Scientific Revolution

A chronological study of the Scientific Revolution

1463-01-01 00:00:00

Pico della Mirandola

An Italian scholar who wrote "Oration on the Dignity of Man" in 1486 that took many elements from previous philosophies to form his own. He was widely popular during his time--a true "Renaissance Rockstar."

1473-02-19 11:30:40

Nicolaus Copernicus

Well-educated Polish astronomer who first proposed that the planets have the sun as a fixed point in which their motions circulate. He is also credited with discovering annual orbital rotation, diurnal axial rotation and angular rotation of Earth. In many ways, Copernicus and his heliocentric theory form the beginning of the scientific revolution. His findings had important consequences for later thinkers like Galileo, Kepler, Descartes and Newton.

1486-09-14 08:24:44

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa

French magician and author of "De Occulta Philosophia" and "The Vanity of the Sciences and Arts." His first work triumphed the use of magic (separated into three categories: mathematical, superstitious, and natural) as the best means to understand God and nature. His second work serves as an attack on contemporary academic structure and served as a revival of Skepticism.

1492-01-01 01:36:23

Christopher Columbus Sets Sail

Columbus reaches the new world beginning the unstoppable force of globalization. Goods brought back from the New World instilled curiosity in Europeans and changed the tastes of consumers who now demand more exotic goods. The rapid expansion of empire came alongside the rise of mercantilism and rising wealth in Europe, which prompted innovations in the harvest of commodities from bullion, ores and agricultural products.

1503-01-01 01:12:31

Casa de la Contratación

A government office in Seville, the main port of the Spanish Empire, tasked with recording and categorizing all goods that come in from the New World. The bureau determined real from fake goods and underscored the economic importance of recording natural history for both tax and valuation purposes.

1525-01-01 11:26:02

Garden Culture

Widely popular during the Italian Renaissance, wealthy individuals utilized the expertise of mathematicians and natural philosphers to create intricate gardens and fountains that utilize hydraulic pumps and other technological innovations. At first, the gardens were used to show wealth and inspire amazement through their intricacies. However, the technical design of the components became the center of focus for natural philosophers who designed machines

1527-01-01 00:00:00

John Dee

A highly respected English mathematician, natural philosopher and navigational guru who championed the application of precise geometry to the field of cartogrophy

1543-01-01 00:00:00

On the Fabric of the Human Body

Andreas Vesaluis publishes his great work on observations about the human body. Signifies the birth of biology and the separation of natural history and natural philosophy

1543-01-01 00:00:00

De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium

Copernicus' technical work laying out heliocentric theory critiquing the current state of Ptolemaic astronomy based on 40 years of data collection. Considered to be the fundamental work that triggered the Scientific Revolution and the questioning of soceity's relationship with the universe. However, the book was published on his deathbed, was pooly distributed and not widely read until half a century later.

1544-05-24 10:50:26

William Gilbert

Distinguished English "scientist" who extensively researched magnetic bodies and electrical force in his principle work, "De Magnete." His work sparked interest in replicating experiments and his work helped develop the experimental process.

1546-01-01 00:00:00

Tycho Brahe

An enormously wealthy Dutchman who used parallax to refute the Aristotelian view of the universe. Compiled quality data on the movements of various planets and came to the conclusion that the heavens are not fixed. His model retains Copernicus' math, but argues that the earth does not spin. Later hires Kepler to begin work on the Rudophine Tables

1548-01-01 00:00:00

Giordano Bruno

An Italian philosopher and cosmologist who lacked mathematical knowledge, but championed Copernicus' idea of heliocentrism and freedom of thought. Attributed with his theory of an infinite universe and the existence of multiple worlds. Was later burned at the stake and is seen as a martyr for science.

1550-01-01 11:26:02

Mathematical Magic

Applied scientific experiments to inspire awe and general entertainment to the general public. The "mathematical magic" used by mathematicians and inventors brought recent scientific experiments to a wider audience. Soon the interest in these experiments shifted from entertainment value to how these machines actually worked through detailled design drawings.

1552-01-01 13:08:07

Portolan Chart

Applied precise geometry to cartography by recording sophisticated, practical aids to navigation for direct routes between ports. Began throughout the Mediterranean, but later extended to the Near East and North Africa.

1564-02-15 11:30:40

Galileo Galilei

Italian natural philosopher and astronomer who made significant contributions to the sciences of motion and astronomy. He is also attributed to inventing the telescope and vocally promoted heliocentrism, which ultimately resulted in his demise at the hands of the Inquisition.

