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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER 18 Toward a New-World View H The scientific revolution A. The scientific revolution of the seventeenth century was the major cause of the change in worldview and one of the key developments in the evolution of Western society. 1. Only the West developed modern science; historians disagree as to how important to its rise were the nonscientific economic, religious, and social factors. B. Scientific thought in the early 1500s 1. European ideas about the universe were based on Aristotelianmedieval ideas. a. Central to this view was the belief in a motionless earth fixed at the center of the universe. b. Around the earth moved ten crystal spheres, and beyond the spheres was heaven. 2. Aristotle's scheme suited Christianity because it positioned human beings at the center of the universe and established a home for God. 3. Science in this period was primarily a branch of theology. C. The Copernican hypothesis 1. Copernicus, a Polish clergyman and astronomer, claimed that the earth revolved around the sun and that the sun was the center of the universe. 2. This heliocentric theory was a departure from medieval thought and created doubts about traditional Christianity. D. From Brahe to Galileo 1. Brahe set the stage for the modern study of astronomy by building an observatory and collecting data. 2. His assistant, Kepler, formulated three laws of planetary motion that proved the precise relationships among planets in a suncentered universe. 3. Galileo discovered the laws of motion using the experimental method--the cornerstone of modern science. a. He also applied the experimental method to astronomy, using the newly invented telescope. b. Galileo was tried by the Inquisition for heresy in 1633 and forced to recant his views. E. Newton's synthesis 1. In his famous book, Principia (1687), Newton integrated the astronomy of Copernicus and Kepler with the physics of Galileo. a. He formulated a set of mathematical laws to explain motion and mechanics. b. The key feature in his synthesis was the law of universal gravitation. 2. Henceforth, the universe could be explained through mathematics. F. Causes of the scientific revolution 1. The scientific revolution was the product of individual genius--such as Newton building on the works of Copernicus and others. 2. Also, medieval universities provided the framework for the new science....
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