Timeline of the history of scientific method

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This timeline of the history of scientific method shows an overview of the cultural inventions that have contributed to the development of the scientific method. For a detailed account, see History of the scientific method.


  • c. 2000 BC — First text indeces (various cultures).[citation needed]
  • c. 1600 BC — The Edwin Smith Papyrus, an Egyptian medical textbook, which applies: examination, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, to disease remedies,[1] paralleling rudimentary empirical methodology.[2]
  • c. 400 BC — In China, Mozi and the School of Names advocate using one's senses to observe the world, and develop the "three-prong method" for testing the truth or falsehood of statements.
  • c. 400 BC — Democritus advocates inductive reasoning through a process of examining the causes of sensory perceptions and drawing conclusions about the outside world.
  • c. 400 BC — Plato first provides a detailed definitions for idea, matter, form and appearance as abstract concepts.
  • c. 320 BC — First comprehensive documents categorising and subdividing knowledge, dividing knowledge into different areas by Aristotle,(physics, poetry, zoology, logic, rhetoric, politics, and biology). Aristotle's Posterior Analytics defends the ideal of science as necessary demonstration from axioms known with certainty.
  • c. 300 BC — Euclid's Elements expound geometry as a system of theorems following logically from axioms known with certainty.
  • c. 200 BC — First Cataloged library (at Alexandria)

1st through 12th centuries[edit]

13th through 17th centuries[edit]

18th and 19th centuries[edit]

20th and 21st centuries[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edwin Smith papyrus, Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ Lloyd, G. E. R. "The development of empirical research", in his Magic, Reason and Experience: Studies in the Origin and Development of Greek Science.
  3. ^ James Lind's A Treatise of the Scurvy
  4. ^ Hacking, Ian (September 1988). "Telepathy: Origins of Randomization in Experimental Design". Isis 79 (3): 427–451. doi:10.1086/354775. JSTOR 234674. MR 1013489.  Charles Sanders Peirce and Joseph Jastrow (1885). "On Small Differences in Sensation". Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 3: 73–83.  http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Peirce/small-diffs.htm
    Stephen M. Stigler (November 1992). "A Historical View of Statistical Concepts in Psychology and Educational Research". American Journal of Education 101 (1): 60–70. doi:10.1086/444032.  Trudy Dehue (December 1997). "Deception, Efficiency, and Random Groups: Psychology and the Gradual Origination of the Random Group Design". Isis 88 (4): 653–673. doi:10.1086/383850. PMID 9519574. 
  5. ^ Plat's article is entitled Strong inference. Certain systematic methods of scientific thinking may produce much more rapid progress than others (Science, 16 October 1964, Volume 146, Number 3642, Pages 347-353.)