Difference between revisions of "Timeline of the scientific method"

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=== Acknowledgement ===
=== Acknowledgement ===
[[User:Mati Roy]] imported and formatted the Wikipedia page [[wikipedia:Timeline of the history of scientific method|timeline of the scientific method]] on July 23rd 2019.
[[User:Mati Roy]] imported and formatted the Wikipedia page [[wikipedia:Timeline of the history of scientific method|timeline of the scientific method]] on July 23rd 2019. You can see the live stream of the work here: [https://www.facebook.com/2352397188177026/videos/494829571326329], [https://www.facebook.com/2352397188177026/videos/963513010658345/].
=== Update strategy ===
=== Update strategy ===

Revision as of 10:21, 23 July 2019

The content on this page is forked from the English Wikipedia page entitled "Timeline of the scientific method". The original page still exists at Timeline of the scientific method. The original content was released under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License (CC-BY-SA), so this page inherits this license.

This is a timeline of the scientific method.

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details

Full timeline

Date Details
c. 1600 BC The Edwin Smith Papyrus, an Ancient Egyptian medicine textbook, which applies: examination, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, to injuries,[1] paralleling rudimentary empirical methodology.[2]
c. 624 - 548 Thales raised the study of nature from the realm of the mythical to the level of empirical study.[3]
c. 610 - 547 Anaximander extends the idea of "law" to the physical world and uses maps and models.[3]
c. 400 BC In China, Mozi and the School of Names advocate using one's senses to observe the world, and develop the "three-prong method" for testing the truth or falsehood of statements.
c. 400 BC Democritus advocates inductive reasoning through a process of examining the causes of sensory perceptions and drawing conclusions about the outside world.
c. 400 BC Plato first provides a detailed definitions for idea, matter, form and appearance as abstract concepts.
c. 320 BC First comprehensive documents categorising and subdividing knowledge, dividing knowledge into different areas by Aristotle,(physics, poetry, zoology, logic, rhetoric, politics, and biology). Aristotle's Posterior Analytics defends the ideal of science as necessary demonstration from axioms known with certainty. Aristotle believes that the world is real and that we can learn the truth by experience.[4] Latin:experimentum
c. 341-270 Epicurus scientific method with multiple variables.[4]
c. 300 BC Euclid's Elements expound geometry as a system of theorems following logically from axioms known with certainty.
c. 240 BC Eratosthenes best known for being the first person to calculate the History of geodesy#Hellenic world, which he did by applying a measuring system using Stadion (unit), which was a standard unit of measure during that time period. His calculation was remarkably accurate.
c. 200 BC First Library cataloged library (at Alexandria)
c. 150 BC Book of Daniel describes a clinical trial proposed by Daniel in which he and his three companions eat vegetables and water for 10 days rather than the royal food and wine.
c. 90-168 Claudius Ptolemy[5]
c. 721-873 Science in medieval Islam used experiment and Quantification (science) to distinguish between competing scientific theories, set within a generically empirical orientation, as can be seen in the works of Jābir ibn Hayyān (721–815)[6] and Al-Kindi (801–873)[7] as early examples.
1021 Ibn al-Haytham introduces the experimental method and combines observations, experiments and rational arguments in his Book of Optics.
c. 1025 Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, develops experimental methods for mineralogy and mechanics, and conducts elaborate experiments related to Islamic astronomy phenomena.
1027 In The Book of Healing, Avicenna criticizes the Aristotelianism method of inductive reasoning, arguing that "it does not lead to the absolute, universal, and certain premises that it purports to provide", and in its place, develops Observational study and experimentation as a means for scientific inquiry.
1220–1235 Robert Grosseteste, an English scholastic philosopher, theologian and the bishop of Lincoln, published his Aristotelian commentaries, which laid out the framework for the proper methods of science.[8]
1265 Roger Bacon, an English monk, inspired by the writings of Grosseteste, described a scientific method, which he based on a repeating cycle of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and the need for independent Verification and validation. He recorded the manner in which he conducted his experiments in precise detail so that others could reproduce and independently test his results.[9]
1327 Ockham's razor clearly formulated (by William of Ockham) which states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.
1403 Yongle Encyclopedia, the first collaborative encyclopedia
1581 Francisco Sanches uses classical skeptical arguments to show that science, in the Aristotelian sense of giving necessary reasons or causes for the behavior of nature, cannot be attained.
1581 Tycho Brahe builds large scale research facility, Stjerneborg dedicated to obtaining high precision measurements of the planets.
1595 Microscope invented in the Netherlands\
1600 First dedicated laboratory
1608 History of the telescope invented in the Netherlands
1620 'Novum Organum published, (Francis Bacon)
1637 First Discourse on the Method (René Descartes)
1638 Galileo's Two New Sciences published, containing two thought experiments, namely Galileo's Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment and Galileo's ship, which are intended to disprove existing physical theories by showing that they have contradictory consequences.
1650 Society of experts (the Royal Society)
1650 Experimentation evidence established as the arbiter of truth (the Royal Society)
1665 Repeatability established (Robert Boyle)
1665 Scientific journal established
1675 Peer review begun
1687 Hypothesis/prediction (Isaac Newton)
1739 David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature argues that the problem of induction is unsolvable.
1753 First description of a Experimental control using identical populations with only one variable: James Lind's research into Scurvy among sailors.[10]
1763 Reverend Thomas Bayes published An Essay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances laying the basis for Bayesian inference, a method of inference used to update the probability estimate for a hypothesis as additional evidence is acquired.
1812 The formulation by Hans Christian Ørsted of the Latin-German mixed term Gedankenexperiment (lit. experiment conducted in the thoughts, or thought experiment). Although the method had been in use by philosophers since antiquity.
1815 An optimal design for polynomial regression is published by Joseph Diaz Gergonne.
1833 William Whewell invents the term scientist. They had previously been known as natural philosophers or men of science.
1840 William Whewell in Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences coins the term "consilience" the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can "converge" to strong conclusions.
1877–1878 Charles Sanders Peirce publishes "Illustrations of the Logic of Science", popularizing his trichotomy of Abductive reasoning, Deductive reasoning and Inductive reasoning. Peirce explains randomization as a basis for statistical inference.
1885 Charles Sanders Peirce with Joseph Jastrow first describes Blind experiment, randomized experiments, which become established in psychology.[11]
1897 Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin proposes the use of multiple hypotheses to assist in the design of experiments.
1905 Albert Einstein proposes the Theory of Relativity\
1926 Completely Randomized Design popularized and analyzed by Ronald Fisher (following Charles Sanders Peirce)
1934 Falsifiability as a criterion for evaluating new hypotheses is popularized by Karl Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery (following Charles Sanders Peirce)
1937 Controlled Placebo effect trial
1946 First computer simulation
1950 Double blind experiment
1962 Meta study of scientific method (Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions)
1964 Strong inference proposed by John R. Platt[12]
2009 Adam (robot) - First working prototype of a "robot scientist" able to perform independent experiments to test hypotheses and interpret findings without human guidance.
2012 Constructor theory, a proposal for a new mode of explanation in fundamental physics, was first sketched out by David Deutsch.

