THE 17TH CENTURY is seen as the most propitious era for scientific intervention. The period is often described as the century of genius, for most scientific leaps began in this era and continued well into the 18th century, only to be regrouped retrospectively in the early part of the 20th century. The invention of the telescope, the thermometer, and the barometer benefitted those countries at war. In addition, however, the scientific and philosophical interests that emerged at the time also stimulated productive thoughts and aspirations that were expressed in the latter part of the century. The period, thus, was marked by a very successful scientific revolution.

In France, Western Europe, and England, the period between Galileo's first publications and Newton's Principia was characterized by changes that ...

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