Development of Science in History, Chronology of ScienceJune 28, 2021
Science, which is the common heritage of humanity, has reached its current high level of development at the end of a long historical process and through various stages.
Explaining the historical development of science by dividing it into certain periods will help us understand the subject better. The first scientific studies started in China and India, then continued in Egypt and Mesopotamia. In this period, we see that science is intertwined with mythology, religion and magic. In these geographies, the foundations of sciences such as astronomy, medicine and mathematics were laid.
Scientific activity continued in ancient Greece starting from 600 BC. With the influence of knowledge from previous civilizations, science made great progress in ancient Greece. In Greece, science was intertwined with philosophy. When we look at it, it is seen that the great philosophers of that period were also great scientists. For example, the first philosopher, Thales, was also an astronomer and mathematician, and one of the great philosophers, Aristotle, was also a biologist. The speculative explanations made by philosophers in the Greek world in ancient times, starting from the first reasons, were described as natural science.
When it comes to the Middle Ages, we see that scientific activity in Europe came to a standstill, especially between the 5th and 10th centuries. However, during this period, philosophers made intense discussions about logic. In this period, only religious thought came to the fore, science and philosophy could develop as much as religious authority allowed. While the dark middle ages were living in Europe, in the Islamic culture circle, M.S. VIII. and XIV. There have been significant developments, especially in the field of science, between the centuries. The reason for these developments is that the leaders encouraged scientific thought during the birth and spread of Islam. As a matter of fact, an intensive translation activity started in this period, especially scientific and philosophical works from Ancient Greece were translated into Arabic. VIII. In the translation and research center called Beyt-ül Hikme, founded by Harun Reşit in the 19th century; Aristotle, Plato, Galenos and Hippocrates etc. The works of the thinkers were translated into Arabic.
Harezmi (780-850) wrote Hisabü-l Cebr ve’l-Mukabele (Calculation of Algebra), which is considered the first algebra book in the East and the West. In this work, Harezmi gave solutions of 1st and 2nd degree equations and used the binomial formula in his solutions. He also found the decimal number system consisting of symbols by making use of the Indians. Harezmî, who also has works on astronomy, prepared an atlas with earth and sky maps at the request of Caliph Memun. Birûnî (Beyrûnî, 973-1051), who gained fame with his works in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, natural sciences, geography and history, claimed that the earth rotates around its axis in his work called “Kanun”. He made important studies on trigonometry in mathematics and found specific gravity values in physics. Avicenna (980-1037) is a scholar who has been especially productive in the field of medicine. His work “Kanun fî’t Medicine” was translated into Latin and used as a textbook in medical faculties in the west. He has also been regarded as the pioneer of modern psychology, as he suggested that diseases can be caused by both physical and psychological causes.
Scientific studies, which entered into a great pause during the Middle Ages in the West, XV. and XVI. It started again with the Renaissance in the 19th century. The Renaissance, which first emerged in Italy, then spread to France and Germany and then to other countries in Europe, is a period of rebirth in various fields of culture, especially in science and philosophy. This period, which is the transition period from the Middle Ages to the new age, brought the understanding of “individualism” instead of the “unified society” of the Middle Ages. Individualism; the state was influential in every field from language and literature to clothing. It brought freedom, liberty and humanism. The understanding of humanism placed human in the center. The place and meaning of man in the world was questioned. In the Renaissance period, with the individual and the mind coming to the fore; It has been a period in which scientific developments, technical inventions and discoveries gained momentum. In this period, science started to progress rapidly enough to get rid of the influence of religion and philosophy and change the living conditions and way of thinking of humanity.
We can say that the first scientific revolution in the Renaissance was developed by Copernicus (1473-1543). He adopted the heliocentric understanding of the universe instead of Ptolemy’s geocentric understanding of the universe. He said that the sun is in the center and the earth and other planets move around it. His views were proved by Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and Isaac Newton (1643-1627). In addition to the work of these scientists, very important studies have been carried out in almost every field of science. With these studies, XIX. Significant progress has been made on the road to the 21st Century Industrial Revolution.
This period, in which there were great developments in science, also brought philosophers to think about the method of science.