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Europe Science Revolution Part 8

Chronology History 181A, U.C. Berkeley, Spring 2006.



3000-1200 BCE. Sumerian and Egyption observations of the universe.

Greek writing on system of Universe, the first complete systems.

427 Plato, b. 427.

384 Aristotle, b. 384, complete system.

90 ADE., Claudius Ptolemaeus, b. 90 ADE., Ptolemy.


1203 Universities begin, but Aristotle is not taught in them right away.

Dante, (b . 1265), Christianization of Aristotle’s universe.

1277 Condemnation (Paris bishop, Tempier, 219 proposals) 

1280 c. Thomas Aquinas :The double tension is the Christian belief and what the Greek believed.

1391 Chaucer, wrote on the Astrolabe - first scientific treaties in English.


1436 b. Rigiomontanus, Summoned by Pope Sixtus IV, calendar reform.

1492, Maps: Martin Behaim, the globe of the world of with Japan included. Aided Columbus in support scheme.



1450s, The Great Period of Change


1450s onward saw the emergence of new things such technology, such as the printing press, and new ideas and events that changed western civilization.


The Reconquest of Spain.

The Fall of the Eastern Roman Empire

The Northern Renaissance takes place

The Printing Press begins, A New Media World

The Reformation, A New Religious world

Columbus, A New Terrestrial World

Copernicus, A New Celestial World



1470s, Almanacs the most important book to own outside of the bible.

1473 Nicolaus Copernicus (born February 19, 1473 – died May 24, 1543) was a Polish astronomer of German origin, who is remembered for providing the first modern formulation of a heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory of the solar system in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Attached geometrics to the principle of uniform circular motion which included the earth creating a new field of thought of a natural motion of the spheres.

1492 Martin Behaim, Globe of the world.

1518 b. Sir Thomas Gresham , b. 1518, founder 1596 of the Royal Exchange and of Gresham College .


Nicolaus Copernicus, b. 1473. Places Sun at center of solar system. Copernicus Revolution.

1540s, The Council of Trent, reformation of the Latin Church.


1543, Copernicus presents theory that Earth revolves around Sun, which is placed on the Papal Index of forbidden books until 1835.

1545, At Council of Trent, the Church condemns judicial astrology.

1546 b. Tycho Brahe, Uraniborg and observations, and data for study, helped Kepler. The Tychonic system is very similar to the Copernican one, except that it has a static earth instead of a static sun.

1546, François d'Aguilon, Jesuit, began school of mathematics, in Antwerp.

1540s Council of Trent continues, establishes Jesuits as arm of the church.

1651 Giambattista Ricciole , Novum Almagestum, All knowledge summed up into an encyclopedia

1564 Galileo Galilei (b. Pisa, February 15,). Medici Moons, Telescope, centrifugal studies, Copernicus defender.

1570s-80s Accademia de Disegno, tech schoolfunded by Cosomo de' Medici ( Galileo attnd.).

1571 Johannes Kepler (b. December 27,). Three laws of motion, Newton uses these for his studies on gravity and this inverse law.

1570s Ostilio Ricci saves Newton’s life by directing to an academic path.

1571 Johannes Kepler (December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630), University of Tübingen as a theology student ( Studies, in Graz Sothern Austria), a key figure in the scientific revolution and the true founder of the New Astronomy. Kepler's elliptical orbit law: The planets orbit the sun in elliptical orbits with the (true) sun at one focus.

Kepler's equal-area law: The line connecting a planet to the sun sweeps out equal areas in equal amounts of time.

Kepler's law of periods: The time required for a planet to orbit the sun, called its period, is proportional to the long axis of the ellipse raised to the 3/2 power. The constant of proportionality is the same for all the planets. 

1571 Sacred Congregation of the Index, organized independently, donec corrigatur ( until corrected).

1580 Publishing, House of Elzevir was founded in 1580 in Leiden by Lowys (Louis) Elzevir, after William the Silent established the first Dutch university there in 1575. Published Galileo’s work.

1582 standardize the calendar, Pope Gregory XIII., the Gregorian calendar, current use.

1586 Plus Ultra (“More beyond”) Bacon is said to have published the book (Two pillars)

1596 (Gresham College, Anti-University idea) Sir Thomas Gresham , b. 1518 founder of the Royal Exchange and of Gresham College in which he designed. 

1596 b. René Descartes, ( b. village near Tours in France) new & total mechanical Universe system, influences wide & Newton in early life. The Mechanics of Motion is everything in the universe.

1610-1611, Galileo travels to Rome to try to persuade  the Jesuits of his grand strategy to convince them of adopting the Copernicus system.

1613 François d'Aguilon, b. 1546 , Set up Jesuit schools, published Opticorum libre sex (Antwerp).

1616, Cardinal Bellarmine notified Galileo Galilei of the decree of the Tribunal of the Inquisition against the Copernican hypothesis.

1619cogito ergo sum”, spiritual experience on the 10th of November 1619, Rene Descartes became enthusiastic about what he called the admirable scientific method – to serve mankind.

1620s Francis Bacon’s (1561-1626) fall from grace with court of Elizabeth & James I of England. Wanted to do away with the old philosophers because he thought they bogged down men's minds. Machines will save mankind. Idea of modern technology.

1620 e. Jacques Rohault (d.1672).

1621 Index is published.

1622 b. Francesco Bianchini, A gnomon in the south wall of the Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri projects the sun's image onto Bianchini's line every solar noon., claimed to see cracks on the moon.

1623, Il Saggiatore (The Assayer), Jesuits and Galileo get into heated matches.

1629 Huygens Christian, b. 1629, Best telescope grinder in Paris, discovered Titan and Saturn's rings. Competition Galileo. Disputed speed of light with Descartes system.

1625 Giovanni Domenico Cassini (b. June 8, 1625), Mars -parallax to determine its distance, true dimensions of the solar system, Longitude accuracy., utilized Jupiter’s system for more accurate clock.

