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Lecture

SC-NATS_1775_Lecture_4_-_Technology_in_the_Renaissance_and_Early_Modern_Period.doc

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Department
Natural Science
Course
NATS 1775
Professor
Vera Pavri
Semester
Fall

Description
2009 © Vera Pavri Derivative Technology in the Renaissance and Early Modern Period I. Science and Technology in the Renaissance - “rebirth”; interest in newly recovered classical texts – humanists - travel, adventure and navigation - increased use of military technology results requires lots of money: increased taxation, wealth - leads to formation of new nation-states that can afford to engage in such th enterprises (i.e. France emerges as state in 15 century) - costs associated with producing technologies (i.e. gunpowder), building and maintaining armies - many texts recovered after fall of Constantinople to Turkish army in 1453; transferred to Italy and retranslated - Catholic church challenged with Protestant Reformation; increased role of patronage and royal courts - Higher status for role of engineer - change in values: knowledge for wealth, power and status over standard theological considerations and attaining salvation - natural philosophers: justify search for knowledge on utilitarian (believings value lies in usefulness/practical) and not just theological reasoning; this signals a changing relationship between science and technology - another important development was creation of linear (geometrical) perspective: three dimensional images onto two dimensional canvas is new method of drawing and painting images - Leon Alberti (1404-1472) known as “father of perspective”: while he did not invent linear perspective, did help to perfect the art by providing a structured theory for artists learning the technique II. Technology, Patronage and the Royal Courts - While royal courts all over Europe (i.e. France, Spain, England) supported and sponsored many technological enterprises, nowhere was this more evident than in Italy th th - Medici family dynasty in Italy in the 15 and 16 centuries sponsored many technical projects - Did not do so for commercial or industrial reasons; technical projects revolved around warfare, city-building, entertainment and “showing off” power and wealth - status of engineers in these courts increases with new political and military projects - Court patronage necessary for “Renaissance men” like Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei; courts provided vast resources, access to figures in power 1 2009 © Vera Pavri A. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) - little is known about da Vinci’s early life - illegitimate son, raised by grandparents - at age of 14 he began ten year apprenticeship with Andrea del Verrocchio who was sculptor and painter - learned about mathematics, architecture, painting, sculpture; during his time with Verrocchio helped with construction of Florence cathedral - Da Vinci had perfected technique of three dimensional drawing: used this skill to recreate and produce images of many technical machines in his notebooks and was greatly influenced by Alberti - Da Vinci established his own career by accepting an assignment from the Medici family; worked as engineer for powerful Sforza family for ten years - Highlighted importance of his engineering designs for both military and civilian purposes but emphasized the importance of his designs for war - Notebooks have many images of gunpowder weapons, firearms, crossbows, cannons, bridges, chariots with rotating daggers, etc… - Re-creations versus new inventions like submarines and airplanes (i.e. “technological dreams”) - Da Vinci also created many new mechanisms for courtly entertainment; had fascination for “automata” - After Sforza family is ousted by French in 1499; traveled Italy and worked as military engineer for hire - At beginning of 16 century da Vinci returns to Florence and works on several projects; at this time also begins anatomical (relating to physical structure) studies - Eventually returns to Rome and accepts patronage of Medici family until death of Giuliano de Medici - Last years of life spent in French royal court doing painting, engineering, architecture, philosophy - As both an engineer and natural philosopher, da Vinci represents new type of individual who was familiar with both fields of study - Investigation of scientific problems via experimentation B. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) - professor at Padua university, had wide range of interests - relied heavily on court patronage of Medici family - skilled rhetorician; wanted to influence public opinion - interest in experiment, observation, measurement and design - created and built own telescope (original inventor of telephone an unknown Dutchman) - used his telescope in support of the Copernican system which was the idea that the sun was at the center of the universe - prior to this, common belief was that the earth was at the center of the universe 2 2009 © Vera Pavri - Galileo also used telescope to gain prestige: named his discover of Jupiter’s moons after his patrons, the Medici family so that they would support him - It worked! Galileo becomes very important figure in Medici court; gains lots of status and prestige - gave away telescopes to wealthy and powerful individuals that would support cause; not to those that necessarily supported ideas (i.e. Kepler) - important to understand observations not indisputable truth - problems with telescope: how to confirm what Galileo was seeing - difficulties interpreting observations; vision problems, accusations of trickery - still, use of telescope one example of growing relationship between science and technology via the use of new instruments III. The Printing Press - Johannes Gutenberg (c.1397-1468) - Printing press technology based on wooden press, moveable type characters made of metal, paper, oil-based ink - moveable type printing and paper introduced into Europe from China; paper was being made in Europe by 1189 - while most parts invented in China; however, many social, cultural and economic factors prevent the art of printing for publication: pictographic type of language; threat to scribes who had monopoly on writing - in contrast, European scribes few and costly; Gutenberg only needs 24 letters (no “j” or “u”) - first publication was Gutenberg Bible in 1450 - printing of indulgences help finance Church IV. Debating the Impact of the Printing Press on Society - The advent of the printing press led to a greater demand for books and other printed materials - between 1450-1500, 8M books sold in Europe - price of books also reduced: for triple the cost, a printer could produce thousands of copies as compared to a scribe who could produce only one - According to historian Elizabeth Eisenstein, the printing press brought about new era of “openness” and “accessibility” in science and technological information because: a. more information made available to larger audience b. rapid dissemination of information c. books decrease in price; more people can afford to own them and literacy rises d. tables and indexes allow reader greater control over reading material e. allows for comparing and contrasting similar texts 3 2009 © Vera Pavri f. this helps establish authority of natural philosophical texts (definitive and correct versions) g. illustrations more accurate; errors eliminated from traditional copying procedures h. printing and the spread of the Protestant Reformation (i.e. from 1517-20 almost 300000 copies of Martin Luther’s writings were sold) A. The Printing Press and the Spread of Scientific Information - Eisenstein: before printing press, scholars rarely questioned textual information; most of their time taken up with preserving, transmitting texts - With shift from script to print, scholars could spend more time reading and building upon older theories of knowledge rather than copying and memorizing texts - Scholars also had ability to compare and contrast a wide range of texts that were similar to those of their colleagues in other regions of the world; increased confidence in reliability of texts - Eisenstein argues that print changed nature of authorship: people realized their work would be recognized and preserved if made public - Example: Copernicus was able to come up with his heliocentric theory because he was freed from laborious tasks like copying tables and charts and thus had more time for reflecting; he was also supplied with more treatises, records and public tools - Impact of print on pictorial information: Eisenstein also contends that print changed way illustrations used and interpreted in science - Prior to print, difficult to reproduce pictures; images would become distorted over long periods of time - With print, illustrations could become standardized and used to augment scientific information - Eisenstein makes several good points: print did open up networks of feedback between scholars that had not been there before - Authors had wider audience than they ever had been exposed to - Many new printing houses provided readers with incentives to provide new knowledge - Rapid expansion of information to public allowed for some improvements in subsequent editions of book after readers able to give their input (especially true for reference co
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