Science and Technology in the Renaissance

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Science in the Renaissance was focused around the major sciences of astrology and geometry, as well as medicine, magic and alchemy. Although astronomy was a major emerging science, it did not truly come into its own until after the end of the 16th century. Until Johannes Kepler, astronomy was a science that was studied purely to enable better understanding of astrology.

For example, Copernicus, probably the man most recognisably a scientist of his day, studied medicine, canon law and philosophy and earned a living as a secretary and a doctor.

Nonetheless, the advent of the printing press did allow for much wider distribution of scientific thought during the Renaissance than had been possible in the Middle Ages and so scientists throughout Europe were able to collaborate on works and exchange theories in a way that was not previously possible. Everyone knew what everyone else was working on, even if it was completely wrong.

Important astronomers of the Renaissance include:

  • Copernicus (1473 - 1543), the originator of the Heliocentric view of the universe. Note that Copernicus' theories were not published until the year of his death, 1543.
  • Tycho Brahe (1546 - 1601), who built several observatories during his lifetime, and was the first to observe and record a supernova.
  • Galileo (1564 - 1642) who further promulgated Copernicus' theories and pioneered the modern scientific method.
  • Johannes Kepler (1571 - 1630), assistant to Tycho Brahe, the true father of modern astronomy and the last scientific astrologer.

Other scientists of the day include:

  • Paracelsus (1493 - 1541), the founder of many of todays modern medicinal and chemical theories.