History: Science Through the Ages

Mozelle Martin

This is the final article in the mini-series of the Origins of Science.

The Romans conquered Greece around 2200 years ago. They used science to solve practical tasks in medicine and engineering. After the fall of the Roman Empires in the 400s A.D., the writings of Aristotle and other ancient Greeks were preserved and copied by monks in Christian monasteries.

Islamic scholars also made significant advances in chemistry and astronomy. This knowledge was the basis for European science after 1000 A.D. Most medieval scholars believed that God created the universe according to geometric and harmonic principles, and that science (especially geometry and astronomy) was directly linked to the divine. Even today, we see sacred geometry in practice.

Next, it's important to note that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460 - 377 B.C.) taught a diagnostic approach to observational-based medicine. Per NIH, "Observational studies fall under the category of analytic study designs and are further sub-classified as observational or experimental study designs. The goal of analytic studies is to identify and evaluate causes or risk factors of diseases or health-related events."

Yet, this mini-series would not be complete without mentioning Pliny the Elder (23 - 79 A.D.). Pliny was a Roman scholar who served in the military for 12 years. His most famous work with called Historia Naturalis, published in 77 A.D. It consisted of 27 separate volumes (Bella Germaniae) documenting all that Romans knew about science and the natural world. It is still regarded as the first detailed scientific encyclopedia.

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