What is the course of the Scientific Revolution?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Scientific Revolution, which was actually the gradual progression of ideas rather than a series of revolutionary events, is identified as having begun in the late Renaissance. Copernicus and Andreas Vesalius are generally identified as the two most responsible for the inception of the revolution. Copernicus (1543) separated the rotation of Earth in the solar system from the theological orientation of the supremacy of humans when he declared that Earth orbits the Sun, placing the Sun at the center of the solar system, rather than that the Sun orbits Earth. Vesalius separated the human body from religious sanctity by presenting the first study of human anatomy in On the Fabric of the Human Body.

From then on through the Age of Enlightenment (which gave way to the Age of Reflection in the 19th century scientific Romanticism era characterized by anti-reductionism of the whole to its parts and the connectedness of humans to nature) scientific advances continued to be made in the areas of biology, astronomy (e.g., Tycho Brahe and Kepler), mathematics and physics (e.g., Newton, Descartes) and the scientific method (e.g., Francis Bacon). Besides moving the understanding of the world and its constituents parts away from religiously sacrosanct (though mistaken) ideas, the scientific revolution also moved scientific thought away from the ideas of Aristotle, such as his "crystal sphere" and his perfect circular shape and motion of celestial bodies ideas.