The Scientific Revolution was, very roughly, a series of scientific discoveries that occurred primarily in Europe from the Renaissance through the 18th century at the latest. These included breakthroughs in mathematics, astronomy, biology, physics, changing the very way that science thought of these subjects and more. The Scientific Revolution marked the beginning of what we know as modern science, leading a paradigm shift for many from an understanding of the world shaped in religion to a more scientific perspective.

Many historians believe that the Scientific Revolution was important in changing European intellectual thinking from inward conservative thinking to outward pioneering ideals. On the other hand, some historians like Steven Shapin reject referring to this period as a “Scientific Revolution” at all. They claim that there just isn’t enough correlation between events for this to be considered a singular “revolution”, and that the time period chosen is incredibly arbitrary as scientific discovery is constantly happening.

Whether you believe that the Scientific Revolution was actually a “revolution” or not, the discoveries made within this certain time frame were undoubtedly significant and long-lasting, promoting certain series’ of thought that would lead to hundreds more discoveries even to this day. One of them was known as the “Copernicus Revolution”. Conceived by polymath Nicolaus Copernicus, the discovery that the solar system was of celestial bodies orbiting the sun rather than the Earth was earth-shattering to astronomers, as well as transformative for established religious beliefs. Under a geocentric model, the sun and all the planets around Earth were believed to be perfect heavenly bodies, and the Earth, Moon, and all distance between the two were believed to be imperfect and the only universal source of evil. Copernicus’ discovery suggested that Earth, in fact, was not unique in the universe, and even indirectly suggested that there are possibly other planets out there with another race of humans. This example is an excellent metaphor for the shift from inward thinking to outward ideals because it literally forced astronomers to look beyond their Earth-to-Moon scope to the concept of an infinite universe with billions of stars, many with their own solar systems and some with possibly their own Earths.

When we look to the science of today, we can consider the influence that the Scientific Revolution, or at least the general culmination of that time period’s ideals, had on our modern thought processes. Business leaders with multimillion dollar companies are now at the forefront of the race for newer and better technology. Bill Gates developed the industry standard of the personal computer, turning bulky military machinery into a cultural necessity that no household can longer do without. Mark Zuckerberg created the world’s most prevalent social network which, for better or worse, gave everyone a means to communicate and connect with friends, strangers, or businesses. Elon Musk is constantly in the news for his incredibly daring plans to expand our outreach further and further into the cosmos utilizing the latest in science and space technology, announcing just this Tuesday that a manned mission to the moon will be broadcasted to the public in virtual reality in 2023. Whether you believe these innovations are the residue of a three hundred year old “revolution”, or you say that they are just natural progressions in our pursuit of development, you cannot doubt the marvel of our evolution from a Copernican theory of orbit, to a Musk-an trip to mars. Oh and also we have electric cars now.