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History Archive - Science Collection

Science (Lat. scientia, from scire, to learn, know) is a word which, in its broadest sense, is synonymous with learning and knowledge. Early scientific works were not limited by arbitrary scientific fields and many old accounts encompassed disparate fields such as geology, biology, ethnology, zoology and more. In this sense they truly were multidisciplinary and their works form the foundation of our modern field of science today.

The beginnings of physical science are to be sought in the slow and unconscious observation by primitive races of men of natural occurrences, such as the apparent movements of the heavenly bodies, and in the gradually acquired mastery over the rude implements by the aid of which such men strove to increase the security and comfort of their lives. Biological science similarly must have begun with observation of the plants and animals useful to man, and with empirical medicine and surgery. It was only when a considerable progress had been made with ordered knowledge that men began to ask questions about the meaning and causes of the phenomena, and to discern the connexions between them.

In the earliest stage of development it seems that an anthropomorphic or mythological explanation is always assigned to the phenomena of nature. With no clue to trace the regularity of sequence and connexion between those phenomena, an untutored mind inevitably refers the apparently capricious events which succeed each other to the direct and immediate intervention of some unseen being of a nature essentially similar to his own. The sun is the flaming chariot of the sun-god, driven day by day across the heavens; the clouds are cows from which milk descends as nourishing rain on the fruitful earth.

We may regard such myths as childlike fancies, but they were doubtless an advance on the want of all explanation which preceded them; they supplied hypotheses which, besides giving rise to themes of beauty and suggestiveness for poetry and art, played the first and chief part of a scientific hypothesis in pointing the way for further inquiry. Much useful knowledge was acquired and much skill gained in logical analysis before these primitive explanations were proved insufficient. A false theory which can be compared with facts may be more useful at a given stage of development than a true one beyond the comprehension of the time, and incapable of examination by observation or experiment by any means then known. The Newtonian theory of gravitation might be useless to a savage, to whose mind the animistic view of nature brought conviction and helpful ideas, which he could test by experience.

References:

1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 24. pg 396-404

Available Books

Book Title Date
Science - A Practical Treatise on the Construction of Chimneys A Practical Treatise on the Construction of Chimneys 1826
Science - Animate Creation Vol. 3 Animate Creation Vol. 3 1885
Science - Principles of Geology Vol. 2 Principles of Geology Vol. 2 1830
Science - Amusement Microscopique Vol. 1 Amusement Microscopique Vol. 1 1764
Science - Rational Recreations Vol. 2 Rational Recreations Vol. 2 1787
Science - Experiments and Observations on Electricity Experiments and Observations on Electricity 1751
Science - Magnetical Observations in the Arctic Seas Magnetical Observations in the Arctic Seas 1859
Science - Tidal Observations in the Arctic Seas Tidal Observations in the Arctic Seas 1860
Science - Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Vol. 2 Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Vol. 2 1862
Science - Tychonis Brahe Astronomiae Instauratae Progymnasmata Tychonis Brahe Astronomiae Instauratae Progymnasmata 1598
Science - Culinary Chemistry Culinary Chemistry 1821
Science - A Treatise on the Art of Brewing A Treatise on the Art of Brewing 1820
Science - Animate Creation Vol. 2 Animate Creation Vol. 2 1885
Science - Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Vol. 3 Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Vol. 3 1863
Science - Amusement Microscopique Vol. 3 Amusement Microscopique Vol. 3 1764
Science - Principles of Geology Vol. 1 Principles of Geology Vol. 1 1830
Science - Principles of Geology Vol. 3 Principles of Geology Vol. 3 1830
Science - A Practical Treatise on Gas-Light A Practical Treatise on Gas-Light 1815
Science - A Treatise on Navigation by Steam A Treatise on Navigation by Steam 1828
Science - The Phantom of the Poles The Phantom of the Poles 1906
Science - Animate Creation Vol. 1 Animate Creation Vol. 1 1885
Science - Museum de la Jeunesse Museum de la Jeunesse 1809
Science - Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Vol. 1 Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Vol. 1 1861
Science - Porte-Feuille Geographique et Ethnographique [Text] Porte-Feuille Geographique et Ethnographique [Text] 1820
Science - Rational Recreations Vol. 1 Rational Recreations Vol. 1 1787
Science - Description of the Process of Manufacturing Coal Gas Description of the Process of Manufacturing Coal Gas 1819
Science - Rational Recreations Vol. 4 Rational Recreations Vol. 4 1787
Science - Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Atlas Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Atlas 1866
Science - Atlas of Meteorology Atlas of Meteorology 1899
Science - The Geognosy of the Island St. Helena The Geognosy of the Island St. Helena 1834
Science - Rational Recreations Vol. 3 Rational Recreations Vol. 3 1787
Science - A Journey to the Earth's Interior A Journey to the Earth's Interior 1913
Science - Popular Physical Geology Popular Physical Geology 1853
Science - Remarks on a Review of Symmes' Theory Remarks on a Review of Symmes' Theory 1827
Science - Amusement Microscopique Vol. 2 Amusement Microscopique Vol. 2 1764
Science - Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Vol. 4 Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia Vol. 4 1866
Science - Meteorological Observations in the Arctic Seas Meteorological Observations in the Arctic Seas 1859
Science - A Journey to the Earth's Interior A Journey to the Earth's Interior 1920
Science - Porte-Feuille Geographique et Ethnographique [Atlas] Porte-Feuille Geographique et Ethnographique [Atlas] 1820
Science - Symmes's Theory of Concentric Spheres Symmes's Theory of Concentric Spheres 1826

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