Part of human activity related to gaining, classifying and improving knowledge about the world. There exist commonly adopted rules and requirements to make a method scientific. The history itself is one of humanity sciences.

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Why does the United States keep using “old” date representations and imperial system, while being in the minority?

Other than the US (and a few other countries), the vast majority of countries use International System of Units (SI). Celsius temperature scale. DMY or YMD date format¹. 24-hour clock when written². ...
47
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9answers
2k views

History of scientific regression [closed]

Throughout history, humans have made many subtle and many substantial scientific advancements. Humans have explored, examined, learned, applied and at times seemingly "forgotten" and/or were unable ...
36
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10answers
7k views

What were the reasons for the Renaissance / scientific revolution in Europe?

One of the common reasons given for the Renaissance and the subsequent scientific revolution is the rediscovery of classical works by scholars in Europe and the social change that the study of those ...
25
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5answers
2k views

What was the first Solar Eclipse that was demonstrably predicted in advance?

There is a famous story going back to Herodotus according to which Thales of Miletus predicted the solar eclipse of May 28, 585 BC, which interrupted a battle. Given that we have not a single ...
19
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2answers
3k views

What is the name of the theory that says an early discovery can stop technological development?

Some time ago I read a claim that an early discovery can lead to a great scientific stagnation. The example given was the Chinese porcelain, that resolved all the known problems, and stopped the ...
19
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3answers
3k views

Why was Newton's observation of the falling apple significant?

As described in this article at Wikipedia, in 1666, Newton was in a garden when he noticed an apple falling. Surely, Newton could not have been the first person to notice that things fell when ...
18
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6answers
2k views

How accurately could ancient astronomers find latitude and longitude?

In classical times (let's say 200 BC to 400 AD), how accurately could a Greek/Roman/Babylonian/etc. astronomer determine their location on the earth by coordinates like latitude/longitude? Could they ...
16
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1answer
675 views

Was there any theological opposition to the lightning rod?

Apparently, there was some opposition to the lightning rod at the time of its invention because lightning was seen as "the wrath of God" and should not be controlled. I'd like to find some citations ...
15
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5answers
1k views

When was it discovered that the stars are not all lying on the same plane?

In Ptolemy and Copernicus' systems, the stars were believed to rest upon a single plane, the 'celestial sphere'. People thought they were all the same distance away from earth. Kepler's insight was ...
14
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1answer
5k views

Who discovered first that the Moon does not have its own light?

Who (and when) discovered first that the Moon does not have its own light?
14
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3answers
932 views

Did the Egyptians understand the importance of the brain?

I remember hearing recently that new research has suggested that the ancient Egyptians did not view the brain as a useless organ, and had a reason for disposing of it in the manner they did. I can't ...
14
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3answers
343 views

How did the “Standard Model” physics theory get that name?

I want to know how the Standard Model theory got such "generic" name. (I've made this question in Physics StackExchange, but it was considered off-topic, and someone suggested to reask it here.)
13
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3answers
3k views

What happened in 1914 that ended the golden age of microbiology?

I was reading a microbiology textbook and all it said was "The work that began with Pasteur started an explosion of discoveries in microbiology. The period from 1857 to 1914 has been appropriately ...
13
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4answers
972 views

Why was decimal time unsuccessful?

Under the metric system (and later SI), units of weight can be related to each other based on multiples of ten (e.g. 1 metric tonne = 1,000 kg = 1,000 × 1,000 g). Likewise with length (e.g. 1 ...
13
votes
1answer
435 views

What were the responses to Copernicus' heliocentric theory?

Popular explanations often mention that the "Catholic Church" had a problem with Copernicus and his heliocentric theory, neglecting that even a scientific disagreement at that period would likely have ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Did the Tamil People discover that the earth was round 2000 years ago?

I heard "Tamil People found that the earth was round 2000 years ago. They named the planets 2000 years ago." Is this true? The Tamil poet Manikkavachakar wrote about the earth in Tiruvacakam: By ...
12
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1answer
194 views

Was the State of Indiana's legislation changed to fix the value of Pi?

