100 Greatest Science Discoveries of All Time

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100 Greatest Science Discoveries of All Time Kendall Haven LIBRARIES UNLIMITEDLe vers and Buoy ancy Le vers and Buoyancy Levers And Buoyancy Year of Dis cov ery: 260 B.C. What Is It? The two fun da men tal prin ci ples un der ly ing all phys ics and en gi neer ing. Who Dis cov ered It? Ar chi me des Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? The con cepts of buoy ancy (wa ter pushes up on an ob ject with a force equal to the weight of water t hat the ob ject dis places) and of levers (a force push ing down on one side of a le ver cre ates a lift ing force on the other side that is pro por tional to the lengths of the two sides of the le ver) lie at the foun da tion of all quan ti ta tive sci ence and en gi neering. The y rep - re sent hu man ity’s ear li est break throughs in un der stand ing the re la tion ships in the phys i cal world around us and in de vis ing math e mat i cal ways to de scribe the phys i cal phe nom ena of the world. Countles s en gi neering and s ci en tific advances have depended on those two discoveries. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? In 260 B.C. 26-year-old Ar chi me des stud ied the two known sci ences—as tron omy and ge om e try—in Syr a cuse, Sic ily. One day Archi me des was dis tracted by four boys play ing on the beach with a drift wood plank. They bal anced the board over a waist-high rock. One boy strad dled one end while his three friends jumped hard onto the other. The lone boy was tossed into the air. The boys slid the board off-cen ter along their bal anc ing rock so that only one-quar ter of it re mained on the short side. Three of the boys climbed onto the short, top end. The fourth boy bounded onto the ris ing long end, crash ing it back down to the sand and cat a pult - ing his three friends into the air. Ar chi me des was fas ci nated. And he de ter mined to un der stand the prin ci ples that so eas ily al lowed a small weight (one boy) to lift a large weight (three boys). Ar chi me des used a strip of wood and small wooden blocks to model the boys and their drift wood. He made a trian gu lar block to model their rock. By mea sur ing as he balance d dif fer ent com bi na tions of weights on each end of the le ver (le ver came from the Latin word mean ing “to lift”), Archi me des re al ized that le vers were an ex am ple of one of Euclid’ s pro - por tions at work. The force (weight) push ing down on each side of the lever ha d to be pro - por tional to the lengths of board on each side of the bal ance point. He had discov ered the math e mat i cal con cept of le vers, the most com mon and basic lifting system ever devised. 34 Le vers and Buoyancy Fif teen years later, in 245 B.C., Ar chi me des was ordere d by King Hieron to find out whether a gold smith had cheated the king. Hieron had given the smith a weight of gold and asked him to fash ion a solid-gold crown. Even though the crown weighed ex actly the same as the orig i nal gold, the king sus pected that the gold smith had wrapped a thin layer of gold around some other, cheaper metal in side. Ar chi me des was or dered to dis cover whether the crown was solid gold with out dam ag ing the crown itself. It seemed like an im pos si ble task. In a pub lic bath house Ar chi me des no ticed his arm float ing on the wa ter’s sur face. A vague idea be gan to form in his mind. He pulled his arm com pletely un der the sur face. Then he re laxed and it floated back up. He stood up in the tub. The wa ter level dropped around the tub’s sides. He sat back down. The wa ter level rose. He lay down. The wa ter rose higher, and he re al ized that he felt lighter. He stood up. The wa ter level fell and he felt heavier. Wa ter had to be push ing up on his sub merged body to make it feel lighter. He car ried a stone and a block of wood of about the same size into the tub and sub merged them both. The stone sank, but felt lighter. He had to push the wood down to sub merge it. That meant that wa ter pushed up with a force re lated to the amount of wa ter dis placed by the ob ject (the ob ject’s size) rather than to the ob ject’s weight. How heavy the ob ject felt in the wa ter had to re late to the ob ject’s den sity (how much each unit vol ume of it weighed). That showed Ar chi me des how to an swer the king’s ques tion. He re turned to the king. The key was den sity. If the crown was made of some other metal than gold, it could weigh the same but would have a dif fer ent den sity and thus oc cupy a dif fer ent volume. The crown and an equal weight of gold were dunked into a bowl of wa ter. The crown dis placed more wa ter and was thus shown to be a fake. More im por tant, Ar chi me des dis cov ered the prin ci ple of buoy ancy: Wa ter pushes up on ob jects with a force equal to the amount of wa ter the ob jects displace. Fun Facts: When Archi me des dis cov ered the con cept of buoy ancy, he leapt form the bath and shouted the word he made fa mous: “Eu reka” which means “I found it” That word becam e the motto of the state of Cal i - for nia af ter the first gold rush min ers shouted that they had found gold. More to Ex plore More to Ex plore: Allen, Pamela. Mr. Ar chi me des Bath. Lon don: Gar den ers Books, 1998. Ben dick, Jeanne. Ar chi me des and the Door to Sci ence. New York: Beth le hem Books, 1995. Gow, Mary. Ar chi me des: Math e mat i cal Ge nius of the An cient World. Berke ley Heights, NJ: Enslow Pub lish ers, 2005. Heath, Tom. The Works of Ar chi me des: Ed ited in Mod ern No ta tion. Do ver, DE: Ad a - mant Me dia Cor po ra tion, 2005. Stein, Sherman. Ar chi me des: What Did He Do Be sides Cry Eu reka? Wash ing ton, DC: The Math e mat i cal As so ci a tion of Amer ica, 1999. Zannos, Su san. The Life and Times of Ar chi me des. Hockessin, DE: Mitch ell Lane Pub - lish ers, 2004.The Sun Is the Cen ter of the Uni verse The Sun Is the Cen ter of the Uni verse THE SUN IS THE CEN TER OF THE UNI VERSE Year of Dis cov ery: A.D. 1520 What Is It? The sun is the cen ter of the uni verse and the earth ro tates around it. Who Dis cov ered It? Nicholaus Co per ni cus Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Co per ni cus mea sured and ob served the plan ets and stars. He gath ered, compiled, and com pared the ob ser va tions of doz ens of other as tron o mers. In so do ing Co per ni cus chal - lenged a 2,000-year-old be lief that the earth sat mo tion less at the cen ter of the uni verse and that plan ets, sun, and stars ro tated around it. His work rep re sents the be gin ning point for our un der stand ing of the uni verse around us and of modern astronomy. He was also the first to use sci en tific ob ser va tion as the ba sis for the de vel op ment of a sci en tific the ory. (Be fore his time logic and thought had been the ba sis for the ory.) In this way Co per ni cus launched both the field of mod ern as tron omy and mod ern scientific methods. