History of science

The history of science covers the development of science from ancient times to the present. It encompass all three major branches of science: natural, social, and formal.[1]

The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3000 to 1200 BCE.[2][3] Their contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to provide explanations of events in the physical world based on natural causes.[2][3] After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Latin-speaking Western Europe during the early centuries (400 to 1000 CE) of the Middle Ages,[4] but continued to thrive in the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire. Aided by translations of Greek texts, the Hellenistic worldview was preserved and absorbed into the Arabic-speaking Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age.[5] The recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived the learning of natural philosophy in the West.[4][6]

Natural philosophy was transformed during the Scientific Revolution in 16th- to 17th-century Europe,[7][8] as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions.[9][10][11][12] The New Science that emerged was more mechanistic in its worldview, more integrated with mathematics, and more reliable and open as its knowledge was based on a newly defined scientific method.[10][13][14] More "revolutions" in subsequent centuries soon followed. The chemical revolution of the 18th century, for instance, introduced new quantitative methods and measurements for chemistry.[15] In the 19th century, new perspectives regarding the conservation of energy, age of the Earth, and evolution came into focus.[16][17][18][19][20][21] And in the 20th century, new discoveries in genetics and physics laid the foundations for new subdisciplines such as molecular biology and particle physics.[22][23] Moreover, industrial and military concerns as well as the increasing complexity of new research endeavors soon ushered in the era of "big science," particularly after the Second World War.[22][23][24]