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. ...
48
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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 ...
39
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11answers
10k 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
3k 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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1answer
9k 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?
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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3answers
1k 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 ...
16
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1answer
848 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 ...
15
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2answers
1k views

How could Eratosthenes measure the circumference of the Earth?

Some 2,200 years ago, Eratosthenes calculated the radius of the Earth. A brief recap Plant a stick in the ground vertically, and wait until the sun is directly above the stick, that is until ...
14
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3answers
4k 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 ...
14
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3answers
426 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
votes
4answers
1k 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
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1answer
613 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
2k 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
214 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 ...
11
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1answer
310 views

How wide-spread was antisemitism in the USA during WWII?

Richard Feynman writes in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, chapter Who stole the door, that: At MIT the different fraternities all had "smokers" where they tried to get the new freshmen to be ...
11
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2answers
456 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
391 views

As many Germans fled Nazism, did some spies mix in?

Many German citizens fled Germany in the 1930s to escape persecution or discrimination. Some among them got jobs in the industry, or other potentially sensitive positions. Albert Einstein obtained ...
10
votes
4answers
687 views

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

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? What was the "state of the art" in engineering, science, and ...
10
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2answers
812 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 ...
10
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1answer
506 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
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1answer
184 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
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2answers
235 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
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5answers
689 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
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2answers
1k 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: ...
8
votes
1answer
98 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
185 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
190 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
947 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
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1answer
227 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
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1answer
139 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
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1answer
203 views

Did Archimedes have any students?

We know that Archimedes learnt a lot from his father, Phidias (who was an astronomer) and most likely studied in Alexandria, alongside other great contemporaries such as Eratosthenes of Cyrene and ...
7
votes
1answer
151 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
4answers
224 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 ...
6
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3answers
172 views

Did the passage from Latin to English, in England, help science flourish?

On a YouTube video about the origins of English, they said that replacing Latin with English in science was beneficial to the field; scientists were thus able to easily discuss and understand the ...
6
votes
2answers
217 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
votes
2answers
2k 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
196 views

Why was 17th Century England a particularly supportive place for groundbreaking thought? [closed]

Issac Newton, John Lock, Robert Hooke, Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, Robert Boyle, Francis Bacon...etc. Was 17th century England somehow more conducive to excellent new ideas or was it no more ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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
344 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
5answers
724 views

Why did Winston Churchill say “perverted science” in his Finest Hour speech?

What exactly was Winston Churchill referring to when he said "perverted science" in his Finest Hour speech? http://www.winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1940-the-finest-hour/their-finest-hour ...
5
votes
1answer
245 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
87 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
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5answers
230 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
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1answer
759 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
128 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
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0answers
143 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), ...