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? In 1499 Co per ni cus grad u ated from the Uni ver sity of Bo lo gna, It aly; was or dained a priest in the Cath o lic Church; and re turned to Po land to work for his un cle, Bishop Waczenrode, at the Frauenburg Ca the dral. Co per ni cus was given the top rooms in a ca the - dral tower so he could con tinue his as tron omy measurements. At that time people sti ll be lieved a model of the universe cre ated by the Greek sci en tist, Ptol emy, more than 1,500 years ear lier. Ac cord ing to Ptol emy, the earth was the cen ter of the uni verse and never moved. The sun and plan ets re volved around the earth in great cir- cles, while the dis tant stars perched way out on the great spher i cal shell of space. But care ful mea sure ment of the move ment of plan ets didn’t fit with Ptolomy’s model. So astron o mers mod i fied Ptol emy’s uni verse of cir cles by add ing more cir cles within cir cles, or epi-cir cles. The model now claimed that each planet trav eled along a small cir cle (epi-cir cle) that rolled along that planet’s big or bital cir cle around the earth. Cen tury af ter cen tury, the er rors in even this model grew more and more ev i dent. More epi-cir cles were added to the model so that plan ets moved along epi-cir cles within epi-circles. 56 The Sun Is the Cen ter of the Uni verse Co per ni cus hoped to use “mod ern” (six teenth-cen tury) tech nol ogy to im prove on Ptol - emy’s mea sure ments and, hope fully, elim i nate some of the epi-circles. For almost 20 years Co per ni cus pains tak ingly mea sured the po si tion of the plan ets each night. But his ta bles of find ings still made no sense in Ptol emy’s model. Over the years, Co per ni cus be gan to won der what the move ment of the plan ets would look like from an other mov ing planet. When his cal cu la tions based on this idea more accu - rately pre dicted the plan ets’ ac tual move ments, he be gan to won der what the mo tion of the plan ets would look like if the earth moved. Im me di ately, the logic of this notion became apparent. Each planet ap peared at dif fer ent dis tances from the earth at dif fer ent times through out a year. Co per ni cus re al ized that this meant Earth could not lie at the cen ter of the plan ets’ cir cu lar paths. From 20 years of ob serva tions he knew that only the sun did not vary in ap par ent size over the course of a year. This meant that the dis tance from Earth to the sun had to al ways re main the same. If the earth was not at the cen ter, then the sun had to be. He quickly cal cu - lated that if he placed the sun at the uni verse’s cen ter and had the earth or bit around it, he could com pletely elim i nate all epi-cir cles and have the known plan ets travel in sim ple cir - cles around the sun. But would any one be lieve Co per ni cus’s new model of the univers e? The whole world—and es pe cially the all-pow er ful Cath o lic Church—be lieved in an Earth-cen tered universe. For fear of ret ri bu tion from the Church, Co per ni cus dared not re lease his find ings dur - ing his life time. They were made pub lic in 1543, and even then they were con sistentl y scorned and rid i culed by the Church, as tron o mers, and uni ver si ties alike. Fi nally, 60 years later, first Johannes Kep ler and then Ga li leo Galilei proved that Copernicus was right. Fun Facts: Ap prox i mately one mil lion Earths can fit in side the sun. But that is slowly chang ing. Some 4.5 pounds of sun light hit the earth each sec ond. More to Ex plore More to Ex plore More to Ex plore Crowe, Mi chael. The o ries of the World from An tiq uity to the Co per ni can Rev o lu tion. New York: Do ver, 1994. Dreyer, J. A His tory of As tron omy from Thales to Kep ler. New York: Do ver, 1998 Fradin, Den nis. Nicolaus Co per ni cus: The Earth Is a Planet. New York: Mondo Pub - lish ing, 2004. Goble, Todd. Nicolaus Co per ni cus and the Found ing of Mod ern Astornomy. Greens - boro, NC: Mor gan Reynolds, 2003. Knight, Da vid C. Co per ni cus: Ti tan of Mod ern As tron omy. New York: Frank lin Watts, 1996 Vollman, Wil liam. Uncentering the Earth: Co per ni cus and the Rev o lu tions of the Heav enly Spheres. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006.Hu man Anat omy Hu man Anat omy Hu man Anat omy Year of Dis cov ery: 1543 What Is It? The first sci en tific, ac cu rate guide to hu man anat omy. Who Dis cov ered It? Andreas Vesalius Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? The hu man anat omy ref er ences used by doc tors through the year A.D. 1500 were ac tu ally based mostly on an i mal stud ies, more myth and er ror than truth. Andreas Vesalius was the first to in sist on dis sections, on ex act phys i o log i cal ex per i ment and di - rect ob ser va tion—sci en tific meth ods—to cre ate his anat omy guides. His were the first re li able, ac cu rate books on the struc ture and work ings of the hu man body. Versalius’s work de mol ished the long-held re li ance on the 1,500-year-old an a tom i cal work by the early Greek, Galen, and marked a per ma nent turn ing point for med i cine. For the first time, ac tual ana tom i cal fact re placed con jec ture as the ba sis for medical profession. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? Andreas Vesalius was born in Brussels in 1515. His fa ther, a doc tor in the royal court, had collec ted an ex cep tional med i cal li brary. Young Vesalius poured over each volume a nd showed im mense cu ri os ity about the function ing of liv ing things. He often c aught and dis - sected small an i mals and insects. At age 18 Vesalius trav eled to Paris to study med i cine. Phys i cal dis section of a n i mal or hu man bod ies was not a com mon part of accept ed med i cal study. If a dissec tion had to be per formed, pro fessors lectured w hile a bar ber did the actual c ut ting. Anat omy was taught from the draw ings and translate d texts of Galen, a Greek doc tor whose texts were written in 50 B.C. Vesalius was quickly rec og nized as bril liant but ar ro gant and ar gu men ta tive. Dur ing the sec ond dis section he a t tended, Vesalius snatched the knife from the bar ber and dem on - strated both his skill at dis sec tion and his knowl edge of anat omy, to the amaze ment of all in attendance. As a med i cal stu dent, Vesalius becam e a ring leader, lur ing his fel low stu dents to raid the boneyards of Paris for skel e tons to study and grave yards for bod ies to dis sect. Vesalius reg u larly braved vi cious guard dogs and the grue some stench of Paris’s mound of Monfaucon (where the bod ies of ex e cuted crimi nals were dumped) just to get his hands on freshly killed bodies to study. 