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Science and Technology
The Elizabethan era was a period of great advances in world exploration, medicine, and the study of
the universe. Sir Francis Drake became the first Englishman to sail around the world. He left from England
in 1577 on a trading expedition to the Nile. Instead, he soon found himself on the coast of South
America. From there, he made his way up the coast of the American continent until he reached the
North American northwest, near the present states of Washington and Oregon. Continuing westward,
Drake's crew sailed through the Indian Ocean, passed the coast of Africa, and returned to England in 1580.
He had spent almost three years spanning approximately 36,000 miles across the globe.
The period brought great advances in medical science, namely in the study of human anatomy and
developments in dissection and surgical operations. Andreas Vesalius founded the study of modern
anatomy, and authored De Humanis Corporis Fabrica (On the Workings of the Human Body).
The seven-volume work was dedicated to Charles V, and was illustrated by Titian's pupil,
Jan Stephen van Calcar. The work emphasized the priority of dissection and what has come to be
called the "anatomical" view of the body (seeing human internal functioning as an essentially
corporeal structure filled with organs arranged in three-dimensional space). This was in stark contrast
to many of the anatomical models used previously, which had strong Galenic/Aristotlean elements,
as well as elements of astrology. Meanwhile, Costanzo Varolio engaged in understanding the
innerworkings of the human brain. In 1568, Varolio produced a detailed description of the
central nervous system, and in particular, of the structure now known as "pons Varolii".
Inventions of the period include the graphite pencil, the modern calendar, time bomb, wind-powered
sawmill, and the thermoscope. Galileo Galilei's thermoscope
indicated temperature differences and was the predecessor to the thermometer. During the
Elizabethan era, Galileo also invented the hydrostatic balance, an instrument that could weigh objects
in water such that their density could be calculated. In 1602, Galileo began work on
a telescope modeled after one made by Hans Lippershey.