Scientific Developments During the Renaissance Essay

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Scientific Developments During the Renaissance

Historians often refer to the renaissance as a Scientific Revolution. It was during this period that Nicolas Copernicus first suggested the revolution of the Earth around the Sun. This was groundbreaking, as previous to this it was generally thought that the Earth was stationary, and all the planets, including the Sun, orbited the Earth. It was also Copernicus' theory that directly led to the discoveries of Kepler, Galileo and Newton. It could therefore be argued that Copernicus' discovery was the most important of the Renaissance. However, the huge advances in the field of astronomy often overshadow many of the developments in other scientific fields, where the scientists Vesalius,
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We can therefore be sure that Copernicus hugely influenced other scientists; furthermore, his discoveries are paramount to the later development of astronomical theory by Kepler and Galileo. Copernicus' theory therefore, although disregarded at the time, is undoubtedly a significant discovery of the renaissance period.

If Copernican theory can be described as the greatest scientific discovery, then Johannes Kepler can arguably be described as the greatest scientist. Following on from the work of Tycho Brahe, Kepler was the first astronomer to use physics and mathematics to prove Copernican theory. He aimed `not to treat astronomy on the basis of fictitious hypotheses, but according to physical causes.' His first book, Mysterium Cosmographicum (1596), explains his first set of findings. As Allen G. Debus explains, Kepler was sure of a mathematical connection between the planetary orbits. After calculating their respective distances from the sun, it became clear to Kepler that the Sun must, according to mathematics, be at the centre of the solar system. His mathematical treatment of the orbits of the planets also resulted in three laws, describing the motion of the planets. The first was that the orbits of the planets are elliptical, not circular. Kepler first discovered this rule for Mars, and