78 Hu man Anatomy In 1537 Vesalius grad u ated and moved to the Uni ver sity of Padua (It aly), where he be- gan a long se ries of lec tures—each cen tered on ac tual dis sec tions and tis sue ex per i ments. Stu dents and other pro fessors flocked to his classes, fasci nated by his skill and by the new re al ity he un cov ered—mus cles, ar ter ies, nerves, veins, and even thin struc tures of the human brain. This se ries cul mi nated in Jan u ary 1540, with a lec ture he pre sented to a packed the ater in Bo lo gna, Italy. L ike all other med i cal stu dents, Versalius had been trained to be lieve in Galen’s work. How ever, Vesalius had long been trou bled becaus e so many of his dis sec- tions re vealed ac tual struc tures that dif fered from Galen’s descriptions. In this lec ture, for the first time in pub lic, Vesalius revealed his ev i dence to dis credit Galen and to show that Galen’s de scrip tions of curved hu man thigh bones, heart cham bers, seg mented breast bones, etc., better matched the anat omy of apes than hu mans. In his lec- ture, Vesalius de tailed more than 200 dis crep an cies be tween ac tual hu man anat omy and Galen’s de scrip tions. Time af ter time, Vesalius showed that what ev ery doctor and s ur geon in Eu rope relied on f it better with apes, dogs, and sheep than the hu man body. Galen, and ev ery med i cal text based on his work, were wrong. Vesalius stunned the lo cal med i cal com mu nity with this lec ture. Then he se cluded him self for three years pre par ing his de tailed anat omy book. He used mas ter art ists to draw what he dis sected—blood ves sels, nerves, bones, or gans, mus cles, ten dons, and brain. Vesalius com pleted and pub lished his mag nif i cent anat omy book in 1543. When med - i cal pro fes sors (who had taught and be lieved in Galen their en tire lives) re ceived Vesalius’s book with skep ti cism and doubt, Vesalius flew into a rage and burned all of his notes and stud ies in a great bon fire, swear ing that he would never again cut into human tissue. Luck ily for us, his pub lished book sur vived and be came the stan dard anat omy text for over 300 years. Fun Facts: The av er age hu man brain weighs three pounds and con tains 100 bil lion brain cells that con nect with each other through 500 tril lion den drites No won der it was hard for Vesalius to see in di vid ual neu rons. More to Ex plore More to Ex plore More to Ex plore More to Ex plore O’Mal ley, C. Andreas Vesalius of Brussels. Novato, CA: Jeremy Nor man Co., 1997. Persaud, T. Early His tory of Hu man Anat omy: From An tiq uity to the Be gin ning of the Mod ern Era. Lon don: Charles C. Thomas Pub lish ers, 1995. Saunders, J. The Illus tra tions from the Works of Andreas Vesalius of Brussels. New York: Do ver, 1993. Srebnik, Her bert. Con cepts in Anat omy. New York: Springer, 2002. Tarshis, Jerome. Andreas Vesalius: Fa ther of Mod ern Anat omy. New York: Dial Press, 1999. Vesalius, Andreas. On the Fab ric of the Hu man Body. Novato, CA: Jeremy Nor man, 1998.The Law of Fall ing Ob jects The Law of Fall ing Ob jects The Law of Fall ing Ob jects Year of Dis cov ery: 1598 What Is It? Ob jects fall at the same speed re gard less of their weight. Who Dis cov ered It? Ga li leo Galilei Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? It seems a sim ple and ob vi ous discov ery. Heavier ob jects don’t fall faster. Why does it qual ify as one of the great dis cov er ies? Be cause it ended the prac tice of sci ence based on the an cient Greek theo ries of Ar is totle and Ptolemy a nd launched mod ern sci ence. Ga li leo’s dis cov ery brought phys ics into the Re nais sance and the mod ern age. It laid the foun da tion for New ton’s dis cov er ies of uni ver sal grav i ta tion and his laws of mo tion. Ga li leo’s work was an es sen tial build ing block of modern physics and engineering. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? Ga li leo Galilei, a 24-year-old math e mat ics pro fes sor at the Uni ver sity of Pisa, It aly, of ten sat in a lo cal ca the dral when some nag ging prob lem weighed on his mind. Lamps gently swung on long chains to il lu mi nate the ca the dral. One day in the sum mer of 1598, Ga li leo re al ized that those lamps al ways swung at the same speed. He de cided to time them. He used the pulse in his neck to mea sure the pe riod of each swing of one of the lamps. Then he timed a larger lamp and found that it swung at the same rate. He bor rowed one of the long ta pers al ter boys used to light the lamps and swung both large and small lamps more vig or ously. Over many days he timed the lamps and found that they al ways took ex actly the same amount of time to travel through one com plete arc. It didn’t mat ter how big (heavy) the lamp was or how big the arc was. Heavy lamps fell through their arc at the same rate as lighter lamps. Ga li leo was fas ci - nated. This ob ser va tion con tra dicted a 2,000-year-old cor ner stone of be liefs about the world. He stood be fore his class at the Uni ver sity of Pisa, It aly, hold ing bricks as if weigh ing and com par ing them—a sin gle brick in one hand and two bricks that he had ce mented to - gether in the other. “Gen tle men, I have been watch ing pen du lums swing back and forth. And I have come to a con clu sion. Ar is totle is wrong.” 