feedback welcome

    Hi PF members! I've recently been working on an image (see attached thumbnail) in which I try to include the most important/influential steps in the history of science. Now, I am very well aware that this is not easy (!) :smile:, and it will always be debatable and not without controversy...
  20. D

    Any recommendations for a comprehensive history of science in the world?

    Does anybody know of some good books on world history specific to science topics? I'm looking for a good overview from the dawn of civilization to today, though I'd be content with a history that merely goes to the beginning of the 20th century. Currently my best candidate is this...
  21. AlexChandler

    History History of Science Education

    I was wondering if anybody knows about the way in which science was studied in the past. For example, did the great scientists that we read about (Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Euler, Maxwell, Einstein, Dirac... etc) study Math and Physics in similar ways as we? Did they learn by solving example...
  22. N

    History Is Scientific Progress Linear or Exponential?

    Does anyone know of where I can find a model on scientific revolutions and technology on a timescale? Would you expect it to be linear or exponential?
  23. C

    History Historic science texts, and what they tell us about history of science

    So I have recently read a couple of pop science books on a common subject that were pretty cool. I wanted to make a thread to talk about them and see if anyone else had any recommendation of more reading on the same topic. The thing the two books had in common was that they were both about...
  24. C

    History History of Science to be re-written?

    History of Science...to be re-written? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_in_ancient_India Found this on Wikipedia while reading bunch of articles. It amazes me that many theories and ideas that we *Claim* to have been recent discoveries (i.e. 1400AD-late 1800's) seem to...
  25. K

    Help with History of Science Exam Question

    This is a practice exam question on a course relating to the history of science that I am trying out in order to prepare for my exam, but I am kind of stuck on this question. I hope somebody can help me out! http://www.geocities.com/asdfasdf23135/HPS1.JPG [Total marks: 7x2=14] I would...
  26. F

    History The history of science as represented by people's name

    hi, I am going to study the history of science (physics and mathematics) by reading the biographies of big names in scientific history because I think each of them do represent certain ideas of their generation. The name list inmy hand now is: Galileo --> Newton --> Maxwell --> Bolztmann...
  27. M

    History Modern view: a history of science?

    Hello everyone: Im doing a research on the history of "modern" physics theories (namely relativity and quantum) trying to understand its role in a more general historic proceses that gave raise to a whole explostion of cultural development (from psicology, to cinema, with artistic vangards and...
  28. marcus

    Rovelli history of science

    Rovelli history of science and some QG stuff at his site it is good to know about the history of science (truism---everybody agrees I think) for one thing it nourishes your skepticism because because you see in concrete detail how scientists have been on the wrong track so much of the time and...
  29. wolram

    History Important dates in the history of science

    A place to post dates that you think are important in scientific discovery.