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Scientists- Ancient.

posted Nov 26, 2016, 5:57 PM by Upali Salpadoru   [ updated May 31, 2019, 12:12 AM ]

" Science entered a new era with the Renaissance, which began in 14th century Italy. By the 17th century it had extended and blossomed throughout most of Europe."

Famous scientists.



Main Achievements.

Archimedes  Greek

.287BC - 212 BC.


“One of the greatest scientists

of the ancient world”.

1.The surface area of a sphere is 4 times the radius of a circle having the same radius.

Area =4πr2.Volume =4/3πr3

2. calculated pi(π) to the most precise value known. π=22/7.

3.Mechanical advantage of levers and pulleys.

4. “When an object is immersed in a fluid, the upthrust is equal to the weight of water displaced” Archim



 Christiaan Huygens, Dutch: 1629 –  1695.
Born of wealthy and influential parents , had a comfortable adulthood but suffered from ill health at the end.

"Huygens visited London in 1689 and met Sir Isaac Newton and lectured on his own theory of gravitation before the Royal Society. ......., he regarded (Newtons) theory of gravity that was devoid of any mechanical explanation as fundamentally unacceptable."
Encyclopedia Britannica.

  • He grounded lenses, made telescopes and observed the rings of Saturn and discovered Titan.
  • Invented the pendulum clock/
  • He showed that light. contrary to the belief of Newton progresses in the form of a wave.
  • He discovered the formula to obtain the centripetal force.  
  • Fc = mv2/r


Darwin Charles.  England, 1809— 1882.

One of the greatest naturalists that ever lived.

"While his brother continued to be trained as a doctor Charles had to give it up as the sight of blood made him sick"
"He collected beetles with a passion"

  • He introduced the  "Theory of evolution due to natural selection". along with Russel Wallace.
  • Explained the formation of Coral Islands.

René Descartes France           born 31/3/ 1596,.


He devised the  Cartesian coordinate system. (Graphs with X and Y axis).

He made numerous advances in optics, such as his study of the reflection


“Considering how many different opinions there are,.. while it is impossible for more than one to be true, i regarded them as little better than false.”



"Faraday,  Michael. England 1791-1867 .

  •  Discovered Electromagnetism  which led to  the electric motor and the dynamo.
  • He found that the light can be influenced by magnetism laying the foundation for the electromagnetic theory.

Benjamin Franklin  .  US.  
Born:   1706     Died:-1790

Despite of merely 2 years of schooling he accumulated wealth, freed 2 slaves and became the first American ambassador in France.
  • He sent a kite to the clouds and showed that lightning is only an electric spark of high magnitude.

  • He named the electrical charges as positive and negative.

  • He designed the lightning conductor, urinal catheter and the bifocal lenses

Courtesy;- How stuff Works.


Galileo Galilee , Italy, 1564 – 1642.
  • He brought the experimental and mathematical approach to science.    
  • Built telescopes and made many astronomical discoveries.
  • He popularised the heliocentric model of the solar system and antagonized the church.
  • He discovered certain laws of motion that became the groundwork  for Newton and Einstein.

Luigi Galvani, Italy

born”-  9/9/1737, —died:- 1798


  • Later, Galvani was able to cause muscular contraction by touching the frog’s nerve with different metals.

  • After further experimenting with natural lightning and  frictional electricity, he concluded that animal tissue contained a form which he  termed "animal electricity."

William Gilbert .English

born:; 24/5/ 1544. died:-1602

Gilbert.jpgPhysician, astronomer and scientist

  • He was the first to differentiate the attraction by rubbed amber from the attraction of lodestones.

  • He coined the word electricity to the amber effect.

  • The book he published De Magnete became the standard book on electricity and magnetism all over europe for 200 years.

  • He discovered geo magnetism.


.Harold Urey..  American. 1893 – 1981.
  • Noble Prize in chemistry 1934."for his discovery of heavy hydrogen,deuterium "
  • he discovered how our planet’s previous climates can be found from the ratio of oxygen isotopes in carbonate rocks

  • Stanley Miller-Urey experiment proved that the building blocks of life could have been formed naturally due to lightening in the early atmosphere.

  • William Harvey England. 1Harvey.jpg

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He showed that the blood is pushed out of the heart through the arteries and that they return through the veins. (He was not able to notice the capillaries)

Royal Physician to two consecutive kings, James 1. And Charles 1.

