Portal:History of science

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The History of Science Portal

Astrolabe-Persian-18C.jpg
An 18th-century astrolabe

The content of science, as well as the meaning of the very idea of science, has continually evolved since the rise of modern science and before. The history of science is concerned with the paths that led to our present knowledge as well as those that were abandoned (and thus overlaps with the history of ideas, history of philosophy and intellectual history), and seeks to explain past beliefs—even those now considered erroneous—in their social, cultural and intellectual contexts. It also forms the foundation of the philosophy of science and the sociology of science, as well as the interdisciplinary field of science, technology, and society, and is closely related to the history of technology.

The study of science and technology includes both processes and bodies of knowledge. Scientific processes are the ways scientists investigate and communicate about the natural world. The scientific body of knowledge includes concepts, principles, facts, laws, and theories about the way the world around us works. Technology includes the technological design process and the body of knowledge related to the study of tools and the effect of technology on society. Science is continuously growing with technology today. Thanks to technology scientist have been able to better prove their theories.

Periodization in the historiography of science is usually oriented around the Scientific Revolution that culminated in the work of Isaac Newton. In this scheme, science (or more precisely, natural philosophy) before Copernicus was pre-modern science. European and Islamic science from antiquity to the 16th century was primarily derived from the work of Aristotle and other Greek philosophers (though historians now recognize the significant influence of Chinese knowledge as well); it included alchemy, astrology, and other subjects no longer considered as scientific, as well as the precursors of the modern sciences. Science (still in the form of natural philosophy) from roughly the late 16th century until the early- to mid-19th century was early-modern science; the birth of the experimental method in the 17th and 18th centuries is often considered a central event in the history of science. The 19th century saw the professionalization and secularization of science and the creation of independent scientific disciplines; modern science can denote science since this period (in distinction to early-modern), all science since Newton (in distinction to pre-modern), or simply science as practiced now.

More about History of Science...
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Selected article

"Musei Wormiani Historia", the frontispiece from the Museum Wormianum depicting Ole Worm's cabinet of curiosities.

Cabinets of curiosities (also known as Wunderkammer or wonder-rooms) were collections of natural history artifacts kept by many early practitioners of science in Europe, and were precursors to natural history museums.

Two of the most famously described cabinets were those of Ole Worm (also known as Olaus Wormius) and Athanasius Kircher. These 17th-century cabinets, actually room-sized collections, were filled with preserved animals, horns, tusks, skeletons, minerals, and so on. Often they would contain a mix of fact and fiction, including apparently mythical creatures. Worm's collection contained, for example, what he thought was a Scythian Lamb, a wooly fern thought to be a plant/sheep fabulous creature. The specimens displayed were often collected during exploring expeditions and trading voyages.

Cabinets of curiosities would often serve scientific advancement when images of their contents were published. The catalog of Worm's collection, published as the Museum Wormianum (1655), used the collection artifacts as a starting point for Worm's speculations on philosophy, science, natural history, and more.

Obviously cabinets of curiosities were limited to those who could afford to create and maintain them. Many monarchs, in particular, developed large collections. Frederick III of Denmark, who added Worm's collection to his own after Worm's death, was one such monarch. Another example is the Kunstkamera founded by Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg in 1727.


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Selected picture

Trinity shot color.jpg

This famous color photograph of the "Trinity" shot, the first nuclear test explosion, was taken by Jack Aeby on July 16, 1945. Aeby was a member of the Special Engineering Detachment at Los Alamos National Laboratory, working under the aegis of the Manhattan Project.

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Selected inventor

Vannevar Bush

Vannevar Bush (March 11, 1890 – June 30, 1974) was an American engineer and science administrator, known for his work on analog computing, his political role in the development of the atomic bomb, and the idea of the memex—seen as a pioneering concept for the World Wide Web. A leading figure in the development of the military-industrial complex and the military funding of science in the United States, Bush was a prominent policymaker and public intellectual ("the patron saint of American science") during World War II and the ensuing Cold War. Through his public career, Bush was a proponent of democratic technocracy and of the centrality of technological innovation and entrepreneurship for both economic and geopolitical security.


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Topics

Overview In early cultures | In Classical Antiquity |In the Middle Ages | In the Renaissance | The Scientific Revolution | Scientific method | Modern science
Historiography Historians | Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK) | Science Studies | Science and Technology Studies
Physics Natural philosophy | Astronomy | Aristotelian physics | Optics | Electricity | Classical mechanics | Timeline of thermodynamics | Special relativity | General relativity | Quantum field theory | Materials science
Biology Natural history | Ecology | Biochemistry | Genetics | Molecular biology | Evolutionary biology | Model organisms | Great Chain of Being
Chemistry Alchemy | Atomism | Chemical Revolution | Atomic theory | Electrochemistry | Periodic system
Earth science Geology | Geography | Paleontology | Age of the Earth | Volcanology
Technology Ancient Rome | Middle Ages | Industrial Revolution | Second Industrial Revolution | Agricultural science | Computer science | Biotechnology
Medicine Prehistoric medicine | Ancient Egypt | Ancient Greece | India | China | Middle Ages | Islam | Anatomy | Germ theory | Wound care
Scientific Culture Royal Society | Académie des Sciences | Nobel Prize | National Academy of Science | Scientific publication | Science wars | Women in science | Romanticism in science
Funding of science Patronage | Science policy | Military funding of science | Research and development
Science and Religion Relationship between religion and science | Conflict thesis | Merton thesis | Galileo affair | Scopes trial | Islamic science | Creation-evolution controversy
Big Science Manhattan Project | Soviet nuclear program | Military-industrial complex | Human Genome Project | Space program | High energy physics
Related Fields Philosophy of Science | History of Mathematics | History of Ideas | History of Medicine | History of Technology
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Did you know

...that the travel narrative The Malay Archipelago, by biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, was used by the novelist Joseph Conrad as a source for his novel Lord Jim?

...that the seventeenth century philosophers René Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, and Gottfried Leibniz, along with their Empiricist contemporary Thomas Hobbes all formulated definitions of conatus, an innate inclination of a thing to continue to exist and enhance itself?

...that the history of biochemistry spans approximately 400 years, but the word "biochemistry" in the modern sense was first proposed only in 1903, by German chemist Carl Neuberg?

...that the Great Comet of 1577 was viewed by people all over Europe, including famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and the six year old Johannes Kepler?

...that the Society for Social Studies of Science (often abbreviated as 4S) is, as its website claims, "the oldest and largest scholarly association devoted to understanding science and technology"?


...Archive

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Selected anniversaries



September 3:
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Things you can do

Help out by participating in the History of Science Wikiproject (which also coordinates the histories of medicine, technology and philosophy of science) or join the discussion.

Open task for the history of science

History of Science collaboration of the month: On the Origin of Species

Science collaboration of the month:

→ Here are some Open Tasks :

Searchtool.svg The History of Science Collaboration is On the Origin of Species.
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