1623 Il Saggiatore (The Essayer) Rome. Polemic, mathematical basis for science.

1632, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Florence, Galileo, under formal license of Inquisition.

Day 1, Aristotle’s physics of problems, Day 2 Diurnal motion, Day 3 Annual Motion, retrogression, tides and defending of Copernicus – not well accepted by the Jesuits.

1633 Galileo’s trial; convicted of "grave suspicion of heresy" based on the book, the Dialogue.

1634 Elzevir visits Galileo in Arcetri and agrees to publish Dialogue… Two New Sciences. d=1/2gt2

1630s Pope Urban VIII’s sublime doctrine is noticed in Simplico’s voice in Dialogue, ends Galileo friendship.

Giuseppe Campani b.1635, working with long boon telescopes.

1625 Giuseppe Campani (d.1715) was an Italian optician and astronomer, His brother, Matteo Campani-Alimenis, and he were experts in grinding and polishing lenses. Cassini used his lenses to see spots on Jupiter.

1636, Utrecht  University, established, Holland. Henri  Régnier a professor of philosophy taught the Cartesian system. Le Roy succeeded Henri  Régnier.

1637 Discourse on Method, La Géométrie, introduces Descartes mechanical system.

1638 Galileo's final book Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences, and a sort of scientific testament covering much of his work in physics over the preceding thirty years.

1643 Evangelista Torricelli (b. 1608) discovery of the principle of the barometer, professor of mathematics in the Florentine academy.

1644 Descartes, Principia Philosophiae (pub. Amsterdam), sections, titled The Principles of Human Knowledge, The Principles of Material Things, Of the Visible World and The Earth, are a study of mechanics, developing a mathematical foundation of the universe.

1644 Torricelli, De dimensione parabolae, pioneer in the area of infinite series.

1640s Galileo, Torricelli, weights falling down in every direction as if a ball was released at the same time.

1651, Giambattista Ricciole, Novum Almagestum, All knowledge summed up into an encyclopedia.

Francis Bacon, b. 1561, natural philosophy (plus ultra) practical problems., Machines will solve hard labor and sorrow.

1656 Huygens’ discovered Saturn’s rings consisted of rocks.

1657-1667, Accademia del Cimento, Italy., Prince Leopoldo de’ Medici and the Grand-duke Ferdinando II founded. To prove Galileo’s work. Studies, electricity.

Bernard Le Bouvier de Fontenelle b.1657, refutes uniqueness, the method of personal attack.

1660 Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke working together and finish around… quantitative rules…useful for life.

1660s The Airpump goes north to England. This leads to Boyle law. hH=constant.

1660, Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, founded (See Gresham College).

1662 b. Francesco Bianchini (He saw cracks on the moon; name Portugal names to places on Venus) his efforts to improve the accuracy of the calendar, Bianchini constructed several important meridian lines, devices for calculating the position of the sun and stars. The most notable of these are in the cathedral church of San Petronio in Bologna, and in the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri in Rome.

1666  Paris, Royal Academy of Sciences, founded in Paris. King Louis XIV funded. State controlled. First order to map France. Initially was credited due to the pleading of Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

1667, Geminiano Montanari (b. 1633) registers star Algol varied brightness. 1660s , The Airpump goes north to England. he moved to Bologna, where he drew an accurate map of the Moon using an ocular micrometer of his own making. He also made observations on capillarity and other problems in statics, and suggested that the viscosity of a liquid depended on the shape of its molecules. In 1669 he succeeded Giovanni Cassini as astronomy teacher at the observatory.

1740s Benedict XIV, School system replicated ever since, research institutes, pays for astronomy department, paid 24 teachers full time in which half of them were just researchers.

1670s Lorenzo Ciccarelli, lawyer, and printed index books, Copernicus( In Italy).

1671  Traité de physique  system of Jacques Rohault was founded entirely upon Cartesian principles. Lectured at Paris. Became the leading authority on natural philosophy and was translated into Latin  in 1674 and used as a university textbook. His focus of experiments were on the weight of air, and magnetism.

1672 Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625–1712) Italian astronomer & Engineer sent Jean Richer to Cayenne, French Guiana, while he himself stayed in Paris. The two made simultaneous observations of Mars and thus found its parallax to determine its distance, thus measuring for the first time the true dimensions of the solar system. Cassini was the first to make successful measurements of longitude by the method suggested by Galileo, using eclipses of the satellites of Jupiter as a clock.

1675, The Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Commission by King Charles II, Sir John Flamstead, the first Astronomer Royal, 0 degrees geographic longitude (GMT), 16 minutes annual discrepancy.

1677 Benedict de Spinoza, a rationalist metaphysics, promoter of Descartes, (Ethics) in mathematical-deductive.

1687 Principia, published in 1687 (Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica), Newton’s’ natural Philosophy. These were philosophies on matters on force of universal attraction, forces between bodies, and particles of matter; particles, meaning atoms

1690 Academe, Eustaschio Manfrede ( now, Degli Inquieti), Bologna  schools fell into a despair over the professors.

1695 Enrico Noris (b.1631-1704), Jesuits opposed his book Historica Palagiana (1673), now considered a millstone in history of dogmatics ( Sun, Heilbron), result got  promoted. curator of the Vatican Library (1695) later promoted to Cardinal.

1700 England.

1740 Laura Bassi, received license to read Descartes (Italy, academia), becomes first Italian women professor.

1740 Benedict XIV, born Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini, traditional practices codified, gives books benefit of doubt if written by Catholics. Galileo was Catholic, sincere interest in science.

1815 ― 25  Filippo Anfossi d. 1825 Vicar-General of the Order of Preachers and later Master of the Sacred Palace, doctrinal fights about math and astronomy which were to have no restrictions.

1822, Dialogue of the Two Chief World Systems, removed from Index.


1935 George Lemaître, Big Bang Theory published, b. 1894, (Expanding Universe).


(date?)Robert K. Merton, his thesis was the connection of the Protestant's ethic to capitalism.





