IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > B. Early Modern Europe, 1479–1815 > 2. Science and Learning, 1450–1700
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
2. Science and Learning, 1450–1700
a. Science
Publication of Pliny's Historia naturalis, the first scientific book to be printed.  1
Hieronymus Brunschwig (1450–c. 1512) published Das Buch der rechten kunst zu distillieren; its bold woodcuts were the first illustrations to depict chemical apparatus and operations.  2
Philippus Paracelsus (Theophrastus von Hohenheim) (1493–1541) crusaded for the use of chemicals in the treatment of disease. He introduced the system of salt, sulphur, and mercury as the three prime “elements,” from which all things are made.  3
Niccolò Tartaglia (?1500–1557), in Nova scientia, discussed the motion of heavy bodies and the shape of the trajectory of projectiles.  4
Posthumous publication of De la pirotechnica, a handbook of metallurgy containing information about smelting and ore reduction compiled by Vannoccio Biringuccio (1480–1539).  5
Leonhart Fuchs (1501–66) used the botanical work of his contemporaries, Otto Brunsfels (1488–1534), Jerome Bock (1498–1554), and Conrad Gesner (1516–65), to prepare a great herbal, describing some 400 plants, illustrated by realistic woodcuts.  6
The Polish astronomer NICOLAUS COPERNICUS (Niklas Kopernik) (1473–1543) published De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, which asserted that the planets, including the earth, circle around a stationary sun. Modern astronomy rests on his work.  7
ANDREAS VESALIUS (1514–64) produced De fabrica corporis humani, an illustrated, systematic study of the human body. This work is a union of Renaissance artistic endeavor and a revived interest in the empirical study of human anatomy.  8
Geronimo Cardano (1501–76) published the solution of the cubic equation in Ars Magna; this first major advance in mathematics in the European Renaissance provoked a bitter dispute with Niccolò Tartaglia, who claimed to have discovered it. Cardano described a tactile system similar to Braille for teaching the blind and believed the deaf could be taught by signs.  9
Ambroise Paré (1510–90) encouraged a pragmatic approach to surgery. He promoted the dressing of gunshot wounds rather than the traditional practice of cauterizing them with boiling oil.  10
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.