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Science and Technology

During the Baroque period, Galileo Galilei discovered a number of natural laws (for example, uniform accelerated motion, gravity and oscillation) after a series of experiments with pendulums, inclined planes, and projectiles. Galileo also invented the microscope, contructed a telescope, and observed the planets during this period, only to be later condemned by Rome for his views. Galileo has probably contributed more to the creation of the modern natural sciences than anybody else. He has been referred to as the "father of modern astronomy," as the "father of modern physics," and as the "father of science." The work of Galileo is considered to be a significant break from that of Aristotle. In addition, his conflict with the Roman Catholic Church is taken as a major early example of the conflict of authority and freedom of thought, particularly with science, in Western society.

Meanwhile, Johannes Kepler engaged in the study of astronomy and developed the laws of planetary motion in 1609. Kepler, a nearly blind though brilliant German mathematician, derived these laws, in part, by studying the observations of the keen-sighted Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. The laws are stated as follows: (1) "The orbit of a planet about a star is an ellipse with the star at one focus"; (2) "A line joining a planet and its star sweeps out equal areas during equal intervals of time"; and (3) "The squares of the orbital periods of planets are directly proportional to the cubes of the semi-major axis of the orbits."

Brilliant mathematicians such as Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Pierre de Fermat and Isaac Newton developed the foundations for analytic geometry, probability, and integral calculus; while Robert Boyle discovered the laws of pressure. In medical science, William Harvey studied the circulation of blood and the function of the heart. Physicians studied diabetes and scarlet fever, and developed a cure for scurvy. Meanwhile, Italian physician Santorio Santorii measured human body temperature with his invention, the thermometer. Other inventions of the period include the syringe, slide rule, barometer, wind gauge, pressure cooker, tuning fork, and steam engine.