1571-12-27 17:56:05

Johannes Kepler

A Neoplatonist German astronomer from a family of declining fortunes who defends heliocentrism both mathematically and theologically. His work focused on the harmonious relationship of the 5 Platonic Solids in relation to the ratio of the 6 orbits of the known planets. He used Tycho Brahe's data to create the Rudophine Tables, and "put the Copernican system in motion" with his three laws on planetary motion. He is credited with applying mathematical analysis to simplfly a complex and cluttered model of the universe, which is a significant step towards our modern notion of rational scientific thought.

1596-03-31 15:06:49

René Descartes

French mathematician and philosopher who adamantly rejected classical thought and promoted a new science of observation and experiment grounded on a system of doubt. He dismissed knowledge derived from authority and the senses and promoted individual thought expressed in the famous adage, "Cogito, ergo sum." His philosophy is rationalist based off of individual ideas and God, but his methods of mathematics and physics resemble that of Bacon-- based on rigid demonstration and experimentation. From his mathematizaion he develops a geometric way to express objects in relation to a reference plane, which is now known as the Cartesian plane.

1615-01-01 17:56:05

Letter to Grand Duchess Christina

Essay written by Galileo to the Medici court to prove that a condemation of Copernicanism by the church would be unjust and that heliocentrism was in fact true. In the letter, he flatters the authority of the Grand Dutchess and hypes up his own abilities and portrays himself as “himself as a man of good will who seeks only to disclose the truth.”

1620-01-01 14:53:04

Novum Organum

Francis Bacon's work comprised of a description of facts, a classification of those facts, and a rejection of everything that is not fact or does not appear to be connected to the subject. The work brings rationality and order to studying natural phenomena.

1627-01-25 12:58:35

Robert Boyle

An English natural philosopher at Oxford who worked with his colleague Robert Hooke to study the properties of air, by experimenting with air pressure and the composition of the atmosphere. His most significant discovery was that,"for a given mass, at constant temperature, the pressure times the volume is a constant." He also helped found the Royal Soceity of London

1637-01-01 20:59:27


Descarte's masterwork that illustrates how motion can be plotted as a curve on a graph, defined in relation to the planes of reference. The Cartesian plane is monumental in recurring theme towards mathematizing the natural world in search of truth via rational argument

1637-01-01 22:16:03

Discourse on Method

Renee Descartes' work written in French that explains the principles of deductive reasoning. For Descartes, all was uncertain until established by "reasoning from self-evident propositions, on principles analogous to those of geometry."

1642-12-25 01:36:23

Isaac Newton

English physicist and mathematician who was the culminating figure of the scientific revolution. His work in optics laid the foundation for our understanding of the field. His three laws of motion form the basic principles of modern physics, which resulted in his law of universal gravitation. And in mathematics, he was attributed to discovering calculus. His principle work, Principia, is considered one of the most important works in the histroy of science. All of these discoveries and innovations were derived from his fervor for religiosity and endless search to unveil God's presence. Newton is the archetype figure of the scientific revolution: one who disregards classical authority in search of rational truth and does so via mathematical reasoning and extensive analysis.

1646-07-01 07:39:30

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

German philosopher and mathematician credited with independtly inventing integral calculus. Because of this and theological differences, he was Newton's adversary and belived that the universe was perfectly designed by God such that it does not need the mechanical "push" to set the universe in motion that Newton argued. He was also credited with inventing the first calculator/binary computer.

1660-01-01 05:48:35

Royal Society of London

A state-sponsored forum that brought together the greatest minds of the region in efforts to advance science through cooperation. Both the Society and the salon culture that dominated France greatly contributed to the idea of scientific progress by establishing a formal outlet to present and challenge ideas.

1687-01-01 01:36:23


Newton's masterwork that combined Galileo's mechanics and Kepler's planetary astronomy. The work contains his three laws of motion concerning force, mass and motion that formulated an accurate comprehensive model of the workings of the universe based on universal gravitation. It became widely circulated once it was translated into French and English and prompted many of his peers to apply the highly technical material to experiments and physical machines. The culmination of theory, mathematical analysis and precise experimentation create the world machine that forms the foundation of Newtonianism that permeated popular culture at the time.

1694-11-21 06:36:24


Leading French Enlightenment philosopher champions the notion of progress in terms of both the individual and society as a whole. His work, "Letters on England", illustrates England as the ideal model of philosophical freedom, use of reason, patronage of the arts and sciences, and economic prosperity. His ideas embody the pinnacle of all that the Scientific Revolution has progressed towards in terms of discarding the classics in favor of the individual and forming logical reasoning through acceptance of facts.

1713-10-05 03:32:05

Denis Diderot

French natural historian who created the first modern encyclopedia, which was one of the principal works of the Enlightenment. Like the Casa de la Contratación, his encyclopedia served as a thorough account of all natural knowledge. However, Diderot intended this work for the general population-- a major step towards the democratization of information and curiosity in the search for overall knowledge

Scientific Revolution

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