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In contrast, the Byzantine Empire resisted the attacks from invaders, and preserved and improved upon the learning. John Philoponus , a Byzantine scholar in the s, questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics and to note its flaws. During late antiquity and the early Middle Ages , the Aristotelian approach to inquiries on natural phenomena was used. Aristotle's four causes prescribed that four "why" questions should be answered in order to explain things scientifically.

However, the general fields of science or " natural philosophy " as it was called and much of the general knowledge from the ancient world remained preserved through the works of the early Latin encyclopedists like Isidore of Seville.

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Another original work that gained influence in this period was Ptolemy 's Almagest , which contains a geocentric description of the solar system. During late antiquity, in the Byzantine empire many Greek classical texts were preserved. Many Syriac translations were done by groups such as the Nestorians and Monophysites.

The Creativity Crisis: It’s Getting Worse

Al-Kindi — was the first of the Muslim Peripatetic philosophers, and is known for his efforts to introduce Greek and Hellenistic philosophy to the Arab world. Ibn al-Haytham Alhazen , as well as his predecessor Ibn Sahl , was familiar with Ptolemy's Optics , and used experiments as a means to gain knowledge.

Furthermore, doctors and alchemists such as the Persians Avicenna and Al-Razi also greatly developed the science of Medicine with the former writing the Canon of Medicine , a medical encyclopedia used until the 18th century and the latter discovering multiple compounds like alcohol.

Avicenna's canon is considered to be one of the most important publications in medicine and they both contributed significantly to the practice of experimental medicine, using clinical trials and experiments to back their claims. In Classical antiquity , Greek and Roman taboos had meant that dissection was usually banned in ancient times, but in Middle Ages it changed: medical teachers and students at Bologna began to open human bodies, and Mondino de Luzzi c. By the eleventh century most of Europe had become Christian; stronger monarchies emerged; borders were restored; technological developments and agricultural innovations were made which increased the food supply and population.

In addition, classical Greek texts started to be translated from Arabic and Greek into Latin, giving a higher level of scientific discussion in Western Europe. By , the first university in Europe the University of Bologna had emerged from its clerical beginnings. Demand for Latin translations grew for example, from the Toledo School of Translators ; western Europeans began collecting texts written not only in Latin, but also Latin translations from Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew. Manuscript copies of Alhazen's Book of Optics also propagated across Europe before , [69] : Intro.

Avicenna's Canon was translated into Latin. The influx of ancient texts caused the Renaissance of the 12th century and the flourishing of a synthesis of Catholicism and Aristotelianism known as Scholasticism in western Europe , which became a new geographic center of science. An experiment in this period would be understood as a careful process of observing, describing, and classifying.

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Scholasticism had a strong focus on revelation and dialectic reasoning , and gradually fell out of favour over the next centuries, as alchemy 's focus on experiments that include direct observation and meticulous documentation slowly increased in importance. New developments in optics played a role in the inception of the Renaissance , both by challenging long-held metaphysical ideas on perception, as well as by contributing to the improvement and development of technology such as the camera obscura and the telescope. Before what we now know as the Renaissance started, Roger Bacon , Vitello , and John Peckham each built up a scholastic ontology upon a causal chain beginning with sensation, perception, and finally apperception of the individual and universal forms of Aristotle.

This theory uses only three of Aristotle's four causes : formal, material, and final. In the sixteenth century, Copernicus formulated a heliocentric model of the solar system unlike the geocentric model of Ptolemy 's Almagest. This was based on a theorem that the orbital periods of the planets are longer as their orbs are farther from the centre of motion, which he found not to agree with Ptolemy's model. Kepler and others challenged the notion that the only function of the eye is perception, and shifted the main focus in optics from the eye to the propagation of light.

He found that all the light from a single point of the scene was imaged at a single point at the back of the glass sphere.

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The optical chain ends on the retina at the back of the eye. Kepler did not reject Aristotelian metaphysics, and described his work as a search for the Harmony of the Spheres. Galileo made innovative use of experiment and mathematics.

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In Northern Europe, the new technology of the printing press was widely used to publish many arguments, including some that disagreed widely with contemporary ideas of nature. Descartes emphasized individual thought and argued that mathematics rather than geometry should be used in order to study nature. Bacon emphasized the importance of experiment over contemplation. Bacon further questioned the Aristotelian concepts of formal cause and final cause, and promoted the idea that science should study the laws of "simple" natures, such as heat, rather than assuming that there is any specific nature, or " formal cause ", of each complex type of thing. This new science began to see itself as describing " laws of nature ". This updated approach to studies in nature was seen as mechanistic. Bacon also argued that science should aim for the first time at practical inventions for the improvement of all human life.