The general concept of the universe, as the ancients saw it, can be distinguished between two key factors: The corruptible, and the incorruptible -- both divided by a lucid boundary separating the twain. The corruptible represented the center of our universe, and included the earth as a stationary fixture composed of four key elements (earth, water, fire and air), in which the the planets and stars orbited. The incorruptible represented increasing spherical boundaries composed of the eather (ether), the planets, moon, stars and everything out side of the earth’s spherical boundary. The fight of the scientists throughout the ages was to explain this system to the common man. The teleological process can be seen as we see these universes explained by philosophers and scientists down through the ages and notice an increasing blending of the twain. Today’s common fight is to tie the macrocosm and microcosm of physics, which will give us a universal theory of the universe as a whole. As the teleological process progressed we saw periods in history where new concepts linked the corruptible to the incorruptible.


Newton’s greatest achievement lay in the same dwelling of Einstein. Both were the premier thinkers of great periods of time. Both mainly relied upon other’s systems to come up with their fantastic laws and systems. Newton relied upon the Cartesian Universe system, although it is noted his polemic distain for this system in the end. Einstein relied upon all the physicians and scientists before him in which he devised his theory of relativity. Without other’s works to form the foundation of their studies and thoughts none of their achievements would be possible.  This is why we study history. In this case the study of our universe.


Philosophers utilize the deductive method. This is because they are theoretical in application - Whereas, inductive techniques begin from a set of observed data and work toward a conclusive argument, in part because they have access to the data. The inductive method is usually referred too as the scientific method. Before the scientific revolution, most astronomy utilized the philosopher method, first by asking a deductive question then trying to solve it or prove it. This is because they didn’t have the instruments to gather the correct data. This changed in the 17th century with the inventions of telescopes, and other data collecting machines.  There is a direct correlation to the scientific method and the age of technology as we look to these two distinct methods of knowledge.



Note Bold is not my writing.

The Greeks

Greek cosmology was the first scientific model of the Universe, for western civilization. It appears that the Sumerians and the Egyptians had their own but not enough collating information to construct a consistent working model for them. The Greeks began by using Sumerian and Egyptian mathematics’ and then eventually formulating their own systems with investigations on numbers and shape, arithmetic and geometry. Therefore, they constructed a theoretical universe on these numbers and shape, arithmetic and geometry.


The goal of the ancient Greek astronomer was to convince his audience of the universe acting as a uniform circular motion. This was in part due to the notion of the beauty of mathematics, where as the circle was the perfection of creation they thought, and therefore, the awe of the Universe as it seemed to the ancients were these personifications. However, they also believed that any strait line, infinite or not, can never be perfect, because only perfection had a limit, whereas, the circle’s limit is determined by its radius, and diameter. Wherever one begins to reference a starting point on a circle then a circumference can always be calculated, whereas an infinite line cannot.


The Pythagoreans had dealt with the sphere and regular solids, but the pyramid, prism, cone and cylinder were not studied until the Platonists.



When Euclid of Alexandria discovered the five solid geometric shapes, Plato postulated that these could make up the five atomic elements: Earth, Water, Air , Fire and Eather. Eather (ether) was the quintessence, which made up the heavenly spheres. In general, each of these elements occupied a particular place in the heavens and each had a duty to perform. This was an attempt to form a working model of the universe. However, Aristotle would further postulate on these significances for these elements.


Plato rejected the concept of infinite following the tenets of Pythagoras, but although Aristotle followed suit he had left room for a reasoning of an outside possibility that it could be discovered some day for a finite postulate of an infinite universe. Galileo agreed with Aristotle in his book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. “Although a strait line ( and consequently the motion along it) can be extended in infinitum ( that is to say, is unending), still nature has, so to speak arbitrarily assigned to it some terminus, and has given her natural bodies natural instincts to move toward that.” (p19-20). Therefore, the universe can be represented by a finite arrangement of natural numbers when we attach motion with some type of unknown inertia.


For Plato his universe was a kinematic model, because it explains motion as well as composition.


Aristotle became the first Greek person to discuss and write upon the universe and astronomy indepth. His cosmology would gain much acceptance up until the 1500’s, where Copernicus. Kepler and Galileo began to figure out that earth is not the center of the universe.


The Greeks knew the earth is spherical, and Aristotle promoted this theory. From ancient observations of the shadow of the Earth on the Moon, to different times the moon or in some cases Venus would set, at different places on the earth to simply looking out across the Aegean, Mediterranean or Persian Gulf seas and seeing the horizon disappear about forty-miles out, the evidence that the earth was not flat was a scientific observation, even if one was not a scientist.

Aristotle, in his first division of the Universe separates the whole into two different and contrary parts, the celestial and the elemental. The celestial being ingenerable, incorruptible, inalterable, impenetrable, etc.; the elemental being exposed to continued alteration, mutation, etc.


The four sublunar elements of earth, water, air and fire are corruptible. In essence the Earth was corruptible, while the Sun, and other spheres, the planets, along with the stars were incorruptible, and deemed divine; and therefore, he thought, they must be made up of something different. He called this the eather. And it became lingo for the description of a fifth element. The first elements mentioned were a part of the four basic corruptible elements. There motion is ‘natural.’


All bodies and their rotations are subject to the law of the spiracle. That is they are a sphere and the sphere orbits in a circle.


The Earth is at the center and next comes the Moon, Mercury, Venus then the Sun. Next Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and then the fixt stars. Each position of each body and the first stars named carry a circle- like domain zone they occupy in this universe. The next domain zone held is what is called the prime mover. The prime mover has invisible rays that move the entire universe system around in each orbits,, or as they thought of it as moving the spheres from this invisible force.

Now how did they understand this universe if they believed the Earth was the center of it and therefore, the apparent motions caused by the Earth spinning and orbit around the Sun caused aberrations of direct motion in respect to the first stars that were also thought to circle the earth but very slowly?   