910 The Law of Fall ing Objects The class gasped, “Ar is totle? Wrong?” The first fact ev ery school boy learned in be- gin ning sci ence was that the writ ings of the an cient Greek phi los o pher, Ar is totle, were the foun da tion of sci ence. One of Ar is totle’s cen tral the o rems stated that heavier ob jects fall faster be cause they weigh more. Ga li leo climbed onto his desk, held the bricks at eye level, and let them fall. Thud Both bricks crashed to the floor. “Did the heavier brick fall faster?” he de manded. The class shook their heads. No, it had not. They landed to gether. “Again” cried Ga li leo. His stu dents were trans fixed as Ga li leo again dropped the bricks. Crash “Did the heavy brick fall faster?” No, again the bricks landed to gether. “Ar is - totle is wrong,” de clared their teacher to a stunned cir cle of students. But the world was re luc tant to hear Ga li leo’s truth. On seeing Ga li leo’s brick dem on - stra tion, friend and fel low math e ma ti cian Ostilio Ricci ad mit ted only that “This dou ble brick falls at the same rate as this sin gle brick. Still, I can not so eas ily be lieve Ar is totle is wholly wrong. Search for another explanation.” Ga li leo de cided that he needed a more dra matic, ir re fut able, and pub lic dem on stra tion. It is be lieved (though not sub stan ti ated) that, for this dem on stra tion, Ga li leo dropped a ten-pound and a one-pound can non ball 191 feet from the top of the famed Lean ing Tower of Pisa. Whether he ac tu ally dropped the can non balls or not, the science discovery had been made. Fun Facts: Speak ing of fall ing ob jects, the high est speed ever reached by a woman in a speed skydiving com pe ti tion is 432.12 kph (268.5 mph). Italian da re devil Lu cia Bottari achieved this re cord-break ing ve loc ity above Bottens, Swit zer land, on Sep tem ber 16, 2002, dur ing the an nual Speed Skydiving World Cup. More to Ex plore More to Explor More to Explor More to Ex plore Aldrain, Buzz. Ga li leo for Kids: His Life and Ideas. Chi cago: Chi cago Re view Press, 2005. Atkins, Pe ter, Ga li leo’s Fin ger: The Ten Great Ideas of Sci ence. New York: Ran dom House, 2004. Ben dick, Jeanne. Along Came Ga li leo. San Luis Obispo, CA: Beau ti ful Feet Books, 1999. Drake, Stillman. Ga li leo. New York: Hill and Wang, 1995. Fisher, Leon ard. Ga li leo. New York: Macmillan, 1998. Galilei, Ga li leo. Ga li leo on the World Sys tems: A New Abridged Trans la tion and Guide. Berke ley: Uni ver sity of Cal i for nia Press, 1997. MacHamer, Oeter, ed. The Cam bridge Com pan ion to Ga li leo. New York: Cam bridge Uni ver sity Press, 1998. MacLachlan, James. Ga li leo Galilei: First Phys i cist. New York: Ox ford Uni ver sity Press, 1997. Sobel, Dava. Ga li leo’s Daugh ter. New York: Walker & Co., 1999.Plan e tary Mo tion Plan e tary Mo tion Plan e tary Mo tion Year of Dis cov ery: 1609 What Is It? The plan ets or bit the sun not in per fect cir cles, but in el lip ses. Who Dis cov ered It? Johannes Kep ler Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Even af ter Co per ni cus sim pli fied and cor rected the structure of the so lar sys tem by dis - cov er ing that the sun, not the earth, lay at the cen ter of it, he (like all as tron o mers be fore him) as sumed that the plan ets or bited the sun in per fect cir cles. As a re sult, er rors con tin ued to ex ist in the pre dicted position of the planets. Kep ler dis cov ered the con cept of the el lipse and proved that plan ets ac tu ally fol low slightly el lip ti cal or bits. With this dis cov ery, sci ence was fi nally pre sented with an ac cu rate pic tures of the po si tion and me chan ics of the so lar sys tem. Af ter 400 years of vastly improved tech nol ogy, our image of how plan ets move is still the one Kep ler cre ated. We have n’t changed or cor rected it one bit, and likely never will. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? For 2,000 years, as tron o mers placed the earth at the cen ter of the uni verse and as sumed that all heav enly bod ies moved in per fect circle s around it. But pre dic tions using this sys tem never matched ac tual mea sure ments. Sci en tists in vented epi-cir cles—small cir cles that the plan ets ac tu ally rolled around that, themsel ves, rolled around the great circu lar orbits f or each planet. Still there were er rors, so sci en tists cre ated epi-circles on the epi-circles. Co per ni cus dis cov ered that the sun lay at the cen ter of the so lar sys tem, but still as - sumed that all planets trav eled in per fect cir cles. Most epi-cir cles were elim i nated, but er - rors in plan e tary plot ting continued. Johannes Kep ler was born in South ern Ger many in 1571, 28 years af ter the re lease of Co per ni cus’s dis cov ery. Kep ler suf fered through a trou bled up bring ing. His aunt was burned at the stake as a witch. His mother al most suf fered the same fate. The boy was of ten sick and had bad eye sight that glasses could not cor rect. Still, Kep ler en joyed a bril liant— but again trou bled—university career. In 1597 he took a po si tion as an as sis tant to Tycho Brahe, famed Ger man as tron o mer. For de cades Tycho had been mea sur ing the po si tion of the plan ets (es pe cially Mars) with far greater pre ci sion than any other Eu ro pean as tron o mer. When Tycho died in 1601 he left all his notes and ta bles of plan e tary readings to Kepler. 1112 Plane tary Motion Kep ler re jected the epi-cir cle on epi-cir cle model of how plan ets moved and de cided to work out an or bit for Mars that best fit Tycho’s data. It was still dan ger ous to sug gest that the sun lay at the cen ter of the so lar sys tem. The all-pow er ful Cath o lic Church had burned Friar Giordano Bruno at the stake for believ ing Co per ni cus. No other sci en tist had dared come forth to sup port Co per ni cus’s rad i cal no tion. Still, Kep ler was deter mined to use Co - per ni cus’s or ga ni za tion for the uni verse and Tycho’s data to make sense of the planets. Kep ler tried many ideas and math e mat i cal ap proaches that didn’t work. His bad eye- sight pre vented him from mak ing his own as tro nom i cal sight ings. He was forced to rely en - tirely on Tycho’s ex ist ing mea surement s. In bit ter frus tra tion, he was fi nally driven to con sider what was—at the time—unthin k able: plan e tary or bits that were n’t per fect cir cles. Noth ing else ex plained Tycho’s readings for Mars. Kep ler found that el lip ses (elon gated cir cles) fit far better with the ac cu mu lated read - ings. Yet the data still didn’t fit. In des per a tion, Kep ler was forced to con sider some thing else that was also un think able at that time: maybe the plan ets didn’t or bit the sun at a constant speed. With these two rev o lu tion ary ideas Kep ler found that el lip ti cal or bits fit per fectly with Tycho’s mea sured plan e tary mo tion. El lip ti cal or bits be came Kep ler’s first law. Kep ler then added his Sec ond Law: each planet’s speed al tered as a func tion of its dis tance from the sun. As a planet flew closer, it flew faster. Kep ler pub lished his dis cov er ies in 