Leibniz also incorporated terms from Aristotelian physics , but now being used in a new non-teleological way, for example, " energy " and " potential " modern versions of Aristotelian " energeia and potentia ". This implied a shift in the view of objects: Where Aristotle had noted that objects have certain innate goals that can be actualized, objects were now regarded as devoid of innate goals.

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In the style of Francis Bacon, Leibniz assumed that different types of things all work according to the same general laws of nature, with no special formal or final causes for each type of thing. During this time, the declared purpose and value of science became producing wealth and inventions that would improve human lives, in the materialistic sense of having more food, clothing, and other things. In Bacon's words , "the real and legitimate goal of sciences is the endowment of human life with new inventions and riches", and he discouraged scientists from pursuing intangible philosophical or spiritual ideas, which he believed contributed little to human happiness beyond "the fume of subtle, sublime, or pleasing speculation".

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Science during the Enlightenment was dominated by scientific societies [81] and academies , which had largely replaced universities as centres of scientific research and development. Societies and academies were also the backbone of the maturation of the scientific profession. Another important development was the popularization of science among an increasingly literate population.

Some historians have marked the 18th century as a drab period in the history of science ; [82] however, the century saw significant advancements in the practice of medicine , mathematics , and physics ; the development of biological taxonomy ; a new understanding of magnetism and electricity ; and the maturation of chemistry as a discipline, which established the foundations of modern chemistry.

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  • In this respect, the lessons of history and the social structures built upon it could be discarded. The nineteenth century is a particularly important period in the history of science since during this era many distinguishing characteristics of contemporary modern science began to take shape such as: transformation of the life and physical sciences, frequent use of precision instruments, emergence of terms like "biologist", "physicist", "scientist"; slowly moving away from antiquated labels like "natural philosophy" and "natural history", increased professionalization of those studying nature lead to reduction in amateur naturalists, scientists gained cultural authority over many dimensions of society, economic expansion and industrialization of numerous countries, thriving of popular science writings and emergence of science journals.

    Early in the 19th century, John Dalton suggested the modern atomic theory , based on Democritus 's original idea of individible particles called atoms. Both John Herschel and William Whewell systematized methodology: the latter coined the term scientist. His theory of natural selection provided a natural explanation of how species originated, but this only gained wide acceptance a century later.

    The laws of conservation of energy , conservation of momentum and conservation of mass suggested a highly stable universe where there could be little loss of resources. This realization led to the development of the laws of thermodynamics , in which the free energy of the universe is seen as constantly declining: the entropy of a closed universe increases over time.

    The electromagnetic theory was also established in the 19th century, and raised new questions which could not easily be answered using Newton's framework.

    The phenomena that would allow the deconstruction of the atom were discovered in the last decade of the 19th century: the discovery of X-rays inspired the discovery of radioactivity. In the next year came the discovery of the first subatomic particle, the electron. Einstein 's theory of relativity and the development of quantum mechanics led to the replacement of classical mechanics with a new physics which contains two parts that describe different types of events in nature.

    In the first half of the century, the development of antibiotics and artificial fertilizer made global human population growth possible. At the same time, the structure of the atom and its nucleus was discovered, leading to the release of " atomic energy " nuclear power. In addition, the extensive use of technological innovation stimulated by the wars of this century led to revolutions in transportation automobiles and aircraft , the development of ICBMs , a space race , and a nuclear arms race.

    The molecular structure of DNA was discovered in The development of spaceflight in the second half of the century allowed the first astronomical measurements done on or near other objects in space, including manned landings on the Moon. Space telescopes lead to numerous discoveries in astronomy and cosmology. Widespread use of integrated circuits in the last quarter of the 20th century combined with communications satellites led to a revolution in information technology and the rise of the global internet and mobile computing , including smartphones.

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    The need for mass systematization of long, intertwined causal chains and large amounts of data led to the rise of the fields of systems theory and computer-assisted scientific modelling , which are partly based on the Aristotelian paradigm. Harmful environmental issues such as ozone depletion , acidification , eutrophication and climate change came to the public's attention in the same period, and caused the onset of environmental science and environmental technology.

    The Human Genome Project was completed in , determining the sequence of nucleotide base pairs that make up human DNA, and identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome. With the discovery of the Higgs boson in , the last particle predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics was found. In , gravitational waves , predicted by general relativity a century before, were first observed. Modern science is commonly divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences , social sciences , and formal sciences.

    Each of these branches comprise various specialized yet overlapping scientific disciplines that often possess their own nomenclature and expertise. There are also closely related disciplines that use science, such as engineering and medicine , which are sometimes described as applied sciences. The relationships between the branches of science are summarized by the following table.