The history of science is the study of the development of science and scientific knowledge, including both the natural and social sciences (the history of the arts and humanities is termed history of scholarship). Science is a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world, produced by scientists who emphasize the observation, explanation, and prediction of real-world phenomena. Historiography of science, in contrast, studies the methods employed by historians of science.
The English word scientist is relatively recent—first coined by William Whewell in the 19th century. Previously, investigators of nature called themselves "natural philosophers". While empirical investigations of the natural world have been described since classical antiquity (for example, by Thales and Aristotle), and the scientific method has been employed since the Middle Ages (for example, by Ibn al-Haytham and Roger Bacon), modern science began to develop in the early modern period, and in particular in the scientific revolution of 16th- and 17th-century Europe. Traditionally, historians of science have defined science sufficiently broadly to include those earlier inquiries.
From the 18th through the late 20th century, the history of science, especially of the physical and biological sciences, was often presented as a progressive accumulation of knowledge, in which true theories replaced false beliefs. More recent historical interpretations, such as those of Thomas Kuhn, tend to portray the history of science in terms of competing paradigms or conceptual systems within a wider matrix of intellectual, cultural, economic and political trends. These interpretations, however, have met with opposition for they also portray the history of science as an incoherent system of incommensurable paradigms, not leading to any actual scientific progress but only to the illusion that it has occurred.
An armillary sphere (variations known as a spherical astrolabe, armilla, or armil) is a model of the celestial sphere, invented by Eratosthenes in 255 BC. Its name comes from the Latin armilla (circle, bracelet), since it has a skeleton made of graduated metal circles linking the poles and representing the equator, the ecliptic, meridians and parallels. Usually a ball representing the Earth or, later, the Sun is placed in its center. It is used to demonstrate the motion of the stars around the Earth.
In its simplest form, consisting of a ring fixed in the plane of the equator, the armilla is one of the most ancient of astronomical instruments. Slightly developed, it was crossed by another ring fixed in the plane of the meridian. The first was an equinoctial, the second a solstitial armilla. Shadows were used as indices of the sun's positions, in combinations with angular divisions. When several rings or circles were combined representing the great circles of the heavens, the instrument became an armillary sphere.
Armillae are said to have been in early use in China. Eratosthenes used most probably a solstitial armilla for measuring the obliquity of the ecliptic. Hipparchus probably used an armillary sphere of four rings. Ptolemy describes his instrument in the Syntaxis (book v. chap. i.), and it is of great interest as an example of the armillary sphere passing into the spherical astrolabe. It consisted of a graduated circle inside which another could slide, carrying to small tubes diametrically opposite, the instrument being kept vertical by a plumb-line.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the "Eagle" to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar orbit.
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"?
- 1570 - Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues the first modern atlas.
- 1722 - Death of Sébastien Vaillant, French botanist (b. 1669)
- 1755 - Death of Johann Georg Gmelin, German naturalist and geographer (b. 1709)
- 1782 - Death of William Emerson, English mathematician (b. 1701)
- 1793 - Death of Charles Bonnet, Swiss naturalist (b. 1720)
- 1851 - Birth of Emile Berliner, German-born telephone and recording pioneer (d. 1929)
- 1860 - Birth of Eduard Buchner, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1917)
- 1891 - Thomas Alva Edison displays the first prototype kinetoscope.
- 1918 - Birth of Edward B. Lewis, American geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004)
- 1947 - Death of Philipp Lenard, Austrian physicist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1862)
- 1983 - First publications of the discovery of the virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier
- 1996 - First naked eye observation of Comet Hale–Bopp
- 2002 - Death of Stephen Jay Gould, American paleontologist (b. 1941)