Is the following an anecdote? Mathematicians describe Pi as an irrational number, that is, a number that cannot be expressed as the ratio of any two integers. This was an irksome fact to the State ...
10
votes
2answers
417 views

Have the current polar ice caps receded further than those that existed before the beginning of the last Ice Age?

Has science been able to determine from the geologic record how our current ice caps compare to those that existed before before the beginning of the last Ice Age? If so, how do they match up? (I ...
10
votes
1answer
429 views

What corrections did the Catholic church make to the Copernicus work “De revolutionibus”?

Catholic encyclopedia says: On 5 March, 1616, the work of Copernicus was forbidden by the Congregation of the Index "until corrected", and in 1620 these corrections were indicated. Nine sentences, ...
10
votes
1answer
122 views

How was birth control realized in ancient times? [closed]

In ancient days, there were no birth control methods like condoms or contraceptive pills available. How did they control pregnancy?
8
votes
2answers
540 views

Why did Stalin deem Quantum Mechanics 'counter-revolutionary'?

I've read that in the late 1940s Stalin planned to hold a conference to discuss the ideological difficulties of physics in the Soviet Union, but called it off (presumably because of the successful ...
8
votes
2answers
159 views

How did religions interpret rainbows before science explained it? [closed]

A rainbow this morning to work made me think of how religions used to interpret these colorful appearances. Signs from the gods? Repent for your sins? A gift? I want to know how different ...
8
votes
5answers
573 views

The Needham Question: What stunted China's technological and proto-scientific advancement?

According to Joseph Needham Why did modern science, the mathematization of hypotheses about Nature, with all its implications for advanced technology, take its meteoric rise only in the West at ...
8
votes
1answer
92 views

Where would I find Graham Bell's kite experiment data?

I'm looking for experimental data (lift, drag, pull, etc...) of Graham Bell's tetrahedral kite. As he was a scientist and inventor I thought that he might have written some quantitative data down on ...
8
votes
1answer
163 views

How were heavier objects weighed in antiquity/middle ages?

How were heavier objects weighed in antiquity or the middle ages? Were balances simply scaled up in size with appropriately larger weights? Did people know how much an elephant or even an ox actually ...
8
votes
1answer
178 views

Has the strength of the historical-archaeological method ever been tested experimentally?

Historians routinely draw quite far-reaching conclusions about all aspects of society from archaeological artifacts and textual documents that – naturally – represent only a minuscule fraction of all ...
8
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1answer
383 views

Did Andrew Jackson think the earth was flat?

You will occasionally see references to the possibility that Andrew Jackson believed the earth was flat. One source for this claim is a well-respected history of the period by Edward Pessen: ...
7
votes
2answers
630 views

Why did science flourish in Germany after the First World War?

It occurred to me that Germany was extremely productive in (at least) physics in the first thirty years of the twentieth century, and especially in the period between the end of the First World War ...
7
votes
1answer
195 views

Has anyone scanned ancient structures with x-rays or similar? And if so, were any major discoveries made by doing so?

Inspired by curious' question; I now have my own: Has anyone actually* scanned the pyramids or similar ancient structures with x-rays, gamma-rays, muons, ultrasound, thermal diffusion, gravity waves ...
7
votes
1answer
123 views

When did man begin to understand the science behind hail?

When did man begin to understand the science behind hail? And most importantly what were some misconception associated with hail? For example "Wrath of God"?
7
votes
1answer
113 views

When did home weather thermometers become popular/common?

Today we look online to determine the weather. When I was little, I remember people had big thermometers hanging outside, or suctioned to the outside of, for example, the kitchen window. But when did ...
6
votes
2answers
436 views

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? [closed]

What was the "state of the art" in engineering, science, and mathematics in Ancient Egypt when the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids were built during the Third and Fourth Dynasties? How did they ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

Why was A.K.Gastev purged in 1939?

