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The human body in medieval and modern science

By |2018-04-25T17:09:55+00:00September 6th, 2017|Biology, Science|

Chinese drawing of the organs (about 1200) Between the Middle Ages and modern times, doctors have learned a lot of new things about how human bodies work. The Islamic doctor Al-Tabari, in the early 800s, learned that light bounces off objects into your eyes. Al-Tabari's student Al Razi figured out that a fever is your body's way of fighting illness, not [...]

Ptolemy – Roman astronomy – history of science

By |2018-04-11T09:22:19+00:00September 4th, 2017|Romans, Science|

A copy of Ptolemy's map of the world Ptolemy was born in Egypt in about 90 AD, when the Romans were ruling Egypt. He was a Roman citizen. Probably he was the son or grandson of a Roman government slave - maybe a clerk - who was freed and got citizenship. As a boy, Ptolemy went to Greek schools in Alexandria and wrote in Greek. When [...]

Galen and Roman medicine – doctors in the Roman Empire

By |2018-04-18T18:18:03+00:00September 4th, 2017|Romans, Science|

Roman medicine: Galen used surgical instruments like these Roman medicine is really West Asian and African medicine. That's because most of the great doctors of the Roman Empire lived in West Asia (in Turkey and Syria), or in Africa (in Egypt), not in Europe. These doctors started from earlier Egyptian, Indian, and Greek medical research. Like Egyptian [...]

Why is the sky blue? Weather science

By |2017-08-20T23:42:12+00:00August 20th, 2017|Physics|

Blue sky with cirrus clouds This is an easy question to ask but the answer is pretty hard. The light that comes from the Sun to Earth looks white, but really it is made up of all different colors of light mixed together. You can see this by using a glass of water or a glass prism to break up [...]

David Hume – European philosophy

By |2018-04-24T09:15:54+00:00August 6th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

David Hume, the European philosopher Soon after Hobbes and Locke died, starting in 1739 AD, David Hume published more important books about philosophy. Hume disagreed with Descartes' idea that people did what their reason or logic told them was best. Hume thought people were more likely to just do what they wanted, even if they knew it was wrong [...]

Roger Bacon – Medieval science

By |2018-04-24T08:21:21+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Roger Bacon's diagram of a human eye Roger Bacon was born in England maybe about 1210 AD. It was late in the reign of King John. (That's the one in Robin Hood.) England was just beginning to get richer from raising and selling high quality wool cloth on the Silk Road. In addition, a warmer climate - the Medieval Warm period - was making [...]

Francis of Assisi – Medieval Europe

By |2018-10-02T06:59:07+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Francis of Assisi gives his father back his clothes (Giotto, in Assisi) Who was Francis of Assisi? By 1200 AD, the Catholic Church was very powerful. Bishops and popes were often rich men. They cared more about getting rich collecting tithes than they did about praying or helping poor people. What is a bishop? What is the pope? History of [...]

Medieval Islamic medicine – the first hospitals and quarantines

By |2018-04-18T18:18:05+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Islamic medicine: From an Ottoman manuscript, two doctors telling the pharmacist how to make different medicines Writing medical encyclopedias Doctors made big scientific advances in medicine during the Islamic empire. Islamic doctors began by collecting all the medical observations and logic of the past. They translated the work of Hippocrates and his followers, and Galen, into Arabic. About 750 [...]

Medieval Islamic science

By |2018-04-24T08:21:20+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tusi's diagram of linear motion from circular motion In the Early Middle Ages, before the formation of the Islamic Empire, Buddhists ran the world's biggest universities. One was in India, at Nalanda. Another was in what is now Pakistan, at Taxila. In Egypt, the University of Alexandria was still an important center of learning, too. Most serious scholars went to [...]