The History of Physics Essay

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The History of Physics

In order to attempt to trace the origins of the modern science that we now refer to

as “physics,” we must begin with the origin of the term itself. Taken from the Greek

word “physika” meaning growth or nature, physics most obviously began as the

intelligent study of the human environment (Webster 393). From superstition and

religious practices, the foundation of all other sciences was born. These concepts have

subsequently grown into what we regard today as physics.

It can be easily argued that the earliest evidence of mankind’s scientific

assessment of the physical world can be traced to the Babylonians. In all

probability, the Babylonians had the first written language
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The discovery of

the studies and technologies of these previous cultures does in some regard require a

glance farther back.

A Greek philosopher named Herodotus supposedly reported that Pythagoras lived

in both Egypt and Babylon where he studied mathematics (Lindberg 13). It is impossible

to determine whether this is historical fact or merely legend. It would be extremely

difficult to ascertain exactly how much of the Greek’s thinking was influenced by such

cultures; if in fact it was influenced at all.

Many texts choose the ancient Greek port of Miletus as the beginning of the

discovery of nature that we commonly think of as the original physics. The town of

Miletus is credited as the home of a Greek philosopher named Thales and what is know

of Thales is taken from the writings of Aristotle (Spangenburg 8). Thales is considered

to be the first example of a person leaving supernatural explanations in an effort to better

understand the natural world (Lindberg 29). If Thales of Miletus recorded any of his

own ideas, none have survived. At least none have yet been discovered.

Anaximander, another Greek philosopher, was a student of Thales and expressed

a belief that all life originated in the

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