Examples of Scientific Revolutions

A scientific revolution it is a paradigm shift that occurs when scientific production introduces a conceptual change as a consequence of one or more important scientific discoveries. For example: the Copernican revolution, the Darwinian revolution and the Mendelian revolution.

The term scientific revolution was introduced in 1962 by the American physicist Thomas kuhn. Although this concept is often used to refer to the historical period that occurred between the 16th and 17th centuries, the truth is that scientific revolutions took place at different times in which, as a result of one or more discoveries, science had a central or fundamental place.

scientific revolutions

Examples of scientific revolutions

  1. Copernican Revolution. It was a revolution that began in the 16th century with Nicolás Copernicus (and continued with Galileo Galilei) and marked the step from geocentric theory to heliocentric theory, that is, it stopped affirming that the Earth was the center of the Solar System and he understood that the Sun was the center and the Earth one of the components of the system. This discovery gave rise to a new conception of the cosmos and inaugurated one of the most recognized scientific revolutions that started modern science.
  2. Darwinian revolution. It was a revolution that began with the ideas of the English naturalist Charles Darwin and that overthrew the anthropocentric notion of the universe. Darwin introduced the concept of natural selection, which assumes that all species evolved through time and from a common ancestor (which explains biodiversity). His notion of the evolution of species marks a break with the theory of the immutability of species.
  3. Einsteinian Revolution. It was a revolution that was unleashed from the theory of relativity proposed at the beginning of the 20th century by the German physicist Albert Einstein. The theory of relativity includes the theory of general relativity, in which the idea of ​​the curvature of space-time that occurs in the presence of matter or mass was determined; and to the special theory of relativity, which determined that the notions of time and space vary according to each observer.
  4. Indeterminist revolution. It was a revolution that began with the principle of indeterminacy or uncertainty postulated in 1927 by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg. The principle of indeterminacy supports the impossibility of having precision when simultaneously measuring the position and linear motion of a particle.
  5. Lavoiserian revolution or chemical revolution. It was a revolution that occurred within chemistry from the discoveries of the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, known as the father of modern chemistry. Lavoisier revolutionized the conception of chemistry with the law of the conservation of matter, which was postulated in 1785 and determines that mass is not destroyed or created but is transformed. In addition, he discovered the importance of oxygen in phenomena such as combustion and contributed to the classification and nomenclature of chemical elements.
  6. Lyellian Revolution. It was a revolution within the field of geology that began with work published in 1830 by the English geologist Charles Lyell. Lyell became one of the forerunners of modern geology and adhered to the uniformism theory, which holds that geological phenomena and processes have been the same since the beginning of the Earth.
  7. Maxwellian revolution. It was a revolution that arose from the research and discoveries of the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. In 1895 Maxwell postulated the classical theory of electromagnetism in which he related magnetic and electric fields (which travel through waves) with each other and with respect to the speed of light. His work also included a set of equations, known as Maxwell’s equations, which constituted the general equations of the electromagnetic field. His discoveries were key to the development of radiocommunications.
  8. Mendelian Revolution or Genetic Revolution. It was a revolution that occurred within the field of genetics based on the discoveries of the Austrian biologist and monk Gregor Mendel at the end of the 19th century. Mendel began to study the genetic inheritance of pea plants with what he managed, later, to postulate Mendel’s laws that established the bases of genetic inheritance. His studies marked a milestone in biology and began the study of genetics, which is why he is considered the father of this discipline.
  9. Wegenerian Revolution. It was a revolution that occurred within the field of geology and was promoted at the beginning of the 20th century by the German meteorologist Alfred Wegener, who determined that all the continents had their beginnings in a single continent which he called “Pangea”. Wegener marked a break by questioning the theories that claimed that continental masses were fixed and his theory, called the theory of continental drift, began the study of the origin of continents and oceans.
  10. Marxism. It was a revolution that occurred within the philosophical and political field led by the Marxist theory expounded by the German philosopher Karl Marx. Marx established in his treatise a theorization about the capitalist system in which the figures of the proletariat with their workforce and the entrepreneurs with their companies were. Furthermore, he argued that in a future society the communist movement would dominate the world and there would be the only possible class: the working class, that is, the proletariat.
  11. Psychoanalytic revolution. It was a revolution that occurred within the field of psychology, promoted by the German neurologist Sigmund Freud. Freud defended the idea that the acts of human beings are not entirely conscious, but that their foundation lies in an unconscious that is not possible to access except for lapses, failed acts, jokes or dreams.
  12. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It was a revolution that took place in the field of politics from the work “The social contract” (1762) by the Swiss philosopher and writer Jean Jaques Rousseau. This book exposes the foundations of political philosophy and is considered the prelude to the French Revolution.
  13. Keplerian Revolution. It was a revolution that occurred in the field of astronomy and was part of the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. It was promoted by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler in the work “New Astronomy” (1609), in which his study of the orbit and movement of the planets is evidenced. Thanks to his contribution, the three basic laws that revolutionized astronomy were established.
  14. Jean piaget. It was a revolution that began with the studies of the Swiss epistemologist Jean Piaget. Piaget proposed a detailed study on the stages of cognitive and psychological evolution of children from birth to adolescence. With this contribution constructivist psychology begins.
  15. Nicholas Machiavelli. It was a revolution that took place in the field of political science introduced by the Italian philosopher and writer Nicholas Machiavelli in his work “The Prince” of 1532. In this treatise, Machiavelli spoke about political institutions and the art of government. It was written in the bosom of monarchies and is considered the basis of the birth of current political science.
  16. Ling revolutionoristics. It was a revolution that developed in the field of linguistics from the studies of the American linguist Noam Chomsky, during much of the 20th century. His ideas marked a paradigm shift in the conception of language with universal grammar, generative grammar and his work “Syntactic Structures” in which he sustained the innate capacity of the human being to construct language.