1609 and then spent the next 18 years cal cu lat ing de tailed ta bles of plan e tary mo tion and po si tion for all six known plan ets. This was also the first prac ti cal use of log a rithms, in vented by Scots man John Napier dur ing the early years of Kep ler’s ef fort. With these ta bles of cal cu la tions (which ex actly matched mea sured plan e - tary po si tions) Kep ler proved that he had discovered true planetary motion. Fun Facts: Pluto was called the ninth planet for 75 years, since its dis - cov ery in 1930. Pluto’s or bit is the least cir cu lar (most el lip ti cal) of all plan ets. At its farthest, it is 7.4 bil lion km from the sun. At its near est it is only 4.34 bil lion km away. When Pluto is at its clos est, its or bit ac tu ally slips in side that of Nep tune. For 20 years out of ev ery 248, Pluto is ac tu - ally closer to the sun than Nep tune is. That oc curred from 1979 to 1999. For those 20 years Pluto was actu ally the eighth planet in our so lar sys - tem and Nep tune was the ninth More to Ex plore More to Ex plore More to Ex plore More to Ex plore Cas per, Max. Kep ler. New York: Do ver, 1993. Dreyer, J. A His tory of As tron omy from Thales to Kep ler. New York: Do ver, 1993. Huff, Toby. The Rise of Early Mod ern Sci ence. New York: Cam bridge Uni ver sity Press, 1993. North, John. The Norton His tory of As tron omy and Cos mol ogy. New York: Norton, 1995. Stephenson, Bruce. Kep ler’s Phys i cal As tron omy. Prince ton, NJ: Prince ton Uni ver sity Press, 1997.Ju pi ter’s Moons Ju pi ter’s Moons JU PI TER’S MOONS Year of Dis cov ery: 1610 What Is It? Other plan ets (be sides Earth) have moons. Who Dis cov ered It? Ga li leo Galilei Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Ga li leo discov ered that other plan ets have moons and thus ex tended hu man un der stand - ing be yond our own planet. His careful wor k with the tele scopes he built launched mod ern as - tron omy. His dis cov er ies were the first as tro nom i cal dis cov er ies us ing the tele scope. Ga li leo proved that Earth is not unique among plan ets of the uni verse. He turned specks of light in the night sky into fas ci nat ing spher i cal ob jects—into places—rather than pin pricks of light. In so do ing, he proved that Pol ish as tron o mer Nicholaus Co per ni cus had been right when he claimed that the sun was the cen ter of the solar system. With his sim ple tele scope Ga li leo sin gle-handedly brought the so lar sys tem, gal axy, and greater uni verse within our grasp. His tele scope pro vided vistas and un der stand ing that did not ex ist be fore and could not ex ist with out the telescope. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? This was a dis cov ery made pos si ble by an in ven tion—the tele scope. Ga li leo saw his first telescope in late 1608 and in stantly rec og nized that a more pow er ful tele scope could be the an - swer to the prayers of ev ery as tron o mer. By late 1609 Ga li leo had pro duced a 40-power, two-lens tele scope. That 1609 tele scope was the first prac ti cal tele scope for sci en tific use. A pa per by Johannes Kep ler de scrib ing the or bits of the plan ets con vinced Ga li leo to be lieve the theory of Pol ish as tron o mer Nicholaus Co per ni cus, who first claimed that the sun was the cen ter of the uni verse, not the earth. Believ ing Co per ni cus was a dan ger ous thing to do. Friar Giordano Bruno had been burned at the stake for be liev ing Co per ni cus. Ga li leo decide d to use his new tele scope to prove that Co per ni cus was right by more accu - rately charting the motion of the planets. Ga li leo first turned his telescope on the moon. There he clearly saw moun tains and val- leys. He saw deep crat ers with tall, jag ged rims slic ing like ser rated knives into the lu nar sky. The moon that Ga li leo saw was rad i cally dif fer ent from the per fectly smooth sphere that Ar is totle and Ptol emy said it was (the two Greek as tron o mers whose teach ings still formed the ba sis of all sci ence in 1610). Both the all-pow er ful Cath o lic Church and ev ery uni ver sity and sci en tist in Eu rope believed Aristotle and Ptolemy. 1314 Ju pi ter’s Moons In one night’s view ing of the moon’s sur face through his tele scope, Ga li leo proved Ar - is totle wrong—again. The last time Ga li leo’s ob ser va tions had con tra dicted Ar is totle’s teach ings, Ga li leo had been fired from his teach ing po si tion for being right w hen he proved that all ob jects fall at the same rate re gard less of their weight. Ga li leo next aimed his telescope at Ju pi ter, the big gest planet, plan ning to care fully chart its mo tion over sev eral months. Through his telescope (the name is a com bi na tion of the Greek words for “dis tant” and “look ing”) Ga li leo saw a mag ni fied view of the heav ens no hu man eye had ever seen. He saw Ju pi ter clearly, and, to his amaze ment, he found moons cir cling the gi ant planet. Ar is totle had said (and all sci en tists be lieved) that Earth was the only planet in the uni verse that had a moon. Within days, Ga li leo discov ered four of Ju pi - ter’s moons. These were the first discovered moons other than our own. Ar is totle was wrong again. Still, old be liefs do not die eas ily. In 1616 the Coun cil of Car di nals for bade Ga li leo ever again to teach or pro mote Co per ni cus’s theo ries. Many se nior church of fi cials refuse d to look through a telescope , claim ing it was a ma gi cian’s trick and that the moons were in the telescope. When Ga li leo ig nored their warn ing, he was sum moned to Rome by the Church’s all-pow er ful In qui si tion. A gru el ing trial fol lowed. Ga li leo was con demned by the Church and forced to pub licly re cant his views and find ings. He was placed un der house ar rest for the rest of his life, dy ing in 1640 with out hear ing even one voice other than his own pro - claim that his dis cov er ies were true. The Church did not re scind the con dem na tion of Ga li - leo and his discov er ies un til Oc to ber 1992, 376 years after they incorrectly condemned him. Fun Facts: Ga li leo would have been as ton ished to learn that Ju pi ter re - sembles a star in com po si tion. In fact, if it had been about 80 times more mas sive, it would have been clas si fied as a star rather than a planet. More to Ex plore More to Ex plore More to Ex plore More to Ex plore Aldrain, Buzz. Ga li leo for Kids: His Life and Ideas. Chi cago: Chi cago Re view Press, 2005. Atkins, Pe ter, Ga li leo’s Fin ger: the Ten Great