Cover image for Groundbreaking scientific experiments, inventions, and discoveries of the 17th century
Groundbreaking scientific experiments, inventions, and discoveries of the 17th century
Windelspecht, Michael, 1963-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xxviii, 270 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1270 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Q125 .W7917 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The 17th century was a time of transition for the study of science and mathematics. The technological achievements of this time directly impacted both society and the future of science. This reference resource explores the major scientific and mathematical milestones of this era, and examines them from both their scientific and sociological perspectives. Over fifty entries, arranged alphabetically, illustrate how this was a time marking the first wide-spread application of experimentation and mathematics to the study of science--an exciting time brought to life through this unique exploration.

Students will find not only the familiar names like Galileo and Newton who are well-recognized for their contributions in science, but they will also encounter the names of lesser-known scientists and inventors who challenged long-held doctrines and beliefs. The contributions of the scientists, mathemeticians, and inventors of the 17th century would have a significant impact on the course of science into modern times. This impact is explored in detail to provide an understanding of how scientific study affects everyday life and how it evolves to provide a better understanding of our world.

Author Notes

MICHAEL WINDELSPECHT is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The scientific method, first widely used in the seventeenth century, created a worldview based less upon observation and belief and more upon experimentation and proof. This established a link between science and technological advancement, forming a foundation for our modern world. This source, the first in the new Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions and Discoveries through the Ages series, describes key inventions and discoveries at the beginning of the scientific revolution. The author is a biologist from Appalachian State University. In the preface, series editor Robert E. Krebs states that the audience is middle-school and senior-high-school students, college-level nonscience majors, and adult readers interested in scientific history, but the more appropriate audience is advanced high-school students, college-level nonscience majors, and adult readers. College science majors would find the entries useful but may want more detailed information. Entries cover concepts in astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry, mathematics, and physical sciences and inventions of tools--such as the telescope or barometer--that helped scientists measure and test their hypotheses. Developments in the seventeenth century are discussed in context, including their origins, usually from ancient Greek science, and in light of modern theories. Cross-references are represented within entries by all capital letters. There is a glossary at the end of the work, and glossary terms are highlighted the first time they are used in an entry. Bibliographies are included, and a complete list of bibliographic references is found at the end of the book. The history of science is a hot area for publishers of reference books. The Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton (Garland, 2000) and The Scientific Revolution: An Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2001) are two recent titles that come to mind. Comparing the coverage of Galileo illustrates how these encyclopedias complement one another. Because the new Greenwood title is conceptually arranged, there is no entry for Galileo, but there are about five pages on heliocentrism, with bibliographical references, including a translation of Galileo's most significant work. The Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution has about seven pages on Galileo and nine citations in the bibliography, including a translation of his seminal work. For a less-scholarly audience, The Scientific Revolution has three pages on Galileo, with three references in the bibliography. Newton said, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 17th Century documents the work of those giants. Recommended for academic and public libraries.

Choice Review

The 17th century was a period of momentous achievement by such famous mathematicians and scientists as Galileo, Kepler, and Newton. Windelspecht (biology, Appalachian State Univ., NC) explores the major achievements, inventions, and discoveries during this period and provides readers with a concise, intelligent glimpse into the beginnings of modern science. Intended for a general science audience, this resource uses common language and little technical jargon. Technical terms in the entries are printed in boldface and included in a glossary. Sixty entries, analytical geometry to vacuum pump, are arranged alphabetically. Some have illustrations. Other features include a time line, an appendix of entries listed by scientific field, a selected bibliography that includes Internet sources, and subject and name indexes. This is one in the five-volume series "Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions and Discoveries through the Ages," which, taken together, provides a historical approach to science and emphasizes scientific knowledge as cumulative and sequential. General readers and lower-division undergraduates. S. Markgren Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Table of Contents

List of Entries
Timeline of Events Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries
Appendix A Entries by Scientific Field
Glossary of Technical Terms
Names and Subject Index