Ptolemy in 150 A.D

Claudius Ptolemaeus (Greek: Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος; ca. 90 – ca. 168).

His book : Al·ma·gest

Ptolemy's astronomical universe doesn't constitute a system: The mechanisms of planetary motion are independent of each other...  (Koyré 101).

Concentric spheres

Variable brightness and the apparent appearance of retrogradation in which the ancients didn’t understand forced them to reckon their universe to these apparent allusions with mathematical formulations that included epicycles and deferents. They concluded that the planets had little orbits around these deferents that caused the appearance of the planet traveling in reverse (retrograde). For the variation is brightness, usually when the planet is in opposition to the sun, meaning the earth is in actuality between the Sun and the planet the degree of brightness increases as the planet is closer to the earth at this time.


To try to explain retrogradation, the philosophers introduced a geometric formula called Epicycles. In the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the epicycle (literally: on the circle in Greek) was a geometric model to explain the motion of the Moon, Sun, and planets attached along a small circle that was then orbiting along a deferent to an attached larger type of circle which  replaced the path of the natural elliptical orbit around the earth. In retrogradation, variations in brightness and speed create an apparent motion of the Moon, Sun, and planets. Planets went around the deferent at uniform angular velocity, and at the same time the epicycles (to which the planets were attached traveling counter-clockwise) executed their own uniform counter-clockwise circular motion.


“As viewed from Earth, the planets were seen as mostly moving eastward along the deferent. Half of the time, the added motion along the epicycle was eastward, in parallel with the eastward movement of the epicycle on the deferent. However, at times the planet would move along the epicycle in an opposite direction to the motion of the epicycle along the deferent. This would cause the planet to slow down and reverse course, ie. retrogradation.” (Wiki Epicycles)


Uniform circular motion was in an agreement with the philosophers and therefore, was deemed perfect. This system became known as the Ptolemaic Universe. Ptolemy's treaties on astronomy, and mathematics was so widely accepted and mathematically beautiful adored that when the Western Civilization fell into academic darkness during the Middle Ages, the Arabs picked up and had his book translated and gave it the new title called “ The Greatest ” (al-majisti ).


Over time more levels of epicycles (circles within circles) were added to the models, to match more accurately the observed planetary motions, as was the case with Copernicus’s Universe. However, to understand the problems associated with this dilemma of accuracy, Galileo, others in his time and the world had to wait till the period of technology and the invention of the telescope. Only the telescope could figure out the variability in planet brightness’ through close-up observations of watching light bouncing off the planet Venus; while Kepler took Brahe’s studious observations and applied his trade-mark math brilliance to come up with his area laws to show the real paths of the planets and why retrogradation was an apparent phenomenon to ancients. The Greeks and the Arabs simply didn’t have the tools necessary to figure this all out yet. It has nothing to do with that they were not intelligent. Ptolemy formulated a geocentric model that was widely accepted until it was superseded by the heliocentric solar system of Copernicus.


Fall of Rome.

Islam takes over the realm of science. There is a break for western civilization at this time.

12-13th centuries the recovery of learning slowly emerges for the west.

Medieval Aristotelian Astronomy

The recovery

The recovery of the Greek literature offered a moment in time to reorganize an often confused and disorganized universe back to its Greek basics of a well-ordered, geocentric universe.

Dante cosmology

`The Divine Comedy'

The Devine funny bone. This of course, takes place well before the scientific method, but Dante’s significance brings back to western civilization a working model from which others can start to amend it and make progressive strides in understanding our universe.


Dante adopts Aristotle’s universe and while often directly quoting from him, his universe set ups a Christianized Aristotle Model.


Yet, he Christianized his universe. Dante, in his "Divine Comedy," put the theological aspect into the  model of the Medieval Universe by providing such detailed descriptions of it (including maps of hell, purgatory, and heaven!) that people understood according to Christianity and therefore gained a wide-based approval by the Church; this in part because the Earth, the most important centricity for Christianity, meaning God’s creation of the humans, was still the prime focus for the Cosmos. Therefore, everything was in agreement with theology.


In the Greek period, the gods agreed with the reasons for the physical realities of the earth centric universe, but in the Middle Ages, the psychological universe, remained heavily invested by the Church’s to promote the notion of its importance that the universe revolved around humans.


Dante’s neo-Platonic view creates a hierarchical universe, with Divine power emanating from the Godhead and penetrating downwards to all parts of Creation. His thought process is his desire for order.

There are 10 sphere-zones in Dante’s Universe


We now further divide the celestial realm into the 9 spheres of the heavens, the sun, moon, 5 planets, the fixed stars, and the primum mobile, and we get the geocentric universe shown in this picture by Giovanni di Paolo. It shows:

The Earth (brown) at center, shown as a Mappamondo, or world map, surrounded by the three other elements, water, air, and fire, its bright red clearly marks the boundary between the sublunary and translunary realms. Then comes the moon and planets, all blue, except for the Sun, yellow-white, with gilded sunburst, and Mars, in pink, for the red planet. Then the fixed stars with signs of the zodiac, the Primum mobile (the first moved) which regulated the motion of all the spheres beneath it, and the Empyrean heaven, the home of God and the angels.

The number of rings in pictures of this sort vary from one to the other. For one thing, theologians couldn't decide whether the empyrium occupied a definite sphere, or whether it was infinite and unknowable - a big problem for artists.

Di Paolo shows no ring for the Empyrium, just a region beyond the last ring, implying it can't be contained by a circular boundary. (Paul Calter).


Order of circle- like domain zones

Each Zone has there own angles.

  1. Earth,

  2. Moon,

  3. Mercury,

  4. Venus,

  5. Sun, a larger domain space,

  6. Jupiter,

  7. Saturn,

  8. The Firmament, is where the stars preside. ( Zodiac ) cherubim are the angles

  9. Angels (?) The Primum Mobile, or first moved, the sphere which dictates the motions of the other spheres.

  10. Empyrian, the highest heavenly realm, supposed to be composed by a kind of sublimated fire, the uppermost Paradise, the heaven; the seat of God. ([[Saints, the]]) elect(?).