Ideas of Sci ence. New York: Ran dom House, 2004. Ben dick, Jeanne. Along Came Ga li leo. San Luis Obispo, CA: Beau ti ful Feet Books, 1999. Drake, Stillman. Ga li leo. New York: Hill and Wang, 1995. Fisher, Leonard. Ga li leo. New York: Macmillan, 1998. Galilei, Ga li leo. Ga li leo on the World Sys tems: A New Abridged Trans la tion and Guide. Berke ley: Uni ver sity of Cal i for nia Press, 1997. MacHamer, Oeter, ed. The Cam bridge Com pan ion to Ga li leo. New York: Cam bridge Uni ver sity Press, 1998. MacLachlan, James. Ga li leo Galilei: First Phys i cist. New York: Ox ford Uni ver sity Press, 1997. Sobel, Dava. Ga li leo’s Daugh ter. New York: Walker & Co., 1999.Hu man Cir cu la tory Sys tem Hu man Cir cu la tory Sys tem Hu man Cir cu la tory Sys tem Year of Dis cov ery: 1628 What Is It? The first com plete un der stand ing of how ar ter ies, veins, heart, and lungs func tion to form a sin gle, com plete cir cu la tory sys tem. Who Dis cov ered It? Wil liam Harvey Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? The hu man cir cu la tory sys tem rep re sents the vir tual def i ni tion of life. No sys tem is more crit i cal to our ex is tence. Yet only 400 years ago, no one un der stood our cir cu la tory sys tem. Many se ri ously thought that the thump ing in side the chest was the voice of the con - science try ing to be heard. Most thought that blood was cre ated in the liver and con sumed by the mus cles. Some still thought that ar ter ies were filled with air. Wil liam Harvey discov ered the ac tual func tion of the ma jor ele ments of the cir cu la tory sys tem (heart, lungs, ar ter ies, and veins) and cre ated the first com plete and ac cu rate pic ture of hu man blood cir cu la tion. Harvey was also the first to use the sci en tific method for bi o - log i cal stud ies. Ev ery sci en tist since has fol lowed his ex am ple. Harvey’s 1628 book rep re - sents the beginning of modern physiology. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? Through the six teenth cen tury, doctors r e lied on the 1,500-year-old writings of t he Greek phy si cian Galen, who said that food was con verted into blood in the liver and was then con sumed by the body for fuel. Most agreed that the blood that flowed through ar ter ies had no con nec tion with the blood that flowed through veins. Wil liam Harvey was born in 1578 in Eng land and re ceived med i cal train ing at Ox ford. He was in vited to study at Padua Uni ver sity in It aly, the acknowl edged med i cal cen ter of Europe. When Harvey returned t o Eng land in 1602, he mar ried the daugh ter of Queen Eliza - beth’s doc tor, was ap pointed a phy si cian in the court of King James I, and was then ap - pointed per sonal phy si cian to King Charles I in 1618. While serv ing the Eng lish kings, Harvey fo cused his stud ies on veins and arter ies. He con ducted ex ten sive ex per i ments with an i mals and hu man corpses. Dur ing these dis sec - tions, he dis cov ered the se ries of flap valves that ex ist through out the veins. He was not the first to find these valves, but he was the first to note that they al ways di rected blood flow to - ward the heart. Blood flowed in veins only from the arms, legs, and head back to the heart. 1516 Hu man Cir cu la tory Sys tem He be gan a se ries of an i mal ex per i ments in which he tied off a sin gle ar tery or vein to see what hap pened. Some times he clamped an ar tery and later re leased it to see where this surge of blood would go. He did the same with veins, clamp ing a vein and then re leas ing it. Some times he clamped both vein and ar tery and then re leased one at a time. These ex per i - ments proved that ar ter ies and veins were con nected into a sin gle cir cu la tory system and that blood al ways flowed from arteries to veins. Harvey turned to the heart it self and soon re al ized that the heart acted as a mus cle and pushed blood out to lungs and out into ar ter ies. Fol low ing blood as it flowed through var i - ous an i mals, Harvey saw that blood was not con sumed, but cir cu lated over and over again through the sys tem, car ry ing air and nour ish ment to the body. By 1625 Harvey had dis cov ered an al most com plete pic ture of the cir cu la tory sys tem. He faced two prob lems. First, he could n’t fig ure out how blood got from an ar tery across to a vein, even though his ex per i ments proved that it did. (Harvey had no mi cro scope and so could n’t see blood ves sels as small as cap il lar ies. By 1670—three years af ter Harvey’s death—Ital ian Marcello Malpighi had dis cov ered cap il lar ies with a mi cro scope, thus com - plet ing Harvey’s circulatory system.) The sec ond prob lem Harvey faced was his fear of mob re ac tions, Church con dem na - tion when he said that the heart was just a mus cu lar pump and not the house of the soul and con scious ness, and the press (scribes). He was afraid he’d lose his job with the king. In 1628 Harvey found a small Ger man pub lisher to pub lish a thin (72-page) sum mary of his work and discov er ies. He pub lished it in Latin (the lan guage of science ), hop ing no one in Eng - land would read it. News of Harvey’s book raced across Eu rope and made him in stantly no to ri ous. He lost many pa tients, who were shocked by his claims. But Harvey’s sci ence was care ful and ac - cu rate. By 1650 Harvey’s book had be come the ac cepted text book on the cir cu la tory system. Fun Facts: Amer i cans do nate over 16 mil lion pints of blood each year. That’s enough blood to fill a swim ming pool 20 feet wide, 8 feet deep, and one-third of a mile long More to Ex plore More to Ex plore Curtis, R. Great Lives: Med i cine. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons Books for Young Read ers, 1993. Harvey, Wil liam. On the Mo tion of the Heart and Blood in An i mals. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Pub lish ing, 2005. Power, D’Arcy. Wil liam Harvey: Mas ter of Med i cine. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger, 2005. Shackleford, Joel. William H arvey and the Mechan ics of the Heart. New York: Ox ford Uni ver sity Press, 2003. Wyatt, Her vey. Wil liam Harvey: 1578 to 1657. