We can cite many steps in the history of Western Civilization that led to today's modern science. The Greeks, of course, began simple experimental science. We can think of Euclid, and of Ptolemy and the experiments he carried out in the Egyptian desert to calculate the size of the earth. Later, Islamic centers pursued experimental science, especially mathematical. Medieval philosophers such as Roger Bacon understood empirical science. In the early 1400's, a scientific center at the Florentine Cathedral experimented and achieved some sophisticated research under the leadership of many Florentine philosophers, as well as Brunelleschi and other artists.
Lacking in all of these earlier phases of science were three essential aspects of modern science: 1) devices such as the microscope, developed specifically to be used in discovery and experimentation; 2) A publicly chartered institution, with its own building, established for and dedicated to science; and 3) a scientific publication. These three new features of modern science appeared in England in the 1660s, during the monarchy of Charles II.
SEE BELOW TH ELINK TO THE PDF COPY OF LECTURE WEEK 24 SCIENCE
This book based on lectures delivered earlier, was first published in 1957. There have been many other books since then on this subject, but Butterfield is still the right place to begin. A great book and still in print.
The Origins of Modern Science,
Free Press; Revised edition (April 1, 1997),
Superb Book September 29, 2003 By Benjamin B. Eshbach Format:Paperback
Professor Butterfield's history is easy to read and refreshing. Especially interesting are his chapters on pre-Newtonian mechanics and the transfer from Ptolemaic to Copernican models of the universe.