Science and Technology Words from the Ancient Past to the Present, Part 1

(terms appearing in some "scientific" areas from about 2000 B.C. to 1799 A.D.)

retrograde motion
1. The apparent backward movement, or reversal of direction, by outer planets in the solar system.

Retrograde motion is simply an optical illusion, created by the fact that the earth is orbiting the sun much faster than the outer planets are.

2. The clockwise, or east to west, motion of a body, and hence the reverse of direct motion.

As the majority of bodies in the solar-system orbit around their governing bodies; that is, the sun or planet, in direct motion; the occurrence of retrograde motion usually indicates some peculiarity.

scientific method
A set of principles and procedures for systematic study, introduced primarily by Galileo Galilei, and still used in the modern sciences.

The scientific method consists of four essential parts:

  1. The statement of a problem to be studied.
  2. The gathering of scientific data through observation and experimentation.
  3. The formulation of hypotheses or theories.
  4. The testing of those hypotheses.

The results of testing may lead to a restatement of the problem, or an entirely new problem to be analyzed, which starts the process over again.

Scientific Revolution
A period of accelerated scientific discover that completely reshaped the world.

Usually dated from about 1550 to 1700, the Scientific Revolution saw the origination of the scientific method and the introduction of ideas; such as, the heliocentric universe and gravity.

Its leading fugures included Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton.

A member of a small and very powerful group in ancient society who knew how to read and to write.
A viral infection accompanied by fevers and chills, and characterized by the formation of a rash over large parts of the body.

As the effects of the illness continue, the rash turns to pus-filled bumps or papules that, when infected, can cause death. Even those who survive, bear the scars left by the eruption of the papules.

solar calendar
A measure of the year based on earth's revolution around the sun, which takes 365.2422 days.

This is the calendar used in most of the world today.

star catalogue, star catalog
A listing of the known stars with their names, positions, and movements.
The application of knowledge to make the performance of physical tasks easier.
Speed in a certain direction or the rate of change of the position of an object.

For motion in one dimension, such as along the number line, velocity is a scalar and for motion in two dimensions or through three-dimensional space, velocity is a vector.

The language of the people.

During the Middle Ages, when educated people communicated with each other in Latin, "vernacular" referred to everyday national languages; such as, Italian, English, German, or French.

An imaginary band in the heavens, divided into twelve constellations or astrological signs.
A branch of biology concerned with animal life.

Index of additional Scientific and Technological Topics.