And in the very last paragraph of The Divine Comedy, at the end of this fantastic journey down to hell and back, and through purgatory, and up through the circles of heaven, what does Dante talk about? Beatrice? God? No. He talks aboutgeometry.

As the geometer who attempts to measure the circle
and discovers not . . . the principle he wants,
So was I at that new sight

I wished to see how the image conformed to the circle
[but] here my power failed,
but my desire and my will were revolved,
like a wheel that is evenly moved
by the love which moves the sun and the other stars.

So we end our journey to the heavens with love and with geometry; what more could anyone who loves math ask for? (Paul Calter)

Ebook Dante


Note some formulas had air, then fire as the first two domains that was before the Moon’s zone.

Dante's cosmology says that the fifth element, the ether was unattainable, and was unchangeable, and or was incorruptible.

Dante, (b . 1265) a  poet and intellectual, writes on the universe in his work The Divine Comedy. Here we see the use of dates appealed by the positions of the planets. Dante’s universe creates a major structure with a theme. The planets, the sun and the stars are incorruptible, while the terrestrial, which includes the four elements are corruptible.  This was a major divide line of distinction beginning from the Greek philosophers. 


Distinction or forming boundaries of thought creates a building block for knowledge. This new information becomes a disciplinary normality where the next person can build a thought-structure from this foundation. Dante’s universe is geocentric, dividing lines of upper and lower parts of the globe and universe, the concepts of purgatory, paradise, and the four terrestrial elements and the one incorruptible celestial element, created a universe that was irreducible by things in full. Are there atoms under the sun? No. Nothing was irreducible in Dante’s universe.  Why would Dante suggest such?  Dante’s universe came from Aristotle, but he doesn’t want the religious people to understand this. Many people say why are no footnote’s taking place in people’s work? Well this was a scheme to get around the religious authorities. Aristotle was banned so why mention it was him where one received their ideas. Also, place one’s thoughts in poetry and people think that this is fiction. But the learned can understand and they did. The learned knew who said what and where. But the common authorities had no clue.

Dante's truth claim: The way to Heaven (Paradiso) can only be achieved through feminism.

Double tensions continues until the great events of the 15th-16th  Centuries.

Hell a vast funnel-shaped cavity or reversed cone reaching from near the earth's surface to the center, which is the center of the universe, the farthest point from God. The sides of the cavity form a succession of concentric levels in diminishing circles as they approach the central depth, and on these levels the successive classes of the impenitent are punished, each lower circle punishing more severely a worse offense. Jerusalem, as the place of the Crucifixion, is the center of the land hemisphere, in the line of the central axis of Hell. The other hemisphere is all water except for the island-mountain of Purgatory, at the antipodes of Jerusalem. Dante's journey is from the edge of the pit - we are not told where or how he enters - down to the center, and then continuing in the same direction, up the bed of a subterranean stream to the shore of Purgatory.

Nicolaus Copernicus  b. 1473


"Nicolaus Copernicus (born February 19, 1473 – died May 24, 1543) was a Polish astronomer of German origin, who is remembered for providing the first modern formulation of a heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory of the solar system in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.



"...1543, Nicholas Copernicus proposed to increase the accuracy and simplicity of astronomical theory by transferring the sun's many astronomical functions previously attributed to the earth" ( Kuhn XIII).


  1. There is no one centre in the universe.

  2. The Earth's centre is not the centre of the universe.

  3. The centre of the universe is near the sun.

  4. The distance from the Earth to the sun is imperceptible compared with the distance to the stars.

  5. The rotation of the Earth accounts for the apparent daily rotation of the stars.

  6. The apparent annual cycle of movements of the sun is caused by the Earth revolving round it.

  7. The apparent retrograde motion of the planets is caused by the motion of the Earth from which one observes.

(St Andrews).

St Andrews, School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Nicolaus Copernicus , Scotland, Nov. 2002,  <> 2006.

More Sophisticated Epicycles: The Ptolemaic Universe

In some cases, epicycles were themselves placed on epicycles


  1. All motion in the heavens is uniform circular motion.

  2. The objects in the heavens are made from perfect material, and cannot change their intrinsic properties (e.g., their brightness).

  3. The Earth is at the center of the Universe.



Descartes Universe


scientific methodologies incorporated.


Descartes believed that God created the universe as a perfect, and then left it to fend for itself. However he needed to show everyone how it came about. He created a complete universe system based upon vortices acting with force, the prime ingredient of his system and the system that Newton fell in love with as a young student at Trinity College.

·        Why? The entire Aristotelian system should be replaced by this primal chaotic universe system.

·        He wanted to replace it with the Cartesian System.

Number one motive is 'Motion.'


1.     Beginning. The void is black

2.     God: " Let there be motion.

3.     Orange like balls first appear. These are ultimately little balls of knowledge and this is at the stage 1.5. This is the undifferentiated universe.

4.     Next, balls squeeze out matter.

5.     Next the balls stack upon each other.

6.     Channel particles emerge between the balls.

7.     Struggling in inertia or weight, a process of orange-sized balls faster then some channel particles that emerge.

8.     Quantity motion is converted to a universe full of vortices. This becomes stage two.

9.     The orange -like balls become suns and channel particles flow between them in a screw like motion and some screw into the oranges.

10.  Each vortices has one ball in the center with the particles swishing around.

11.  The ones that screw into the sun become sun-spots.


12.  The vortices swirl around. And if too many channel particles chaotically start flying around then,


13.  Things break free and comet-like things fly-loose from the vortices.

14.  Neighboring vortices capture the comet-like things and they become a planet.

15.  When many happen then they knock into another sweeping planets all over the vortices.

16.  The orange, or now identified as a sun captures these planets, and eventually more of the same until we have our solar system.


