He also defined the spiral bearing his name , formulae for the volumes of surfaces of revolution and an ingenious system for expressing very large numbers. He also developed the principles of equilibrium states and centers of gravity , ideas that would influence the well known scholars, Galileo, and Newton.
Hipparchus — BCE , focusing on astronomy and mathematics, used sophisticated geometrical techniques to map the motion of the stars and planets , even predicting the times that Solar eclipses would happen. In addition, he added calculations of the distance of the Sun and Moon from the Earth, based upon his improvements to the observational instruments used at that time. Another of the most famous of the early physicists was Ptolemy 90— CE , one of the leading minds during the time of the Roman Empire.
Ptolemy was the author of several scientific treatises, at least three of which were of continuing importance to later Islamic and European science. The second is the Geography , which is a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. Much of the accumulated knowledge of the ancient world was lost. Even of the works of the better known thinkers, few fragments survived. Although he wrote at least fourteen books, almost nothing of Hipparchus ' direct work survived.
Of the reputed Aristotelian works, only 30 exist, and some of those are "little more than lecture notes" [ according to whom? Important physical and mathematical traditions also existed in ancient Chinese and Indian sciences. In Indian philosophy , Maharishi Kanada was the first to systematically develop a theory of atomism around BCE  though some authors have allotted him an earlier era in the 6th century BCE.
These philosophers believed that other elements except ether were physically palpable and hence comprised minuscule particles of matter. The last minuscule particle of matter that could not be subdivided further was termed Parmanu. These philosophers considered the atom to be indestructible and hence eternal.
The Buddhists thought atoms to be minute objects unable to be seen to the naked eye that come into being and vanish in an instant. The Vaisheshika school of philosophers believed that an atom was a mere point in space.
It was also first to depict relations between motion and force applied. Indian theories about the atom are greatly abstract and enmeshed in philosophy as they were based on logic and not on personal experience or experimentation. In Indian astronomy , Aryabhata 's Aryabhatiya CE proposed the Earth's rotation , while Nilakantha Somayaji — of the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics proposed a semi-heliocentric model resembling the Tychonic system.
In optics, Shen Kuo independently developed a camera obscura. In the 7th to 15th centuries, scientific progress occurred in the Muslim world. Many classic works in Indian , Assyrian , Sassanian Persian and Greek , including the works of Aristotle , were translated into Arabic. Ptolemy and Aristotle theorised that light either shone from the eye to illuminate objects or that "forms" emanated from objects themselves, whereas al-Haytham known by the Latin name "Alhazen" suggested that light travels to the eye in rays from different points on an object.
Ibn al-Haytham and Biruni were early proponents of the scientific method. Ibn al-Haytham is considered to be the "father of the modern scientific method" due to his emphasis on experimental data and reproducibility of its results. He published his theory of motion in Book of Healing , where he argued that an impetus is imparted to a projectile by the thrower, and believed that it was a temporary virtue that would decline even in a vacuum.
He viewed it as persistent, requiring external forces such as air resistance to dissipate it. He concluded that continuation of motion is attributed to the inclination that is transferred to the object, and that object will be in motion until the mayl is spent. He also claimed that projectile in a vacuum would not stop unless it is acted upon.
This conception of motion is consistent with Newton's first law of motion , inertia , which states that an object in motion will stay in motion unless it is acted on by an external force.
He used this to compose a calendar considered more accurate than the Gregorian calendar that came along years later. Hibat Allah Abu'l-Barakat al-Baghdaadi c. In his Kitab al-Mu'tabar , Abu'l-Barakat stated that the mover imparts a violent inclination mayl qasri on the moved and that this diminishes as the moving object distances itself from the mover.
Ibn Bajjah c. While he did not specify that these forces be equal, it was a precursor to Newton's third law of motion which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Two future philosophers supported the theories Avempace created, known as Avempacean dynamics.
Nasir al-Din al-Tusi — , a Persian astronomer and mathematician who died in Baghdad, authored the Treasury of Astronomy , a remarkably accurate table of planetary movements that reformed the existing planetary model of Roman astronomer Ptolemy by describing a uniform circular motion of all planets in their orbits. This work led to the later discovery, by one of his students, that planets actually have an elliptical orbit.
Awareness of ancient works re-entered the West through translations from Arabic to Latin. Their re-introduction, combined with Judeo-Islamic theological commentaries, had a great influence on Medieval philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas. Scholastic European scholars , who sought to reconcile the philosophy of the ancient classical philosophers with Christian theology , proclaimed Aristotle the greatest thinker of the ancient world. In cases where they didn't directly contradict the Bible, Aristotelian physics became the foundation for the physical explanations of the European Churches.
Quantification became a core element of medieval physics. Based on Aristotelian physics, Scholastic physics described things as moving according to their essential nature.
Celestial objects were described as moving in circles, because perfect circular motion was considered an innate property of objects that existed in the uncorrupted realm of the celestial spheres.
The theory of impetus , the ancestor to the concepts of inertia and momentum , was developed along similar lines by medieval philosophers such as John Philoponus and Jean Buridan.