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger, 2005. Yount, Lisa. Wil liam Harvey: Dis cov erer of How Blood Cir cu lates. Berke ley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 1998.Air Pres sure Air Pres sure Air Pres sure Year of Dis cov ery: 1640 What Is It? Air (the at mo sphere) has weight and presses down on us. Who Dis cov ered It? Evangelista Torricelli Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? It is a sim ple, seem ingly ob vi ous no tion: air has weight; the at mo sphere presses down on us with a real force. How ever, hu mans don’t feel that weight. You aren’t aware of it be - cause it has al ways been part of your world. The same was true for early sci en tists, who never thought to con sider the weight of air and atmosphere. Evangelista Torricelli’s dis cov ery began the se ri ous study of weather and the at mo - sphere. It launched our un der stand ing of the at mo sphere. This discov ery helped lay the foun da tion for New ton and oth ers to de velop an un der stand ing of gravity. This same rev e la tion also led Torricelli to dis cover the con cept of a vac uum and to in - vent the ba rom e ter—the most ba sic, fun da men tal in stru ment of weather study. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? On a clear Octo ber day in 1640, Gali leo con ducted a suction-pum p ex per i ment at a pub lic well just off the mar ket plaza in Flor ence, It aly. The famed Ital ian sci en tist low ered a long tube into the well’s murky wa ter. From the well, Gali leo’s tube draped up over a wooden cross-beam three me ters above the well’s wall, and then down to a hand-pow ered pump held by two as sistants : Evangelista Torricelli, the 32-year-old the son of a wealthy mer chant and an as pir ing sci en tist, and Giovanni Baliani, another Italian physicist. Torricelli and Baliani pumped the pump’s wooden han dle bar, slowly suck ing air out of Gali leo’s tube, pull ing water hi gher into the tube. They pumped un til the tube flat tened like a run-over drink ing straw. But no mat ter how hard they worked, wa ter would not rise more than 9.7 me ters above the well’s wa ter level. It was the same in every test. Ga li leo pro posed that—some how—the weight of the wa ter col umn made it col lapse back to that height. In 1643, Torricelli re turned to the suc tion pump mys tery. If Ga li leo was cor rect, a heavier liq uid should reach the same criti cal weight and col lapse at a lower height. Liq uid mer cury weighted 13.5 times as much as wa ter. Thus, a col umn of mer cury should never rise any higher than 1/13.5 the height of a wa ter col umn, or about 30 inches. 1718 Air Pres sure Torricelli filled a six-foot glass tube with liq uid mer cury and shoved a cork into the open end. Then he in verted the tube and sub merged the corked end in a tub of liq uid mer - cury before he pulled out the stop per. As he ex pected, mer cury flowed out of the tube and into the tub. But not all of the mer cury ran out. Torricelli measure d the height of the re main ing mer cury col umn—30 inches, as ex - pected. Still, Torricelli sus pected that the mys tery’s true an swer had some thing to do with the vac uum he had cre ated above his col umn of mercury. The next day, with wind and a cold rain lash ing at the win dows, Torricelli re peated his ex per i ment, plan ning to study the vac uum above the mer cury. How ever, on this day the mer cury col umn only rose to a height of 29 inches. Torricelli was per plexed. He had ex pected the mer cury to rise to the same height as yes ter day. What was dif fer ent? Rain beat on the win dows as Torricelli pon dered this new wrin kle. What was dif fer ent was the at mo sphere, the weather. Torricelli’s mind latched onto a rev o lu tion ary new idea. Air, it self, had weight. The real an swer to the suc tion pump mys - tery lay not in the weight of the liq uid, nor in the vac uum above it, but in the weight of the at - mo sphere push ing down around it. Torricelli re al ized that the weight of the air in the at mo sphere pushed down on the mer- cury in the tub. That pres sure forced mer cury up into the tube. The weight of the mer cury in the tube had to be ex actly equal to the weight of the at mo sphere push ing down on the mer- cury in the tub. When the weight of the at mo sphere changed, it would push down ei ther a lit tle bit more or a lit tle bit less on the mer cury in the tub and drive the col umn of mer cury in the tube ei ther a lit tle higher or a lit tle lower. Chang ing weather must change the weight of the at mo - sphere. Torricelli had dis cov ered at mo spheric pres sure and a way to mea sure and study it. Fun Facts: Home ba rom e ters rarely drop more than 0.5 inch of mercury as the weather changes from fair to stormy. The great est pres sure drop ever re corded was 2.963 inches of mer cury, mea sured in side a South Da - kota tor nado in June 2003. More to Ex plore More to Ex plore Asimov, Isaac. Asimov’s Chro nol ogy of Sci ence and Dis cov ery. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. Clark, Don ald. En cy clo pe dia of Great In ven tors and Dis cov er ies. Lon don: Marshal l Caven dish Books, 1991. Ha ven, Kend all. Mar vels of Sci ence. Englewood, CO: Li brar ies Un lim ited, 1994. Macus, Rebecca. Ga li leo and Ex per i men tal Sci ence. New York: Frank lin Watts, 1991. Middleton, W. E. The His tory of the Ba rom e ter. New Brunswic k, NJ: Johns Hopkins Uni ver sity Press, 2003.Boyle’s Law Boyle’s Law Boyle’s Law Year of Dis cov ery: 1650 What Is It? The vol ume of a gas is in versely pro por tional to the force squeez - ing it. Who Dis cov ered It? Rob ert Boyle Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? The con cept Rob ert Boyle discov ered (now called Boyle’s Law) laid the foun da tion for all quan ti ta tive study and chem i cal anal y sis of gas ses. It was the first quan ti ta tive for - mula to de scribe the be hav ior of gas ses. Boyle’s Law is so ba sic to un der stand ing chem is try that it is taught to ev ery stu dent in beginning chemistry classes. A ge nius ex per i menter, Boyle also proved that gas ses were made of at oms—just like sol ids. But in a gas, the at oms are spread far apart and dis con nected so that they can be squeezed tighter. Through these ex per i ments Boyle helped con vince the sci en tific world that atoms ex isted—an is sue still de bated 2,000 years af ter their ex is tence was first pro - posed by Democritus in 440 B.C. