History of physics

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As forms of science historically developed out of philosophy, physics (from Greek: φύσις physis "nature") was originally referred to as natural philosophy, a term describing a field of study concerned with "the workings of nature".


Early History

Elements of what became physics were drawn primarily from the fields of astronomy, optics, and mechanics, which were methodologically united through the study of geometry. These mathematical disciplines began in Antiquity with the Babylonians and with Hellenistic writers such as Archimedes and Ptolemy. Meanwhile, philosophy, including what was called “physics”, focused on explanatory (rather than descriptive) schemes, largely developed around the Aristotelian idea of the four types of “causes”.

The move towards a rational understanding of nature began at least since the Archaic Period in Greece (650 BCE – 480 BCE) with the Pre-Socratic philosophers. The philosopher Thales (7th and 6 centuries BCE), dubbed "the Father of Science" for refusing to accept various supernatural, religious or mythological explanations for natural phenomena, proclaimed that every event had a natural cause.[1] Leucippus (first half of 5th century BCE), developed the theory of atomism – the idea that everything is composed entirely of various imperishable, indivisible elements called atoms. This was elaborated in great detail by Democritus.

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