See also

Meta information on the timeline


User:Mati Roy imported and formatted the Wikipedia page timeline of the scientific method on July 23rd 2019. You can see the live stream of the work here: [1], [2].

Update strategy

User:Mati Roy: I couldn't figure out how to draw lines around some big picture periods of history with regards to the scientific method as it seems to have developed organically with many small improvements. I used this Google Sheet to format the timeline.

Please put feedback/suggestion/discussion in the Discussion page and tag relevant user(s).


  1. Edwin Smith papyrus, Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. Lloyd, G. E. R. "The development of empirical research", in his Magic, Reason and Experience: Studies in the Origin and Development of Greek Science.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Magill, Frank N. (2003-12-16). The Ancient World: Dictionary of World Biography. Routledge. ISBN 9781135457396. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gauch, Hugh G. (2003). Scientific Method in Practice. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521017084. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  5. Barker, Andrew (2000). Scientific Method in Ptolemy's Harmonics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521553728. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  6. Holmyard, E. J. (1931), Makers of Chemistry, Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 56 
  7. Plinio Prioreschi, "Al-Kindi, A Precursor Of The Scientific Revolution", Journal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine, 2002 (2): 17–19 [17].
  8. Ireland, Maynooth James McEvoy Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy National University of (2000-08-31). Robert Grosseteste. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195354171. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  9. Clegg, Brian (2013-08-29). Roger Bacon: The First Scientist. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 9781472112125. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  10. James Lind's A Treatise of the Scurvy
  11. Hacking, Ian (September 1988). "Telepathy: Origins of Randomization in Experimental Design". Isis (journal). 79 (3: A Special Issue on Artifact and Experiment): 427–451. JSTOR 234674. MR 1013489. doi:10.1086/354775. Charles Sanders Peirce and Joseph Jastrow (1885). "On Small Differences in Sensation". Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences. 3: 73–83.  http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Peirce/small-diffs.htm Stephen M. Stigler (November 1992). "A Historical View of Statistical Concepts in Psychology and Educational Research". American Journal of Education. 101 (1): 60–70. doi:10.1086/444032.  Trudy Dehue (December 1997). "Deception, Efficiency, and Random Groups: Psychology and the Gradual Origination of the Random Group Design". Isis (journal). 88 (4): 653–673. PMID 9519574. doi:10.1086/383850. 
  12. In Strong inference. Certain systematic methods of scientific thinking may produce much more rapid progress than others (Science, 16 October 1964, Volume 146, Number 3642, Pages 347-353.)