He was able to discover these by dissecting non- anesthetized live animals.

Robert Hooke. England.

Birth: 18/7/1635. death: 1703


  • Robert Hooke coined the term "cells": The empty dead  cells of cork reminded him of the cells of a monastery.

  • He popularised the use of microscope by publishing his findings in a book “Microhraphia”.

  • He stated the Elasticity law that is now known as the Hooke’s Law.

  • Investigated refraction and supported  deducing the wave theory of light.

  • He showed that matter expands when heated and that air consists of particles dispersed in empty space.

  • After the London fire in 1666 he re designed some London streets and buildings as an architect




Johannes Kepler,, 1571-1630, Weil der Stadt, Württemberg [Germany]


  • He defended the Copernican system of planetary motion. 
  • Using the precise data that Tycho Brahe  had collected, he discovered that the orbit of Mars was not a circle but an ellipse.
  • A line from the centre of the sun to the centre of a planet will cover equal areas at the same time. 
“ If the sun and planets go round the earth how can Mercury and Venus be always on the side of the sun?”
“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.”

Lord Kelvin, William Thomson, -Scottish - 1824



    • He devised the Absolute scale of temperature, which bears his name now.
  • He was responsible for laying the telegraph cable under the Atlantic.
  • Devised many instruments for his experiments including Ammeter, Voltmeter etc.
  • Stated the second law of Thermodynamics.


Antoine Lavoisier. French.  1743 – 1794



  • He showed that the mass of the products after a chemical change is equal to the mass of the reactants . This disproved the hereto accepted Phlogiston theory..

  • He helped to adopt the Metric system of weights and measures.

  • Helped the nomenclature of chemicals.

“It took them only an instant to cut off that head, and a hundred years may not produce another like it.” Joseph-Louis Lagrange,.

Anton van Leeuwenhoek, Dutch

Birth 1632 - 1723


Made improvements to the compound microscope by finely grinding the lenses.

He was the first to observe and described the uni cellular organisms.

He was also the first to record and observe muscle fibres, bacteria, spermatozoa and blood flow in capillaries.


Leonardo da Vinci. Italy.

birth:- 15/5/1452 death:-1519.


“The most diversely talented person ever to have lived”.


"the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world".[1]

He was the first to imagine and sketch the following:-


Swinging bridge,Paddle boat

Auto vehicleand tanks.

Hei was a sculptor, designer of costumes.

An architect, musician, engineer, scientist mathematician and inventor.




Dmitri Mendeleev. Russian.  1834 - 1907.

Click the name for more.

He stated the Periodic law and The Periodic table of the elements which ha become the foundation for the study of chemistry.

Discovered the elements gallium, scandium and germanium.

Predicted the existence of several elements using the Periodic table.


Sir Isaac Newton. UK.  1642 - 1727.        



Joseph Priestley England,



  • He disproved the age old adage that ‘ air is a simple elementary substance, indestructible and unalterable’

  • He made oxygen by heating mercury oxide using the rays of the sun.

  • He invented carbonated water and the rubber eraser,

  • He recognised the natural cycle of photosynthesis and respiration.

  • Invented the rubber eraser.

Once a mob sacked and burnt his house and laboratory.

Finally Priestley left England in 1794 and continued his work in America until his death”....chemistry for life.




Carl Wilhelm Scheele,  1742-1786 Swedish,Germany— German


An apothecary turned chemist.

  • He discovered 8 elements. oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine,fluorine, manganese.barium,molybdenum,and tungstan. he 
  • "hard-luck Scheele"- Isaac Asimov. As he was unable to get credit for many of his discoveries.

Alessandro Volta, Italian.

1745 -1827.                


  • He disagreed with Galvani and produced electricity using chemicals. Voltaic cell.

  • He found methane at Lake Maggiore,[

  • He identified potential difference, charge and capacity.

  • The invention of the battery lifted Volta's fame to its pinnacle. He was called to France by Napoleon in 1801 for a kind of "command performance" of his experiments. He received many medals and decorations, including the Legion of Honor, and was even made a count and, in 1810, a senator of the kingdom of Lombardy Volta received his greatest honor, however, at the hands of no ruler, but of his fellow scientists. The unit of electromotive force- the driving force that moves the electric current- is now called the "volt."