Know about four great British scientists and their contributions to science

Great Britain gave birth to great scientists, social scientists, statesmen and poets during European renaissane, who played immensely valuable roles for the progress of civilization. In this article, we will discuss the contributions of four great scientists of British Isles who were born during renaissance.

European renaissance during the seventeenth century and eighteenth century brought the entire Europe from middle age to modern age. The renaissance changed every aspect of civilization and brought a positive change in every European country. British Isles gave birth to many great scientists, poets, social scientists, statesmen and reformers during this period. In this article, we are going to discuss the contributions of four great British scientists, who were the products of renaissance.

Stupendous contributions of Sir Isaac Newton to the world of science

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) was an extra-ordinary English scientist. He is considered one of the greatest scientists of the world. He gave numerous theories and also contributed revolutionary ideas to many different fields including physics, mathematics, and philosophy.

These theories of Newton completely changed the horizon of science. One of his most famous theories is the law of universal gravitation. It describes the gravitational attraction between different bodies with mass like the Earth and the Moon. Newton said that this theory of gravitation was inspired by watching an apple fall from a tree. He also formulated the three laws of motion which relate the forces acting on a body to its motion. One of his most famous publications is the 'Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica', or 'Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy'. It was groundbreaking in the field of classical mechanics.

Newton was also the first scientist to develop a reflecting telescope, to study the speed of sound, and to observe spectrum of colours through a prism. In mathematics, Newton developed the basic principles of calculus. The list of achievements of this legendary scientist is truly awe-inspiring.

James Watt's steam engine brought industrial revolution

James Watt (1736-1819) was a Scottish engineer and inventor. He was one of the most important contributors to the industrial revolution. James Watt is famous for making major improvements to the steam engine. The steam engine was actually built for the first time in 1698 by Thomas Savery, but James Watt improved it in the 1800s, and made it really useful. In the Watt's steam engine, steam output and engine speed could be controlled.

The steam engine developed by James Watt was a powerful source which could be located almost anywhere. In the late 1760s, Watt worked with inventor John Roebuck and engineer Matthew Boulton. They made steam engines for canals, coal, mines, and mills. From the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, steam engines powered machines, ran factories, train and huge ships.

Watt's steam engine dominated the industry and transportation for almost 150 years. It is considered the most important factor behind industrial revolution.

Edward Jenner's smallpox vaccine saved millions of life

For centuries after centuries, smallpox had been a dreaded disease. It took millions of life all over the world during the journey of civilization. It was Edward Jenner (1749-1823), a British physician, who discovered a way to prevent people from catching smallpox. Jenner realized that giving people a mild dose of the disease could protect them from getting it in a severe form.

In 1796, Edward Jenner conducted his first experiment on a boy called James Phipps, and the experiment was a success. This is how Jenner's vaccination treatment was born. Jenner's work is considered as the foundation of immunology. His vaccine was the first successful vaccine ever to be developed and still remains the only effective preventive for smallpox.

Charles Darwin gave path-breaking concept of evolution

Charles Darwin (1809-1882), an English naturalist, put forward the idea that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors. 'On the Origin of Species' by Charles Darwin is a path-breaking book published in 1859. This book brought a revolutionary concept of natural selection and evolution of species. Darwin single-handedly changed the way humans viewed themselves and the world around them, through his ideas on evolution and natural selection. During the process, favourable traits become more common in successive generations. At the same time, unfavourable traits become less common. This is known as the 'Theory of Natural Selection'.

Darwin presented irrefutable evidence from his detailed research which included a five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle. On this voyage, Darwin visited ecologically diverse regions like Galapagos Islands. Darwin's book containing his findings is considered to be a landmark in the area of evolutionary biology.

In a nutshell

Summarizing the discussion, it can be stated without an iota of doubt that these four British scientists have contributed significantly in the onward progress of human civilization. They will never be forgotten.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao08 May 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

A good article by Mr. Pratha. Very useful for students.

The discovery of steam engine is a real revolution in the industry. It has brought lot of advances in industry and transportation. Really a great contribution to the field of science and engineering.
Sir Isaac Newton has enormously increased the boundaries of science with his findings. Among all his invention on universal gravitation is very remarkable.
The selection of scientists by author is good. All four are from different fields and who has done excellent work in their field of excellence.

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