The Scientific Revolution was a period when new ideas in physics, astronomy, biology, human anatomy, chemistry, and other sciences led to a rejection of doctrines that had prevailed starting in Ancient Greece and continuing through the Middle Ages, and laid the foundation of modern science. According to most accounts, the scientific revolution began in Europe towards the end of the Renaissance era and continued through the late 18th century, the latter period known as The Enlightenment. It was sparked by the publication (1543) of two works that changed the course of science: Nicolaus Copernicus’s De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) and Andreas Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human body).
Science is a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world, produced by researchers making use of scientific methods, which emphasize the observation, explanation, and prediction of real world phenomena byexperiment. Given the dual status of science as objective knowledge and as a human construct, good historiography of science draws on the historical methods of both intellectual history and social history.
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis), is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science. It is considered to be the precursor ofnatural sciences such as physics.
Forms of science historically developed out of philosophy or more specifically natural philosophy. At older universities, long-established Chairs of Natural Philosophy are nowadays occupied mainly by physics professors. Modern notions of science andscientists date only to the 19th century (the Oxford English Dictionary dates the origin of the word “scientist” to 1834). Before then, the word “science” simply meant knowledge and the label of scientist did not exist. Isaac Newton's 1687 scientific treatise is known as The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.
The term natural philosophy preceded our current natural science (from the Latin,scientia, meaning “knowledge”) when the subject of that knowledge or study was “the workings of nature”. Natural philosophy pertains to the work of analysis and synthesis of common experience and argumentation to explain or describe nature—while, in the 16th century and earlier, science was used exclusively as a synonym for knowledge orstudy. The term science, as in natural science, gained its modern meaning when acquiring knowledge through experiments (special experiences) under the scientific method became its own specialized branch of study apart from natural philosophy. In the Sixteenth Century, Jacopo Zabarella was the first person appointed as a professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Padua.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, natural philosophy referred to what is now physical science. From the mid-19th century, when it became increasingly unusual for scientists to contribute to both physics and chemistry, it just meant physics, and is still used in that sense in degree titles at the University of Oxford. Natural philosophy was distinguished from the other pre-cursor of modern science, natural history, in that the former involved reasoning and explanations about nature (and after Galileo,quantitative reasoning), whereas the latter was essentially qualitative and descriptive.