Gastev was the chief Soviet proponent of Taylorism, aka scientific management: In the Soviet Union, Taylorism was advocated by Aleksei Gastev and nauchnaia organizatsia truda (the movement for ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and the Science [closed]

For someone who is born in India, some of the few mythological stories we watch on tv/hear from our grandparents are Ramayana, excerpts from Mahabharata or other Vedic stories of gods, the vedic way ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Prominent examples of scientific racism in ancient Greece

Benjamin Isaac in his book The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity provides a prime example of scientific racism in ancient Greece: The idea that dark people are cowards, and light people ...
5
votes
1answer
257 views

When did we discover air?

I'm certain that ancient man knew of wind and of our need to breathe, but when did air as a distinct material become obvious? I notice that the four classical elements are water, wind, fire, and ...
5
votes
4answers
188 views

When did scientists first postulate that Earth's atmosphere might have an upper limit?

In plenty of myths and stories from ancient (and not-so-ancient) history, people are able to fly or climb all the way up to the "dome of the sky," breathing all the way. But even once science had ...
5
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0answers
80 views

What was the character of the Sylva Sylvarum that differentiated it from previous works?

The Sylva Sylvarum (1627) is recognized as the first 'treatise on natural history'. Some regard it as the most-complete work, for its day. But as early as 70AD, other works existed, such as Pliny's ...
4
votes
4answers
134 views

How common is “decades ahead of his time” in real history?

The idea of a super-scientist who invents things that no contemporary is able to equal because he's just that smart is a common trope in works of fiction, especially of the sci-fi or superhero ...
4
votes
1answer
223 views

How much did we know about heredity pre-Mendel?

As is common knowledge, the founder (more-or-less) of modern genetics was Gregor Mendel, who first laid down the laws of Mendelian inheritance. In particular, he discovered the existence of dominant ...
4
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0answers
168 views

How did Isaac Newton support himself in the period of self-study that he conducted at 23?(after he received his B.A.)

I quote wiki : Soon after Newton had obtained his B.A. degree in August 1665, the university temporarily closed as a precaution against the Great Plague. Although he had been undistinguished ...
4
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0answers
96 views

When was the first recorded use of hospital readmissions as a summary statistic?

When was the first recorded use, or the first recorded intention of use of hospital readmissions as a summary statistic? A hospital readmission (also called a rehospitalization) is defined as a ...
4
votes
0answers
136 views

Is one of the causes behind the cultural atmosphere surrounding the Scopes trial, and the concepts about family, “children are the future”? [closed]

To start, I noticed that during the peak of the American eugenics movement (1920-1929) that anti-evolutionary bills and eugenical bills were being passed in the same 37 states (well, just about), ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

More Scientific Discoveries Outside Academia Past 50 Years? [closed]

I heard someone claim there have been more scientific discoveries outside of academia, in industry, the past 50 years than in academia. Is this true? Has anyone tried to quantify this?
3
votes
2answers
114 views

Newton, Galileo, and Gravity

One of the few things I remember from my high school physics class is my teacher telling me that Newton discovered things like the universal law of gravitation simply because his initial premise was ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Is there a general term for epicycles, deferents, and eccentrics in Ptolemaic astronomy? [closed]

According to Ptolemy's (c. 150 CE) account of the motions of planets, planets moved in circular paths ("epicycles") around center points that in turn moved around the center of the earth along a path ...
3
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0answers
82 views

On the epistemological repercussions of 1492

Lecture 11 of Yuval Harari's online course A brief history of humankind is titled "The discovery of ignorance." In it he presents the thesis that by arriving at a land mass entirely different from ...
2
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1answer
234 views

Would modern aerodynamic design be recognizable to a vehicle expert 100 years ago?

Which is a stronger constraint on vehicle appearance: aerodynamic theory or manufacturing? If we gave Henry Ford a peek at our modern cars, would he fail to recognize it as a car? Or would it his ...
2
votes
1answer
128 views

What is the history of Research and Development laboratories?

When did Research and Development laboratories (R&D labs) emerge? What was the institutional and intellectual context? Have they undergone major changes in their nature? What role have R&D ...
2
votes
1answer
184 views

What role did Fourcroy play in Lavoisier's execution?

Wikipedia is very sketchy and hazy on this subject: By his conduct as a member of the Convention, Fourcroy has been accused of contributing to Lavoisier's death. Baron Cuvier, in his Eloge ...