The enlightenment period was was an era which was characterized by the search for groundbreaking knowledge and for a better understanding of the world.  It is sometimes referred to as the age of reason, and it took place throughout the eighteenth century across Western Europe, England, and the American colonies. In this period new ideas and ways of thinking were celebrated  in the fields of science, politics, literature, and philosophy.  One of the most important pieces of this revolution which goes somewhat taken for granted and under appreciated is the data revolution. This data revolution entailed major advancements in the way that we gather and record empirical data and subsequently interpret such data.

One of the most meaningful contributors to this revolution was Francis Bacon. Bacon was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, and author. He was a strong presence advocating for the scientific revolution, and has even been referred to as the father of empiricism. He placed great importance on careful observations in nature using skeptical methods. He wanted to develop a method for discerning the truthfulness of knowledge. He placed importance on being mindful of the fact that all five human sensory experiences can be incorrectly interpreted. In order to determine whether our sensory experiences were based in truth or not, Bacon asserted the necessity of scientific experiments. Although his model for scientific research have been altered over the years the general principles of skepticism and experiment that he employed still have a strong hold in the scientific process that is used in modern science. He contended that as humans we must doubt things before assuming their veracity. He suggested that scientists must manipulate nature in attempts to prove their own hypotheses incorrect. The general importance he placed on thorough questioning in the gathering of data fosters the scientific method we use today.

Another important figure in the data revolution was Robert Hooke, an English natural philosopher. Robert Hooke was the curator of experiments and a member of the council of the Royal Society. The Royal Society was an organization that served to promote science, recognize excellence in science, support outstanding science, and provide support for education around science. He also wrote an extremely influential book called Micrographia which discussed his new compound microscope and the discoveries he was capable of making with it. He improved previous models of the microscope through the addition of a screw operated focusing mechanism as well as a water lens and light to improve focusing.  With these additions he was able to discover the first microorganisms and plant cells. His discoveries were the basis for modern day microbiology, nanotechnology, and quantum physics. His contributions to such scientific instruments forever changed the way that data was acquired and the kinds of data that scientists were capable of acquiring.

The contributions of individuals like Francis Bacon and Robert Hooke have shaped the science that we know today. The scientific method is taught in the most basic of science courses and serves as the basis for all future scientific endeavors. It is something that is largely taken for granted now that our methods for research and data collection are so advanced. Similarly, microscopes are one of the most basic instruments used in scientific research now that we have much more sophisticated and technologically advanced instruments of observation. The advanced means of gathering, observing, and analyzing data that we have today are widely taken for granted, but would not exist today if it were not for the revolutionary work of enlightened individuals like Francis Bacon and Robert Hooke.