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The Scientific Revolution: Understanding the Roots of Modern Science

University of Groningen via FutureLearn


Trace the roots of modern science

How did the science of today come about? What constitutes ‘modern’ science? How does science relate to religion?

Answer these questions and more with this course that travels back in time to the seventeenth-century Scientific Revolution to explore the roots of modern science. In this course you will critically explore the history of science, challenging established simplistic narratives of how science has developed. You will also examine modern scientific methods, the relationship between science, religion and secularism, and, if you work in science, consider the origins of our own discipline.

This course has been created for those working in science who wish to know more about the origins of modern science. It’s also been created for people with a general interest in science and history.


  • What was the scientific revolution?
    • Welcome
    • The Scientific Revolution and Aristotelian natural philosophy
    • From Aristotelianism to mechanism
    • The limits of mechanisation
  • What was the scientific method?
    • Observation and experiment
    • Instruments, tools, set-ups
    • The relation between theory and experimentation
  • The Scientific Revolution in context
    • Science and society
    • Science and religion: final causes
    • Science and secularisation
    • Conclusive activities

Taught by

Andrea Sangiacomo


4.2 rating, based on 9 Class Central reviews

3.9 rating at FutureLearn based on 73 ratings

Start your review of The Scientific Revolution: Understanding the Roots of Modern Science

  • This course isn't about what happened when in terms of discoveries and advancements -- none of that is covered. This course is mostly about philosophy -- make sure you have time and the inclination to wade through the dense, flowery and often vague…
  • Millie B.
    I found this course really interesting, and it was pitched at a good level for scientist and non-scientist alike.

    My only gripe is that in the final week, the Scientific Revolution was not discussed in the context of the wider world, particularly Muslim and East Asian scientific advances. I think this let the course down slightly, although to be fair it was very clear that we were only discussing the Scientific Revolution in the western world.
  • Anonymous
    This course was very well done. I learned a lot about the development of science I had not been exposed to before. Now looking back I think such a course in the history of science should be a required course for every science major in college.
  • Anonymous
    This course wasn't what I had expected but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I found it interesting and well presented.
  • Anonymous
    A really enjoyable experience. Having retired from being an R&D chemist, I am now looking at the roots of my lifetime in Science. As a working scientist, it is too easy to forget that where we are now just did not happen, but has been the work of many, many people. Science, as it is practised, lives in the present, and its past is too often disregarded; nobody would want to be treated by a surgeon who worked using the knowledge of the 18th century. However, maybe a 22nd century patient would not want to be treated by a 21st century surgeon, who knows? This course has done an excellent job in setting out how, what could be called modern Science, began its passage to where we are today.
    Great Stuff.
  • Anonymous
    This was an excellent course. It was great to explore the development of early modern science. I live in the UK and this is the first Future Learn course I have done by a non-UK university. I thought that the tutors had an excellent command of English. I was very pleased, especially at this time (2017), to find how integrated the UK was in the intellectual world of the seventeenth century, and has continued to be. We are Europeans!
  • This is course in philosophy, not history. Many people hoped for historical information regarding topic, but that is not the case. Course is focused on change in philosophical views on Natural Science, instruments and politics. Course use original texts from 17th century philosophers and some of them, are hard to read. Even thou course is not easy, it was interesting.
  • Anonymous
    I am glad that I completely done the Scientific revolution course and I would like to recommend it because it is an interesting course, good for scientific knowledge n basic scientific revolution information

  • Anonymous
    An excellent course!! It allows to know about origin and development of modern science, a lot! Very useful for all people (scientists, teachers, etc.).

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