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? Rob ert Boyle was the son of an earl and a member of t he Brit ish Sci en tific So ci ety. Dur ing a 1662 so ci ety meet ing, Rob ert Hooke read a pa per de scrib ing a French ex per i ment on the “springi ness of air.” The char ac ter is tics of air were of great in ter est to scien tists in the seventeenth century. French scien tists built a brass cyl in der fit ted tightly with a piston. Sev eral men pushed down hard on the piston, com pres s ing the air trapped be low. Then they let go. The pis ton sprang back up, but not all the way back up. No mat ter how of ten the French tried this ex - per i ment, the pis ton never bounced all the way back up. The French claimed this proved that air was not per fectly springy. Once compres sed, it stayed slightly com pressed. Rob ert Boyle claimed that the French ex per i ment proved noth ing. Their pis ton, he said, was too tight to bounce all the way back up. Oth ers ar gued that, if they made the pis ton looser, air would leak around the edges and ruin the ex per i ment. Boyle prom ised to create a perfec t pis ton that was nei ther too tight nor too loose. He also claimed that his per fect pis ton would prove the French wrong. 1920 Boyle’s Law Two weeks later Rob ert Boyle stood be fore the so ci ety with a large glass tube that he had shaped into a lop sided “U.” One side of the “U” rose over three feet high and was skinny. The other side was short and fat. The short side was sealed at the top. The tall, skinny side was open. Boyle poured liq uid mer cury into his tube un til it cov ered the bot tom of the “U” and rose just a lit tle in both sides. A large pocket of air was trapped above this mer cury in the short fat side. A pis ton, Boyle ex plained, was any de vise that com pressed air. Since his used mer cury to com press air, there would be no fric tion to af fect the re sults—as had been true in the French experiment. Boyle re corded the glass pis ton’s weight and etched a line in the glass where mercury met the trapped air pocket. Boyle trick led liq uid mer cury down the long neck of the tall side of his pis ton un til he had filled the neck. Mer cury now rose well over half way up the short side. The trapped air had been squeezed to less than half of its orig i nal vol ume by the weight and force of mercury. Boyle drew a sec ond line on the short cham ber to mark the new level of mer cury in side—mark ing the com pressed vol ume of trapped air. He then drained mer cury through a valve at the bot tom of the “U” un til the glass pis ton and mer cury weighed ex actly the same as they had at the be gin ning. The mer cury level re- turned to its ex act start ing line. The trapped air had sprung back ex actly to where it started. Air was per fectly springy. The French were wrong. Boyle was right. Rob ert Boyle con tin ued the ex per i ments with his funny glass piston and no ticed some- thing quite re mark able. When he dou bled the pres sure (weight of mer cury) on a trapped body of air, he halved its vol ume. When he tri pled the pres sure, the air’s vol ume was re - duced to one-third. The change in vol ume of air when com pressed was al ways pro por tional to the change in the pres sure squeez ing that air. He cre ated a sim ple math e mat i cal equa tion to de scribe this pro por tion al ity. To day we call it “Boyle’s Law.” No other con cept has been more use ful in un der stand ing and us ing gasses to serve the needs of humankind. Fun Facts: Ocean og ra pher Syl via Earle set the women’s depth re cord for solo div ing (1,000 me ters or 3,281 feet). Ac cord ing to the con cept Boyle dis cov ered, pres sure at that depth is over 100 times what it is at the sur face More to Ex plore More to Ex plore Boyle, Rob ert. The Skep ti cal Chem ist. New York: Do ver, 2003. Hall, Ma rie. Rob ert Boyle on Nat u ral Phi los o phy. Bloomington: In di ana Uni ver sity Press, 1995. Hunter, Michael. Rob ert Boyle Re con sid ered. New York: Cam bridge Uni ver sity Press, 2003. Irwin, Keith. The Ro mance of Chem is try. New York: Vi king Press, 1996. Tiner, John. Rob ert Boyle: Trail blazer of Sci ence. Fenton, MI: Mott Me dia, 1999. Wojcik, Jan. Rob ert Boyle and the Lim its of Rea son. New York: Cam bridge Uni ver - sity Press, 2003.The Ex is tence of Cells The Ex is tence of Cells THE EXISTENCE OF CELLS Year of Dis cov ery: 1665 What Is It? The cell is the ba sic build ing block of all liv ing or gan isms. Who Dis cov ered It? Rob ert Hooke Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? Why Is This One of the 100 Great est? The cell is the ba sic unit of anat omy. Count less mil lions of cells build liv ing plants and an i mals. The func tions of a body can be stud ied by study ing in di vid ual cells. Just as the dis - cov ery of the mol e cule and atom al lowed sci en tists to better un der stand chem i cal sub - stances, Hooke’s discov ery of the cell has al lowed bi ol o gists to better understand living organisms. Hooke’s work with a mi cro scope opened the pub lic’s eyes to the mi cro scopic world just as Gali leo’s work with the telescope opened their eyes to a vast and won drous uni verse. Hooke’s work and dis cov er ies mark the mo ment when mi cros copy came of age as a sci en - tific discipline. How Was It Dis cov ered? How Was It Dis cov ered? Rob ert Hooke was a most in ter est ing fel low. Weak and sickly as a child, Hooke’s par - ents never both ered to ed u cate him be cause they didn’t think he would sur vive. When Hooke was still alive at age 11, his fa ther be gan a half hearted, homeschool ed u ca tion. When Hooke was 12, he watched a por trait painter at work and de cided, “I can do that.” Some ini - tial sketches showed that he was good at it. The next year Hooke’s fa ther died, leav ing Hooke a pal try in her i tance of only £100. Hooke de cided to use the money to ap pren tice him self to a painter, but quickly learned that the paint fumes gave him ter ri ble headaches. He used his money in stead to en ter West min ster school. On one of his first days there, Hooke lis tened to a man play the school or gan and thought, “I can do that.” Hooke soon proved that he was good at it and learned both to play and to serve as a choir mas ter. Un for tu nately, the new Eng lish pu ri tan i cal gov ern ment banned such fri vol ity as church choirs and mu sic. Hook’s money had been wasted. Not know ing what else to do, Hooke hired him self out as a ser vant to rich sci ence stu dents at nearby Ox ford Uni ver sity. Hooke was fas ci nated with sci ence and again thought, “I can do that.” As it turns out, he was ex cep tion ally good at it. His ser vi tude at Ox ford (mostly to Rob ert Boyle) was the start of one of the most pro duc tive sci ence ca reers in Eng lish his tory. Hooke soon de vel oped an ex cel lent rep u ta tion as a builder and as an experimenter. 21

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