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History Of Physics Essay

1348 words - 6 pages

History of Physics

Physics began when man first started to study his surroundings. Early applications of physics include the invention of the wheel and of primitive weapons. The people who built Stone Henge had knowledge of physical mechanics in order to move the rocks and place them on top of each other. It was not until during the period of Greek culture that the first systematic treatment of physics started with the use of mechanics. Thales is often said to have been the first scientist, and the first Greek philosopher. He was an astronomer, merchant and mathematician, and after visiting Egypt he is said to have originated the science of deductive geometry. He also discovered ...view middle of the document...

Archimedes was an inventor and mathematician, who discovered several basic scientific principles and developed a number of measuring techniques. Ptolemy was an Egyptian astronomer. He developed a model for predicting the positions of the sun, moon, stars, and planets. Like Aristotle, he believed that the earth was the center of the universe. Between 400 AD. and 1000 AD.

Most educated people in Western Europe looked to religion rather than scientific investigation to answer their questions about the laws of nature. At the same time Arabic scholars were correcting Ptolemy system of astronomy and performing experiments in optics and mechanics. As trade increased between Arab countries and western countries, their work and Greek scientific documents became available to western culture. During the 1200's St. Thomas Aquinas reconciled Aristotle's beliefs with church principles. During this time Roger Bacon an English scholar conducted studies in optics. During the Renaissance there were many social, economic and political changes that produced new approaches to science. The famous Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci conducted studies in motion and hydraulics. The polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus proposed a system in which the sun was placed at the centre of the universe and the earth was one of the planets orbiting the sun. In the 1600's Johannes Kepler, a German astronomer constructed a new and accurate model of the solar system. Rene Descartes, a French philosopher and mathematician developed the concept of inertia ( that objects maintain their state of motion unless disturbed ). At this time people began to realise that the physical world was governed by natural laws and that it was possible to discover those laws through careful measurement under controlled conditions. Galileo, an Italian physicist developed a number of telescopes to study the heavens, and performed laboratory experiments on the motion of falling bodies. In the 1600's there was a great deal of scientific activity.

Sir Isaac Newton, an English scientist, published his Mathematical Principle of Natural Philosophy. He developed three laws of motion and a law of universal gravitation based on the work of Galileo and Descartes. He also invented a new form of mathematics called Calculus. During the Industrial Revolution scientific instruments were produced which were more accurate and enabled scientists to perform more complicated experiments. People began specializing in specific areas such as: Heat and Energy, Light, and Electricity and Magnetism. Scientists began to learn that heat was able to do work. James Joule, and English physicist, devised a way to calculate how much work a give quantity of heat could do. Later a number of Physicists proposed the Law of Conservation of Energy (energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed from one form to another). In the early 1800's the theory was developed that light existed in the form of waves. Physicists...

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