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17 votes

Was Isaac Newton the first person to articulate the scientific method in Europe?

NO. See at least : William Gilbert with De Magnete, Magneticisque Corporibus, et de Magno Magnete Tellure (1600) Galileo Galilei with e.g. the Sidereus Nuncius (1610) William Harvey with Exercitatio ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
17 votes

Historical examples of "pseudoscience" becoming "science"

For a long while it was widely believed that the main cause of peptic ulcer disease was stress or spicy food. When the theory arose that it was in fact usually an infection this was rejected by the ...
mdewey's user avatar
  • 618
13 votes

Historical examples of "pseudoscience" becoming "science"

*copied from my answer to another question It seems ball lightning was disbelieved by scientists until around 1960. See Wikipedia . I knew a geologist who told us how his eye-witness account of ball ...
Gerald Edgar's user avatar
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12 votes
Accepted

The Greeks did not discover "a single scientific law"

It is a strange idea that scientific laws can be only expressed with algebraic means. The Greek did discover several scientific laws. The oldest one is attributed to Pythagoras himself: it relates the ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
11 votes

Historical examples of "pseudoscience" becoming "science"

Plate tectonics It was put forth by a meterologist, and offered no explanation how, given the solid crust and mantle, the continents could drift about like icebergs on the liquid core. The discovery ...
Mary's user avatar
  • 639
11 votes

Are there examples of influential scientific articles first rejected and later proved to be valid?

As user njuffa has commented, my original answer was not strictly to the letter of the OP. Here are some other examples : Fermi's 1933 paper on the weak interaction. Gell-Mann's 1953 paper on the ...
nwr's user avatar
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10 votes

Historical examples of "pseudoscience" becoming "science"

The germ theory of disease, and in general the importance of handwashing was a fringe viewpoint for a long time. Good evidence existed since at least the early 19th century that micro-organisms could ...
dain's user avatar
  • 220
9 votes

Was Isaac Newton the first person to articulate the scientific method in Europe?

Usually Francis Bacon (1561-1626) is credited with "articulating the scientific method" in general, and not only "first in Europe", but just the first.
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

What technology did researchers use to write scientific papers before the computer?

There were several layers of craft technology now partly superseded by pdflatex and friends. There were author's instructions for marking up manuscripts with type font indications, there were ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 2,555
8 votes

The Greeks did not discover "a single scientific law"

Euclid wrote an Optica (300 BC) — surely “Visual rays proceed in a straight line indefinitely” ranks with the best physical laws. So did Ptolemy (160 AD), and Hero wrote a Catoptrica (50 AD). ...
Francois Ziegler's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

How close was Hooke to developing a comprehensive system of gravity?

Hooke was not close (as far as we can judge from his surviving work) to what Newton accomplished. Yes, he conjectured the inverse square law. He understood correctly some simple qualitative features ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
6 votes

How was the idea of observation error introduced?

Astronomers had to deal with experimental errors to parametrize their geometric models at least as early as Hipparchus, and possibly earlier. There are some techniques and ad hoc methods that can be ...
Conifold's user avatar
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6 votes
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How important was the prediction of Neptune in 1846 for the Oxford evolution debate?

First, the prediction of Neptune was a big win for science in the eyes of the general public. It was not exactly spotless though, especially in the eyes of the scientists. Here is from Kelley's How ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.1k
5 votes

Are there examples of influential scientific articles first rejected and later proved to be valid?

As mentioned in his obituary, Leigh Van Valen's evolutionary law (1973), referred to more commonly as the Red Queen Hypothesis, has been repeatedly rejected. So much in fact that he decided to create ...
plannapus's user avatar
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5 votes

Best books/papers on Newton and his mathematical physics

The standard book about Newton's life is Never at Rest by Richard Westfall. On my opinion it is a very good book, it covers his life in great detail, and gives a general overview of his activities (...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
5 votes

Did Karl Popper argue against Bayesian inference?

Bayesian inference seeks to believe in that which has a high conditional probability as computed with Bayes's theorem. The problem with using $P\left( A|B\right)=P\left( B|A\right)\frac{P\left( A\...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 1,720
5 votes

Was Occam’s razor ever wrong?

This is too near a miss to my criteria not to mention it for completeness. In the early years of molecular genetics, it was only known that the genetic code used an alphabet of four different bases ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
  • 1,032
5 votes

Historical examples of "pseudoscience" becoming "science"

I have an impression that until about 1800 scientists did not believe that rocks could fall from the sky, but I don't have a better source than the following: Reports of fireballs accompanied by the ...
akhmeteli's user avatar
  • 961
5 votes

Historical examples of "pseudoscience" becoming "science"

In mathematics, infinitesimals were widely considered not merely "pseudoscience" but "chimeras", "hallucinations", "cholera bacilli", "fantasies", &...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 5,842
4 votes

The Greeks did not discover "a single scientific law"

Snell's law was discovered in the 16th century or even earlier, whereas the algebraic notation is a post-Viete thing and a product of the 17th century. Holt seems to be influenced by the ideology ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 5,842
4 votes

What technology did researchers use to write scientific papers before the computer?

My theoretical physics papers and thesis were written by hand, then typed on an IBM "golf ball" typewriter. The golf ball was so called because the type head was about the same size as a golf ball. ...
Dr Chuck's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
Accepted

Nicollet and the notions of systematic and random errors

One year later, let me answer my own question. If we dig a little bit, we do find comments of Nicollet's work: Adriano Balbi, italian geographer, in Revue Encyclopédique, vol.38, p.453, april 1828 ...
irimias's user avatar
  • 189
4 votes
Accepted

Are statistics racist?

In general it is important to check scientific results and methods for racism and other biases, so it's a fair question. One needs to distinguish, however, between the historical origins and the ...
uUnwY's user avatar
  • 427
3 votes

Best books/papers on Newton and his mathematical physics

I agree with the citation of Westfall's biography of Newton, the 'Cambridge Companion' and the 1999 translation and introduction of the 'Principia'. In addition, for the calculus and an account of ...
terry-s's user avatar
  • 4,485
3 votes
Accepted

What was the major influence of Francis Bacon on the development of modern science?

Francis Bacon did not himself do science, his chief contribution is to what is now called the methodology of science. But De Maistre only comments on one side of Novum Organum Scientiarum, its "method"...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.1k
3 votes

Did Karl Popper argue against Bayesian inference?

The answer is not so straightforward. Of course, the thrust of Popper's position was against probabilistic induction in general, and Bayesianism is often put forth as the leading alternative to ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.1k
3 votes

Are statistics racist?

Are statistics racist? No! Statistics are a mathematical/analytical tool that can be applied to any field, such as: zebra populations, industrial processes and products, interstellar research, shoe ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 348
2 votes
Accepted

How and when did the Titius-Bode rule first become known as a "law"?

If you read carefully the Wikipedia article on which you refer, you find that Titius-Bode law predicted the size of the orbit of Ceres and Uranus. This explains why it was considered a law, before ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
2 votes

How important was the prediction of Neptune in 1846 for the Oxford evolution debate?

Discovery of Neptune was indeed a significant step which increased the prestige of science but it was only one of a long chain of such events starting in 17th century. Let me give a short sample: ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar

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