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Timeline of the history of scientific method

This Timeline of the history of scientific method shows an overview of the cultural inventions that have contributed to the development of the scientific method. For a detailed account, see History of the scientific method.


[edit] BC

  • c. 2000 BC ' First text indexes (various cultures).
  • c. 1600 BC ' An Egyptian medical textbook, the Edwin Smith papyrus, (circa 1600 BC), applies the following components: examination, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, to the treatment of disease,[1] which display parallels to basic empirical methodology.[2]
  • c. Between 600-500 BC the biblical Daniel carried out probably the first recorded experiment in history with a control group. He wanted to follow God's ideal diet, a vegetarian diet. But, his Babylonian supervisor thought it would be unhealthy. So, Daniel proposed a 10 day experiment with Daniel and his friends eating a vegetarian diet with simple water and the control group (the other students) eating the royal diet (which was heavily meat based and included wine). Daniel and his friends were found to be healthier than the control group after the 10 days. They continued following this diet for the next 3 years while studying diligently all the wisdom of Babylon. Upon examination at the end of the course, Daniel and his friends impressed the king far more than any others. [3]
  • c. 400 BC ' In China, Mozi and the School of Names advocate using one's senses to observe the world, and develop the "three-prong method" for testing the truth or falsehood of statements.
  • c. 400 BC ' Democritus advocates inductive reasoning through a process of examining the causes of sensory perceptions and drawing conclusions about the outside world.
  • c. 320 BC ' First comprehensive documents categorising and subdividing knowledge, dividing knowledge into different areas by Aristotle,(physics, poetry, zoology, logic, rhetoric, politics, and biology). Aristotle's Posterior Analytics defends the ideal of science as necessary demonstration from axioms known with certainty.
  • c. 300 BC ' Euclid's Elements expound geometry as a system of theorems following logically from axioms known with certainty.
  • c. 200 BC ' First Cataloged library (at Alexandria)

[edit] 1st through 12th centuries

[edit] 13th through 17th centuries

[edit] 18th and 19th centuries

[edit] 20th and 21st centuries

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Edwin Smith papyrus, Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ Lloyd, G. E. R. "The development of empirical research", in his Magic, Reason and Experience: Studies in the Origin and Development of Greek Science.
  3. ^ Daniel 1:9-20
  4. ^ An earlier controlled experiment is reported in the Jewish Bible, in the Book of Daniel: After being taken captive to Babylon, members of the Israelite nobility are taken into the king's service. Among these, Daniel and his three friends (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) refuse to eat and drink at the king's table because the food may be ritually unclean.(Notes to The New American Bible, p. 1021, Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1992. ISBN 9780899425108) At the end of a short trial period they appear healthier than those who have accepted the royal rations and are allowed to continue with their abstemious diet of vegetables and water.
  5. ^ James Lind's A Treatise of the Scurvy
  6. ^ Hacking, Ian (September 1988). "Telepathy: Origins of Randomization in Experimental Design". Isis 79 (A Special Issue on Artifact and Experiment): pp. 427'451. JSTOR 234674.MR1013489. http://www.jstor.org/stable/234674. 
    Charles Sanders Peirce and Joseph Jastrow (1885). "On Small Differences in Sensation". Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 3: pp. 73'83.  http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Peirce/small-diffs.htm
    Stephen M. Stigler (November 1992). "A Historical View of Statistical Concepts in Psychology and Educational Research". American Journal of Education 101 (1): pp. 60'70. 
    Trudy Dehue (December 1997). "Deception, Efficiency, and Random Groups: Psychology and the Gradual Origination of the Random Group Design". Isis 88 (4): pp. 653'673. 
  7. ^ Plat's article is entitled Strong inference. Certain systematic methods of scientific thinking may produce much more rapid progress than others (Science, 16 October 1964, Volume 146, Number 3642, Pages 347-353.)

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