Chapter

Scientific Revolution

Frank N. Egerton

in Roots of Ecology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780520271746
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780520953635 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520271746.003.0004
Scientific Revolution

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During the 1600s, Italy and England led the way in exploring nature. The first experiment in plant physiology, repeated since antiquity, involved weighing both a plant and a pot of dirt; the plant grew in the pot, with only water added; after some years, the plant and the pot of dirt were weighed again, showing that the dirt weighed the same as before. The conclusion was that all growth came from the water. The skeptic Woodward claimed the water used was impure. The merchant Graunt used London mortality data and birth records to found the studies of demography and statistics. Scientific societies arose in Italy, then in France and England. Hooke, of the Royal Society, used a microscope to study small organisms. Redi, a founder of Accademia del Cimento, used a microscope to study insect ovaries and to conduct a controlled experiment to discredit the theory of the spontaneous generation of insects. Ray developed natural theology to motivate studies of plant-animal relationships. Leeuwenhoek made his microscopes and studied the natural history of microorganisms.

Keywords: plant growth; demography; statistics; Graunt; Hooke; Redi; Woodward; Royal Society; Accademia del Cimento

Chapter.  22337 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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