Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Historical Setting

Precursory events

Immediate Setting

Copernicus (1473-1543)

Ptolemaic System

Emerging Problems

Possible clues to Copernican idea

Heliocentric Idea

Galileo (1564-1642)

Galileo's most original contributions to science were in mechanics: he helped clarify concepts of acceleration, velocity, and instantaneous motion.

Galileo's effect on Astronomy

Kepler (1572-1630), Brahe (1546-1601)

Kepler was a medieval mystic.

Need for observational data.

Kepler's Laws

Kepler and Galileo

Newton (1642-1727)

Experiments on dispersion, nature of color, wave nature of light (Opticks, 1704)

Development of Calculus, 1665-1666

Gravitation 1665-1687

Priority conflicts (Hooke, Liebniz)

Why was the Copernican Revolution so pivotal?

The Scientific Establishment

Scientific Societies arise in mid-1600's

Journals first published late 1600's (about 100 by 1800, nearly 50,000 now).

Scientific Support

Many early scientists were amateurs. Every science was founded by somebody not formally trained in it.

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Created 20 May 1997
Last Update 24 January 1998

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