Why study the history of science

Kennedy as a young history student at college Why study history?

Why study the history of science

The ancient people who are considered the first scientists may have thought of themselves as natural philosophers, as practitioners of a skilled profession for example, physiciansor as followers of a religious tradition for example, temple healers. The earliest Greek philosophers, known as the pre-Socratics[29] provided competing answers to the question found in the myths of their neighbors: For example, that land floats on water and that earthquakes are caused by the agitation of the water upon which the land floats, rather than the god Poseidon.

This was greatly expanded on by his pupil Democritus and later Epicurus. Subsequently, Plato and Aristotle produced the first systematic discussions of natural philosophy, which did much to shape later investigations of nature.

Their development of deductive reasoning was of particular importance and usefulness to later scientific inquiry.

Plato founded the Platonic Academy in BC, whose motto was "Let none unversed in geometry enter here", and turned out many notable philosophers. Plato's student Aristotle introduced empiricism and the notion that universal truths can be arrived at via observation and induction, thereby laying the foundations of the scientific method.

He made countless observations of nature, especially the habits and attributes of plants and animals on Lesbosclassified more than animal species, and dissected at least The important legacy of this period included substantial advances in factual knowledge, especially in anatomyzoologybotanymineralogygeographymathematics and astronomy ; an awareness of the importance of certain scientific problems, especially those related to the problem of change and its causes; and a recognition of the methodological importance of applying mathematics to natural phenomena and of undertaking empirical research.

Neither reason nor inquiry began with the Ancient Greeks, but the Socratic method did, along with the idea of Formsgreat advances in geometrylogicand the natural sciences. What Archimedes did was to sort out the theoretical implications of this practical knowledge and present the resulting body of knowledge as a logically coherent system.

Nor should it be supposed that by some trick of translation the extracts have been given an air of modernity. The vocabulary of these writings and their style are the source from which our own vocabulary and style have been derived.

The astronomer Aristarchus of Samos was the first known person to propose a heliocentric model of the solar system, while the geographer Eratosthenes accurately calculated the circumference of the Earth.

The level of achievement in Hellenistic astronomy and engineering is impressively shown by the Antikythera mechanism — BCan analog computer for calculating the position of planets. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.

Herophilos — BC was the first to base his conclusions on dissection of the human body and to describe the nervous system.

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One of the oldest surviving fragments of Euclid's Elements, found at Oxyrhynchus and dated to c. Theophrastus wrote some of the earliest descriptions of plants and animals, establishing the first taxonomy and looking at minerals in terms of their properties such as hardness.

Pliny the Elder produced what is one of the largest encyclopedias of the natural world in 77 AD, and must be regarded as the rightful successor to Theophrastus. For example, he accurately describes the octahedral shape of the diamondand proceeds to mention that diamond dust is used by engravers to cut and polish other gems owing to its great hardness.

His recognition of the importance of crystal shape is a precursor to modern crystallographywhile mention of numerous other minerals presages mineralogy.

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He also recognises that other minerals have characteristic crystal shapes, but in one example, confuses the crystal habit with the work of lapidaries. He was also the first to recognise that amber was a fossilized resin from pine trees because he had seen samples with trapped insects within them.

History of science and technology in the Indian subcontinent Ancient India was an early leader in metallurgyas evidenced by the wrought-iron Pillar of Delhi. The earliest traces of mathematical knowledge in the Indian subcontinent appear with the Indus Valley Civilization c.

Why study the history of science

The people of this civilization made bricks whose dimensions were in the proportion 4: They designed a ruler—the Mohenjo-daro ruler—whose unit of length approximately 1. Bricks manufactured in ancient Mohenjo-daro often had dimensions that were integral multiples of this unit of length.

In AD, Brahmagupta suggested that gravity was a force of attraction. Arabic translations of the two astronomers' texts were soon available in the Islamic worldintroducing what would become Arabic numerals to the Islamic world by the 9th century.

In particular, Madhava of Sangamagrama is considered the "founder of mathematical analysis ". The first textual mention of astronomical concepts comes from the Vedasreligious literature of India.

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The 13 chapters of the second part cover the nature of the sphere, as well as significant astronomical and trigonometric calculations based on it. Nilakantha Somayaji 's astronomical treatise the Tantrasangraha similar in nature to the Tychonic system proposed by Tycho Brahe had been the most accurate astronomical model until the time of Johannes Kepler in the 17th century.

Some of the earliest linguistic activities can be found in Iron Age India 1st millennium BC with the analysis of Sanskrit for the purpose of the correct recitation and interpretation of Vedic texts.

Inherent in his analytic approach are the concepts of the phonemethe morpheme and the root. Findings from Neolithic graveyards in what is now Pakistan show evidence of proto-dentistry among an early farming culture.

The wootzcrucible and stainless steels were invented in India, and were widely exported in Classic Mediterranean world. It was known from Pliny the Elder as ferrum indicum.

Indian Wootz steel was held in high regard in Roman Empire, was often considered to be the best. After in Middle Age it was imported in Syria to produce with special techniques the " Damascus steel " by the year They also have workshops wherein are forged the most famous sabres in the world.To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. Thus studying science lends itself easily to studying history.

And hand-in-hand with every lab experiment is the lab report – thus writing becomes a crucial part of science. Even study of language is a part of science as the scientific names of animals and many elements of the periodic table are Latin.

Why study history? The answer is because we virtually must, to gain access to the laboratory of human experience. When we study it reasonably well, and so acquire some usable habits of mind, as well as some basic data about the forces that affect our own lives, we emerge with relevant skills and an enhanced capacity for informed citizenship, critical thinking, and simple awareness.

Andrew Mendelsohn outlines the attractions of a fast-growing an popular field of study.

Why study the history of science

Biology —, 0 Academic publishers. printed in the Netherlands. ' 'Why Study History for Science?" JANE MAIENS'tranceformingnlp.com Philosophy Department.

My thesis is that history – both the history of science and the history of processes and objects in science – is an essential component of progressive science, that good science requires an historical perspective, and that pursuing.

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