Live Chat
1-888-369-5603 44-20-7183-0318 61-28-014-8214

History of Science term paper

[...]
"The Growth of experimental science during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries gave an impulse to the study of the primary vehicle of all observations " light " and to the development of instruments extending the observing power of the human eye. The Renaissance artists had investigated optical questions in order to obtain naturalistic representations and to improve the perspective in their paintings. Then viewing instruments more powerful than the existing spectacles and magnifying glasses were sought for, a movement which culminated with the invention of the telescope and the compound microscope by the spectacle makers of Middelburg in Holland, Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Jansen, about the beginning of the seventeenth century. The scholars of the time--notably Galileo and Kepler - took up these craft discoveries and studied the theoretical principles which they embodied. During the seventeenth century attention was concentrated on the telescope, for it was of great use in astronomy and navigation, and its defects were less serious than those of the early microscope. However, the microscope was made and used by the scientists of the time. Galileo studied the anatomical structure of insects with the microscope about 1610, and his work was continued in England by Robert Hooke in the 1660's, whilst towards the end of the seventeenth century a flourishing school of microscopists developed in Holland. Galileo did not add much either to the theory or to the instruments of optical science. In principle his telescope was the same as that of the Dutch spectacle makers, consisting of a convex and a concave lens, though he improved the performance of the instrument. In contrast Kepler designed several new telescopes, notably the astronomical telescope with two convex lenses, and he founded modern experimental optics, just as Galileo founded modern experimental mechanics, and Gilbert the modern science of magnetism. Kepler formulated intuitively the inverse square law of the diminution of light intensity with distance from the consideration that light radiated spherically from a given source. Studying the bending of a light beam at an interface between two transparent media, Kepler showed that Ptolemy's approximate law of refraction, which supposed a direct proportionality between the angles of incidence and refraction, was true only for angles less than about 30"."
[...]

 

[...]
"An improvement to inland water transport was brought about in the 14th century by the introduction of lock gates on canals; new possibilities for transport on land were introduced by making roads of stone cubes set in a bed of loose earth or sand and by improvements in wheeled vehicles including (in the 13th century) the invention of the wheelbarrow. Mechanisation was attempted also with land vehicles as early as 1420, when Fontana described a velocipede. At the end of the 16th century wagons propelled by man-driven machinery and by sails were apparently constructed in the Low Countries. Flight had attracted attention in the West at least since the 11th century, when Oliver of Malmesbury is said to have broken his legs in an attempt to glide from a tower with wings fitted to his hands and feet. Roger Bacon was also interested in flight. Leonardo da Vinci actually designed a mechanical flying-machine which flapped its wings like a bird. An important advance associated with these improvements in methods of transport was the appearance of the first good maps in the West since Roman times. When accurate maps were added to the rudder and the compass, which came into use in the 12th century ships could be navigated effectively away from sight of land and, as Mumford has put it, exploration was encouraged in an attempt to fill in the gaps suggested by the rational expectations of space. The first true medieval maps were the portolani, or compass-charts, for mariners. The earliest known portolano is the late 13th-century Carte Pisane, but its relative technical excellence suggests that others which have disappeared were made before it."
[...]

 

[...]
"As with many of the inventions of the early scientific revolution, the invention of the first thermometer is claimed by multiple inventors and as such is a strong indication of the need for the device in the science of the times. The Italian scientist Galileo is believed to have developed a primitive temperature-measuring device around 1610, although it is possible that he experimented with such a device as early as 1592. The operation of Galileo"s thermoscopium was relatively simple. A tube containing air was inverted into an open container filled with wine. A small amount of air was allowed to escape so that some wine entered up into the tube. As the temperature of the air surrounding the tube increased, the volume of the air in the tube expanded. As the amount of wine inside the tube decreased, the difference could then be measured on a scale imprinted onto the tube. A decrease in air temperature had the opposite effect. Theoretically the principles of its operation were sound, but the instrument was far from accurate. First, since the liquid was exposed to the atmosphere, any changes in atmospheric pressure, such as would occur with an oncoming storm, would cause the level of the liquid to change in the same manner as a barometer. The relationship between air pressure and volume would have to wait until later in the century to be established. Second, the device must have been difficult to calibrate, as it was dependent on the volume of the tube and the physical characteristics of the wine being used. However, it is still considered one of the first attempts at thermometer design. One of the first documented uses of these instruments in scientific research is often credited to the Italian physician Sanctorius."
[...]