Motions below the lunar sphere were seen as imperfect, and thus could not be expected to exhibit consistent motion. More idealized motion in the "sublunary" realm could only be achieved through artifice , and prior to the 17th century, many did not view artificial experiments as a valid means of learning about the natural world. Physical explanations in the sublunary realm revolved around tendencies. Stones contained the element earth, and earthly objects tended to move in a straight line toward the centre of the earth and the universe in the Aristotelian geocentric view unless otherwise prevented from doing so.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, a large advancement of scientific progress known as the Scientific revolution took place in Europe. Dissatisfaction with older philosophical approaches had begun earlier and had produced other changes in society, such as the Protestant Reformation , but the revolution in science began when natural philosophers began to mount a sustained attack on the Scholastic philosophical programme and supposed that mathematical descriptive schemes adopted from such fields as mechanics and astronomy could actually yield universally valid characterizations of motion and other concepts.
A breakthrough in astronomy was made by Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus — when, in , he gave strong arguments for the heliocentric model of the Solar system , ostensibly as a means to render tables charting planetary motion more accurate and to simplify their production. In heliocentric models of the Solar system, the Earth orbits the Sun along with other bodies in Earth's galaxy , a contradiction according to the Greek-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy 2nd century CE; see above , whose system placed the Earth at the center of the Universe and had been accepted for over 1, years.
The Greek astronomer Aristarchus of Samos c. Copernicus' book presenting the theory De revolutionibus orbium coelestium , "On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres" was published just before his death in and, as it is now generally considered to mark the beginning of modern astronomy, is also considered to mark the beginning of the Scientific revolution.
The Italian mathematician, astronomer, and physicist Galileo Galilei — was the central figure in the Scientific revolution and famous for his support for Copernicanism, his astronomical discoveries, empirical experiments and his improvement of the telescope. As a mathematician, Galileo's role in the university culture of his era was subordinated to the three major topics of study: law , medicine , and theology which was closely allied to philosophy.
Galileo's early studies at the University of Pisa were in medicine, but he was soon drawn to mathematics and physics. At 19, he discovered and, subsequently, verified the isochronal nature of the pendulum when, using his pulse, he timed the oscillations of a swinging lamp in Pisa's cathedral and found that it remained the same for each swing regardless of the swing's amplitude.
He soon became known through his invention of a hydrostatic balance and for his treatise on the center of gravity of solid bodies. While teaching at the University of Pisa —92 , he initiated his experiments concerning the laws of bodies in motion that brought results so contradictory to the accepted teachings of Aristotle that strong antagonism was aroused.
He found that bodies do not fall with velocities proportional to their weights. The famous story in which Galileo is said to have dropped weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa is apocryphal, but he did find that the path of a projectile is a parabola and is credited with conclusions that anticipated Newton's laws of motion e.
Among these is what is now called Galilean relativity , the first precisely formulated statement about properties of space and time outside three-dimensional geometry. Galileo has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy ",  the "father of modern physics ",  the "father of science",  and "the father of modern science ". Found "vehemently suspect of heresy", he was forced to recant and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. The contributions that Galileo made to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus ; his discovery, in , of Jupiter's four largest moons subsequently given the collective name of the " Galilean moons " ; and the observation and analysis of sunspots.
Galileo also pursued applied science and technology, inventing, among other instruments, a military compass. His discovery of the Jovian moons was published in and enabled him to obtain the position of mathematician and philosopher to the Medici court.
As such, he was expected to engage in debates with philosophers in the Aristotelian tradition and received a large audience for his own publications such as the Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Concerning Two New Sciences published abroad following his arrest for the publication of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems and The Assayer.
This tradition, combining with the non-mathematical emphasis on the collection of "experimental histories" by philosophical reformists such as William Gilbert and Francis Bacon , drew a significant following in the years leading up to and following Galileo's death, including Evangelista Torricelli and the participants in the Accademia del Cimento in Italy; Marin Mersenne and Blaise Pascal in France; Christiaan Huygens in the Netherlands; and Robert Hooke and Robert Boyle in England.
Descartes had a more ambitious agenda, however, which was geared toward replacing the Scholastic philosophical tradition altogether. Questioning the reality interpreted through the senses, Descartes sought to re-establish philosophical explanatory schemes by reducing all perceived phenomena to being attributable to the motion of an invisible sea of "corpuscles". Notably, he reserved human thought and God from his scheme, holding these to be separate from the physical universe.
In proposing this philosophical framework, Descartes supposed that different kinds of motion, such as that of planets versus that of terrestrial objects, were not fundamentally different, but were merely different manifestations of an endless chain of corpuscular motions obeying universal principles.
Particularly influential were his explanations for circular astronomical motions in terms of the vortex motion of corpuscles in space Descartes argued, in accord with the beliefs, if not the methods, of the Scholastics, that a vacuum could not exist , and his explanation of gravity in terms of corpuscles pushing objects downward. Descartes, like Galileo, was convinced of the importance of mathematical explanation, and he and his followers were key figures in the development of mathematics and geometry in the 17th century.
Cartesian mathematical descriptions of motion held that all mathematical formulations had to be justifiable in terms of direct physical action, a position held by Huygens and the German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz , who, while following in the Cartesian tradition, developed his own philosophical alternative to Scholasticism, which he outlined in his work, The Monadology.
Descartes has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. Try Again. Report Close Quick Download Go to remote file. Documents can only be sent to your Kindle devices from e-mail accounts that you added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List. He became an American citizen in In , despite his lifelong pacifist beliefs, he agreed to write to President Franklin D.
Roosevelt on behalf of a group of scientists who were concerned with American inaction in the field of atomic-weapons research. Like the other scientists, he feared sole German possession of such a weapon.
He played no role, however, in the subsequent Manhattan Project and later deplored the use of atomic bombs against Japan. After the war, he called for the establishment of a world government that would control nuclear technology and prevent future armed conflict. In , he published his unified field theory, which was quietly criticized as a failure.