Newton and After

8.1 A Century of Genius

Occasionally, in the history of human thought and achievements, we find periods to which the epithet ‘great’ may properly be applied—the fourth century before Christ in Greece, the age of the Gupta Emperors in India, and the Elizabethan age in England. In the domain of science, the 17th century in Europe was indeed a century of genius. It is obvious that in the 17th century, several factors combined to produce an exceptionally active and fertile era for Science in Europe. There was a general realization that vast realms of knowledge were awaiting investigation and analysis. The complacency that everything that needed to be known, had been told by ancient scholars like Aristotle, had evaporated. The ...

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