The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wootton
Before 1492 it was commonly assumed that the limits of knowledge had been exhausted, that there was nothing left to be revealed about the world. Many resigned themselves to seeking understanding in the past rather than looking to the future. However, the discovery of the Americas that same fateful year demonstrated the prospect for uncharted knowledge, planting seeds of hope for unprecedented possibilities. Fifty-one years later, Nicolaus Copernicus published his De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, a work that challenged previously held notions on planetary motion and opened the door for one of the most influential eras in history. As such, the Scientific Revolution would become a complicated and subjective period, the specifics of which still provoke disagreement among historians today. During the Revolution, some scientists chose to expand upon the works of those who came before. Others made contributions based strictly on their own observations, sometimes contradicting the evidence and conclusions of their contemporaries. In the course of this period, the modern scientific method of observation, hypothesis, experimentation and analysis would be created, resulting in a monumental series of breakthroughs, especially relating to astronomy and its correlating fields. The impact of these discoveries extended well beyond the walls of the laboratory, creating a shift in the way many Westerners observed the world. In The Invention of Science, Author David Wootton traces this transformation of scientific ideas across mathematics, physics, astronomy, and biology, challenging previously held understandings of how these great reforms came about and illustrating how these shifts can be directly linked to revolutions in religion, politics, and society.