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Guiding Questions: Foundations of Science Module #5 Early Great Scientists and the Christian Influence Overview: In this section of the course we consider many of the first practitioners of science. We will be reading several chapters of Gribbin and a chapter of the Pearcey text. Gribbin shows many interesting connections among these early scientists during the first 100 years of the practice of science. However Gribbin misses (or dismisses) the fact that the Christian influence on science during this time period was enormous, many of these scientists were theistic in thought and practice, and many took seriously both their study of the physical world and biblical studies. Reading: Gribbin chapters 2,3,4,5,6 (pages 193-203) Pearcey chapter 4 Gribbin, Chapter 2, The Last Mystics 1 What two astronomers were transitional figures between the ancients and the science of Galileo? Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. 2 What two astronomical events inspired Tycho to be involved in astronomy? What happened to Tycho which resulted in his face being disfigured? An eclipse of the sun and a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. Tycho dueled a man who cut a chunk out of his nose with a sword. 3 What was Tycho’s book De Novu Stella about? What is a supernova? What was Tycho’s view about the earth? Was it a fixed entity or an orbiting entity? Tycho’s book was about a “new star” that appeared in the sky. A super nova is an exploding star. Tycho viewed earth as a fixed body, because he could not see any stellar parallax. 4 What was the significance of Tycho’s comet discovery? What did he discover about comets? He was the first astronomer to suggest a solution for the problem regarding what held the planets in place…what was his idea or solution? What did Tycho believe about the rotation of the earth? What experiment did he suggest would prove the earth rotates? He discovered that the orbit of a comet proves that is cannot be something that occurs near to earth and actually crossed the orbits of planets. He believed that the planets moved geometrically through empty space, unsupported by any thing. He believed that the earth could not possibly rotate, because if it did a stone dropped from a tower would fall to one side as the earth rotated beneath it. 5 What does Gribbin say about Kepler’s struggles with church rituals? Did Kepler leave the church or faith because of this? How did Kepler determine that there were six planets? How did his mystical view geometry play a role in his reasoning? He never found church rituals to make sense to him and so he worshipped in his own way. He believed in God, but never agreed fully with the teachings and rituals of any church. To determine that there are six planets Kepler nested the regular figures of Euclidian geometry into each other, with each figure surrounded by a sphere, these
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spheres were said to roughly correspond with the orbits of the six planets. This was a very mystical way of reasoning out the orbits of the planets because it had as a basis the
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