17.  So our Earth retained its nature of its origins of vortex.


18.  This also caused the tides. This is a notion on attraction and gravity.  Note: Newton later gets his ideas of quantitative systems from these descriptions and Descartes.  However the Universe for Newton is equivalent to what we call intelligent design, whereas Descanters system has the creator beginning the process but then leaving it to move and form by itself. Every now and then Newton interjects a thought that God intervenes to correct the aberrations that arise out of inequalities of motions of the spherical orbits and general motions.

Magnetic Fields

The twisting of the Earth Particles caused it to line up. The magnetic field was important to establishing forces and his main field of concentration that the prime motive is motion. He also discussed poles of magnetisms.


Newton’s greatest achievement lay in the same dwelling of Einstein. Both were the premier thinkers of great periods of time. Both mainly relied upon other’s systems to come up with their fantastic laws and systems. Newton relied upon the Cartesian Universe system, although it is noted his polemic distain for this system in the end. Einstein relied upon all the physicians and scientists before him in which he devised his theory of relativity. Without other’s works to form the foundation of their studies and thoughts none of their achievements would be possible.  This is why we study history. In this case the study of our universe.


Newton wanted to write human history. He wanted to write on Prophecy. He will spend much of his later years in silent work on this subject. However, in his early years he studied the classics and Aristotle, and astronomers such as Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler. Once he saw the vortices model of the Cartesian system (Descartes) he fell in love with the universe. Galileo only had bits and pieces of the universe system, but the modern philosopher Descartes’ universe system was a complete system. This made his path in life and choice of a being a philosopher (the last great one before the age of scientists) himself.


Newton was top or close to the top in his classes at King's School in Grantham (about age 12), when his mother in Oct 1659 moved him to Woolsthorpe and attempted to make him a farmer. Newton’s unhappiness and apparently Henry Stokes persuasion brought Newton back to the school where he graduated at 18 with high honors. He keeps studying and in June 1661 he is accepted to Trinity College, Cambridge. He will spend about thirty years here.


When the plague hit in 1665, he traveled to the countryside, and this is when the myth of the apple hitting his head, referencing a symbolic Adam in the Garden of Eden being hit with knowledge of God, a metaphor as a symbol to his period of greatest achievement (the "Miraculous Year" ) in a short period of time. During the plague he came up with his inverse law, and knowledges on optics, the binomial theorem and began to develop a mathematical theory that would later become calculus. Newton returned to Trinity and Newton became a fellow of Trinity College in 1669; soon after Newton circulated his calculations on method of fluxions.


Newton and Gottfried Leibniz developed the calculus independently but Newton in his usual self did not publish his findings for some time, while Leibniz put out his version. The two versions had different notations.


He was elected Lucasian professor of mathematics in 1669, and had a hard time choosing between becoming a priest along with the prestigious and higher salaried position and his true Arian thoughts on Religion. This can be, but never concluded, why he kept his religious and prophecy writings hidden from everyone. Apart from his thoughts on Arianism, he believed whole hardly in God as a prime figure who corrects the universe every once in while when it gets out of whack. He chose not to view it like Descartes who see God as a Deist , in that God creates the Universe, then leaves it to fend for itself.


From 1670 to 1672 Newton lectured on optics. Newton was the first one to understand that white light makes up all the other light in the visible spectrum, and not a  part of the spectrum as Robert Hooke, 1635-1703, thought of it as (a modified version of Descartes). This was impart some of the causes for Hook's venomous rhetoric toward Newton, who stayed in his room at Cambridge instead of venturing out to the Royal academies meetings. Newton was a mysterious or shy and can be traced back to his roots in a Freudian type of analysis. He was born with a deceased father, and his mother rejected him to a relative. He possibly held a longing for a real family his whole life.  He was a recluse, so to speak, and didn't engage in public conflict but attacked from his pen. He was rarely known to controversy, but he loved to dish it out and this may be the unsure feeling of not having a safety-net of a sound family childhood. He also, like Copernicus and Galileo, but sometimes for different reasons waited to release his work. This is another reason why he doesn't fit the model of the modern scientist - who usually releases their studies so others can advance them or study them in our communities of research. Newton's reason was his insecurity, also tying back to this childhood reason, especially from Hook who could give quite a tongue lashing in his creeds in the scientific community. Newton never got over his public wow of Hooks attacks. He waited until Hook was dead before he published his finding on light. This shows us something about his character. This is not a member of the scientific community and therefore the title of last of the natural philosophers. The French Newton, Laplace (1749-1827; and Maxwell), was really a scientific scientist. He strictly followed the modern type of methods of repeatable and observational experiments.


Newton argued that light is composed of particles and moves in waves or pulses. The Monochromatic rays, cannot be further refracted though two prisms. All color cam from white light. This was in opposition to Hook ( Descartes modified by Hook) , and the Cartesian system that thought each color had its own properties and were separated from the rest. In his Hypothesis of Light of 1675, Newton posited the existence of the ether to transmit forces between particles. Hooke attacked Newton in public, so the philosopher waited until his death to publish his findings on Opticks.


Three years later Newton returned to the subject on mechanics and gravity. He worked from Kepler’s laws and applied them to his own work. He consulted Hooke ( because he was the leader of the Royal Academi, so he had too), and Flamsteed ( First astronomer of Greenwich Observatory), whose seven-foot mural quadrant helped in his calculations of the moon’s orbit (the best graduated instrument around 1700 – Heilbron). He published his results in De Motu Corporum (1684). The new  laws of motion that would inform the Principia, were preceded in his work De Motu Corporum (1684).


The Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (now known as the Principia) was published on 5 July 1687. Edmond Halley’s encouragement and financial help needs credit for the nudging of putting Newton’s masterpiece out to the public. Newton was notorious for not wanting to publish, as with Galileo until both believed everything was tidy and accurate to the best of their abilities, in which both had self-conscious doubts about some of the scientific stuff they were working on. We look to the Principia as the syntheses of all the philosophers’ triumphs from antiquity. Here Newton put it all together what was at that time the culmination of science. He blurred furthers the corruptible and the incorruptible. We understand that universes are now all around us, because these principles applied to different parts of the whole universe. Gravity that kept the moon in orbit, now was understood to be the same as the gravity of the sun keeping the planets in orbit. Newton destroyed the Cartesian universe, however the Cartesian geometry-algebra grid system is and various modifications are still used today in most schools. Newton’s quires had a large part to do with this, as he kept these to himself most of his life continuously working out contradictions, employing his once loved Cartesian universe against other systems as well as his new laws.


Principa, published in 1687, Newton’s’ natural Philosophy. These were philosophies on matters on force of universal attraction, forces between bodies, and particles of matter; particles, meaning atoms.2


The  Queries (Questions) were sets of topics subsections on all matters of natural science that Newton set out to investigate and write his thoughts on. There were like a life guideline. At first Newton set out forty-five headings under which to organize material gained from his new readings.  These readings kick-started his knowledge based upon natural science. The philosophies of Descartes, equated matter with tension, and other investigations on natural laws. Vortexes and vacuums, and optics connected not only to celestial phenomena, but earthly applications as well.3


The Queries wound up focusing on the Cartesian mechanical philosophy and atomism, an issue that would remain a central theme of his scientific career.4

The Significance of the Newtonian Synthesis

Newton’s insight and experimental genius – not skill…Robert Hooke, were just as skilled, or even more so than he – that we own the idea of decomposition of light and the first scientific theory of spectral colors; that it is to his deep philosophical mind that we owe the formulation – though not the discovery – of the fundamental laws of motion and of action, together with a clear understanding of the method and meaning of scientific inquiry; that is his invention of calculus that enabled him to demonstrate the identity of terrestrial and celestial gravitation and to find out the fundamental laws of attraction that binds – or at least until recently bound – together the smallest and the largest bodies  – stars and atoms   –  of the infinite Universe. We know too, of course, that it is not to him, but to his great rival Leibniz, that we owe de facto the actual spread and development of the infinitesimal calculus, without which the gradual extension and perfection of the Newtonian systema mundi would be impossible.9


It has often been said, too, that the distinctive feature of the Newtonian science consists precisely in the linking together of the mathematics and experiment, in the mathematical treatment of the phenomena, that is, of the experimental or (as in astronomy, where we cannot perform experiments) observational data.10


The overwhelming success of Newtonian physics made it practically inevitable that its particular features became thought of as essential for the building of science -- of any kind of science ― as such, and that all the new sciences that emerged in the eighteenth century ― science of man and society – tried to confirm to the Newtonian pattern of empirico ― deductive knowledge, and to abide by the rules laid down by Newton in his famous Regulae philosophandi, soften quoted and misunderstood.11

Newton and the Cambridge Platonists.

Natural philosophy within the mathematical framework See: Principia.

The philosophy of interlinking the mechanical physics to natural philosophy of the ancients and his own thoughts became paramount, the various ancient thought of spiritual-natural things acting on bodies. “The Providence of God the craftsman”, Newton says of Plato.12 Newton, and the Cambridge Platonists, was as their task the unification and restoration of this philosophy. 13 Newton states the cause of gravity, for the ancients, was God.14


The splitting up of the natural and divine knowledge began with taking God’s natural proofs away, or figuring them into the cosmological system of astronomy and physics, from epistemology. Newton believed that he knew how God’s agency operated in His created world, particularly in the cause of gravitation.15 For many people, this statement is shocking. Rather, he shared the belief, common in the seventeenth century, that natural and divine knowledge could be harmonized and shown to support each other.16


Roger Cotes, Newton’s admired editor, adds to Query 21 that those who deny the vacuum deny God for the sake of asserting Necessity.17


Basically, Newton knew humans and his fellow scientists do not have all the answers and, even today, we still do not. Therefore the act of God’s agency of the cosmos is still in question. During the 1450s after the printing press, many anti-Aristotelian and Platonist individuals wanted to reformulate the new scientific research in an unnatural way. Their intellect was, in fact, superior to a central intelligence of a God. In the eighteenth century a number of books came out to try to explain Newton in a simplified language for the masses. From an account of Sir Isaac Newton by Colin Maclaurin,  Philosophical Descoveries, London: printed for the authors children,1748.


Speculative men, by the force of genius, may invent systems that will perhaps be greatly admired for a time; these however, are phantoms which the force of truth will sooner or later dispel: and while we are pleas’d with the deceit, true philosophy, with all the arts and improvements that depend upon it, suffers. The real state of things escape our observation: or, if it presents itself to us, we are apt either to reject it wholly as fiction, or by new efforts of a vain ingenuity, to interweave it with our own conceits, and labor to make it tally with our favourite schemes. Thus, by blending together parts so ill suited, the whole comes forth an absurd composition of truth and error.18


Mathematics was not seen as spiritual or connected to a god.

Newton's Cosmology

“Now, in order to include God in the world, Newton declared , in the 1706 Lain Opticks, that the world by it self tended to dissolution, and consequently needed periodic reformation buy the Creator". Newton showed a need for these periodic reformations and even hit upon a possible mechanism by which they could be preformed.19

2. Newton, eds., Bernard Cohen and Richard S. Westfall, (New York: Norton & Company, 1995), 5.


3. Ibid.

4. Ibid., 4.

5. Ibid., 24.

6. Ibid., 21.

7. Ibid., 13.

8. Ibid., 25.

9. Ibid., 59.

10. Ibid., 68.

11. Ibid., 69.

12. Ibid., 106.

13. Ibid., 107.

14. Ibid., 104.

15. Ibid., 97.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid., 86.

18. Ibid., 122.

19. Ibid., 284.


Newton and Intelligent Design


Newton spent about 30 years at Trinity College and the 35 years in England and Cambridge.

