13 October 2013
My first candidate to be nominated as one of the three greatest scientists in history would be Nicklaus Kopernig. Copernicus, as he would be remembered by, ranks among the greatest of scientists for his work in astronomy. His theories that the earth was not the center of the universe was an immense blow to the theological belief that the earth was not the "focus of God's purpose" (Burke p.135). His work attacked a long held theological "fact" and undermined the religious stranglehold that the church had over the masses. Although he was hired by the church to solve their calendar issues, Copernicus's discovery led to a paradigm shift on how the universe operated. This understanding of how the universe operated led to a slow decline of church authority, especially in the hindrance of science. His theories would also provide the ground work for ...view middle of the document...
161). Like Copernicus, Newton's theories on gravity struck at the core of theological beliefs and church dominance. The human race "was alone, with its curiosity and dexterity, to invent instruments with which to examine the universe without fear of intervention or guidance" (Burke p. 161). His contributions to the development of differential calculus would have a lasting effect on the scientific community. Additionally, his theories on inertia and other laws of motion is still in use today, influencing and explaining everyday occurrences such as the automobile industry, airplanes, or even in sports. Although Newton's views on science would eventually be challenged and destroyed (seeing everything in terms of black or white), his work changed the world.
My final candidate as one of the greatest scientists in history would have to be Louis Pasteur. Pasteur was influential in the research of microorganisms and his research was immensely vital to the development of vaccination. Pasteur "announced the discovery of 'airborne germs'" and was therefore immensely influential to the medical revolution (Burke p.236). His theories on microscopic organisms helped defeat the cholera plague in Europe and laid the groundwork to all vaccinations afterwards. Pasteur "had show that degraded forms of micro-organisms carrying a disease would create immunity to the same infection" and "disease was now firmly established as the product of micro-organism activity" (Burke p.236). Additionally, his discoveries would revolutionize medical procedure. By discovering how diseases were being spread, society was able to reform to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Additionally his work was utilized by others such as Joseph Lister, who developed antiseptic surgical techniques that substantially reduced hospital infection. Louis Pasteur's research has saved countless lives (in the past, present, and the future) and help advanced society by providing humanity the means to combat pathogens.
Burke, J. (1985). The Day the Universe Changed. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.