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Why did science progress so much in Europe? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-1-6 03:05:31 |Display all floors
1- Why in your opinion was science able to flourish so much in Western Europe in the past few century?

Pratically everything we know about the universe and almost every modern invention was discovered by people from Europe and the US? What are the main factors you think would explains this?

There were interesting advances in ancient greece(mathematics, geometry) then the middle ages but the brakes science regressed, and then the renaissance saw a lot of science flourish and later on discoveries, creativity and breakthroughs accelerated even more in western europe (italy, france, england, germany, russia a bit and later on in the US) unlike any period in human history while things did not change much everywhere eles on earth? Why?


2- Japan. I dont know a lot about japan. They appeared to be industrialized and western-like in some ways, but baring improvements on existing technology I am not familiar with fundamental breakthroughs in science they may have made in the previous century, have they been comparable to the US/Europe? If so I would like to learn about it, if not which social difference or difference in the way their society functions would explain this divergence in your opinion?

3- Do you think the amount of discoveries is strictly proportional to the number of scientists and budget for a given level of instrumentation, or are there other factors that can make a given number of scientist more creative?

[ Last edited by icewendigo at 2007-1-6 03:24 AM ]

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Post time 2007-1-6 22:24:34 |Display all floors
This is an interesting topic.

Generally, I'd say it was the printing press and Arabic numerals that had the greatest impact.  The printing press allowed knowledge to be stored and reproduced easily.  So things that were learned and known could be distributed widely and could last beyond the lives of their authors/ inventors.  

Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3...) were a HUGE improvement over Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV...).  Many people recognize the name Roman Numerals, but they don't realize that it means the numbers used by the people who gave the West democracy, the senate, and the architecture found in many government buildings.  If we used Roman Numerals as much as Roman Civil Law, we would be in very deep trouble.  Anyway, we use the Arabic number set which has a zero, a base-ten foundation, and a place value (one with three zeros is a thousand, one with two zeros is one hundred compared to Roman system where there's no place value).

Some people also cite the system of copyright and patent, which protects intellectual property and encourages invention.  

  
龙年顺顺利利

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Post time 2007-1-6 22:41:23 |Display all floors

Reply #3 matt605's post

Western Europe is a very wet region of the World having vast amounts of shore w/oceans, rivers, seas, and lakes all of Western Europe not just Greece have taken to the water travel.

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Post time 2007-1-6 23:05:46 |Display all floors
Originally posted by icewendigo at 5-1-2007 19:05
Pratically everything we know about the universe and almost every modern invention was discovered by people from Europe and the US? What are the main factors you think would explains this?


Partly because of competition between the many countries, which often had a similar level of power - military reforms can be linked to that. Temperate climate, etc enabled them to flourish in part. Also you have to think about the sorts of society there. There was usually a place with an "open mind" people could go to, where they could express/research their ideas even if they couldn't in their own country.

In regards to Japan, it was humbled by Commodore Perry, and the reformists won control of the government. People who desired to change Japan gained power, whereas in China - for example - traditionalists beat off reformists during the Imperial era. Which is one reason China is a republic, but Japan still has a monarchy.

It's a very, very complex topic - I couldn't go into it in much detail right now.
"People are the water, the ruler is the boat; water can carry the boat, but it can also capsize it."

-- Li Shimin (2nd Tang Emperor, "Taizong")

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Post time 2007-1-6 23:10:05 |Display all floors

you shut up

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Post time 2007-1-6 23:15:48 |Display all floors

Reply #6 chinese_yang's post

They back the "all wet' side of Western Europe.

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Post time 2007-1-6 23:18:15 |Display all floors
Protestants were more rational

Why?

Arent France and Italy more Cathiloc, yet they seem to have their shre of contibutions? (I dont know I'm asking)


Generally, I'd say it was the printing press and Arabic numerals that had the greatest impact.

Printing press and Arabic Numerals are interesting aspects

Some people also cite the system of copyright and patent, which protects intellectual property and encourages invention.

Hum thats sounds like ideological spin to me.

Did coppernicus have a patent on the idea of earth circling around the moon? How much royalties did Galileo get? Did the curies want to market radiation?  When Fleming witnessed soldiers die of horrible infections did he rub his hands and say 'I will work on antisceptic research to make a fortune' and then put his little finger next to his mouth and laugh like Dr Evil?  Did he accidentaly discover and then work on penecilin for a patent?
Who owns Evolution as a concept, Pluto or Protons?

Hum, I dont know, but I think people project todays values on people of the past and overestiamate the role of the copyright system in the overall big picture.

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