 Isaac Newton's only authentic painting is the one when he was around sixty-years old and after he was at Cambridge. He was the Einstein of his time up until the 20h century. In his day he was considered a natural philosopher of the highest order. In the 18th century he became almost deified, and by the 19th century he was regarded as the a figure we think of as Einstein today. He is the most famous for three laws on motion and bringing back the occult, old age argument for gravity. He believed it held the universe together. We need to understand the incorruptible and the corruptible coming together as one. This meant he believed that the terrestrial and the celestial operated under the same laws. This was of course was in direct contrast with Aristotle and Ptolemy universes ( also see Galileo's Dialogue Day I for his argument too). Bacon's natural history was an inductive method, where collections of natural mater were worked into knowledges. The Cartesian method was a deductive method. These were the first types of scientific methods, however Newton cannot really be classified as such although his experiments in alchemy do show attempts to observe data in a scientific manner, but at a minor significance. He was the last of the natural philosophers and in the last fifty-years new research, thanks in part to the Portsmith Papers (1936), we know that religion was a huge topic for Newton who wrote a lot on this subject but kept it secret due to his Trinity affiliation and the Anglican Church. These papers, unpublished revealed an incredible world of religion and a man struggling with which direction he should travel. He was obsessed with religion to point of trying to trace back to the Babylonians the in chronology the origins of religion. However, not a deist, nor a non-believer he denied the trinity and still believed whole heartedly in the maker that is involved in all our lives intimately and also involved in the universe - correcting the clocks once in a while ( orbits of planets) when they went occasionally out of whack. He was an Arian who practiced alchemy.


What was alchemy? Andreas Libavius (1550-1616) made Alchemy easy for the public to understand. In 1597, he wrote the first systematic chemistry textbook, Alchemia, which included instructions for the preparation of several strong acids. This was the first form of the science of chemistry. Although the spiritual connotations were attached to this subject, and Newton's own philosophy of it as well, we see practical applications in his work, especially Query 31. When he was around twenty years-old we got another glimpse into his persona. He wrote a confession of forty-nine sins in which he tells us he was a bully at school ( elementary-to high school equivalent levels), he beat up people and including his half sister and that he was not following " The," meaning God, his affection, he wrote. This showed his mental sins as morbid, and abandoned mentally from others, and also showed a troubled youth. "My family spurned me."  He was a recluse and never married or had good relationships to women. He had two relationships with men. After the plague hit, this is one of the periods in his life where he created much. This was a period of about eight-months in which he worked out much of the problems in the new calculus system and gravity. This was called the " Miraculous Year." As far as his professorship in Trinity there is little evidence to him having students. A legend says that he taught to walls, meaning that his lectures on math were troublesome and he lost his audience. A professor named Issac Barrows gave up his seat for him to occupy a position at the College where he received a good salary to be able to study what he need and wanted too. This was a key factor in any person that accomplished much in life. His latent publishing methods were due to fear of being laughed at.


Alchemistry, or the Newtonian model was his understanding that the universe was a cryptogram created by God and knowledge was the way to unlock it and not faith.  The occult plus the studies on force brings back the issue of gravity. He didn't believe in faith, revelation of the trinity (Jesus as divine) but understood knowledge.  He believed in intelligent design. He would say 'we can only know through the study of natural philosophy God . He didn't believe in the lazy God scenario of Descartes universe. God is not just motion, who creates something in the universe and leaves it to fend for its self. This was , his thoughts on Descartes' handling of God.


The notion of a scientific method before the modern version could be discussed as similarities to the method we know today; we look at Astrology which was huge in the middle ages. Astrology used methods like the scientific method regardless if one believes in it or not. The data was collected, there was involvement around the data, there was a prediction outcome and it provided a livelihood for many including Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and many others as discussed these sections.


The Universe started out as a separation of one body, the earth which was corruptible, singular in general, and as the center with everything ( other than the moon) orbiting around it. The Universe left to us by Newton and his synthesis, were many bodies in which things orbited as little universes, and the corruptible was now seen in all parts of the universe and not only the earth. The ancients long ago believed that the outer planets emitted their own light, and were made of incorruptible material enveloped by eather and moved by a prime mover around the stability of the center that was the Earth. The new universe now consisted of changing dynamics, observed phenomenon accentuated by new instruments of data collection and new horizons of astronomical enquiry. More so then before the scientific revolution, the universe will change, progress and give up its secrets to the new breed of scientists that come after Newton. He was the last philosopher of his time, and the new inductive method taken over by a new paradigm forges forward into the 21st Century. The new questions that still arise are what is gravity. We can calculate it, understand its forces, but we know not from whence it came. Newton’s belief until the end that God is the great designer and has a periodic hand in correcting the often vacillating universe is not far fetched. We still do not know why planets circle a center in a diurnal motion. Could it be, as if I was a philosopher at this moment, a far off center, in a far off region of the universe that acts as the same center of all of these universe systems, whereas it is a reflection of out own solar system, with its vast galaxy systems revolving in a diurnal motion around some vast center we know not of yet. But what about a polarity where as like the earth the vortex rotates in an opposite motion differentiated at the equator? A philosopher can deduce with this assumed proof and see where new technologies of the future can answer this question. Only then can we tie the macrocosm and the microcosm together and write a formula about as long as an inch describing the complete mechanics of the universe.


Michael Johnathan McDonald, April & May 2006, at Berkeley,  Addressing what I’ve learnt about the progression of knowledge of our Universe from  History 181A., Spring 2006.



Galileo, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, trans., Stillman Drake, 3d. ed, fwd., Albert Einstein (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), 19, 20.


Koyré, Alexander , The Astronomical Revolution: Copernicus-Kepler- Borelli 2nd ed. ( Ithaca: Dover Publications, Inc, New York,1992).

Paul Calter, Celestial Themes in Art & Architecture   [database on-line] Dartmouth College, (Hanover: New Hampshire,1998).

Khun S. Thomas. The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought, 2nd ed., (Boston: President of Fellows of Harvard, 1957) XIII.

Good Greek Universe rant

The Universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy and the Role of Eratosthenes

Bazaar Dante


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