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Heraclitus - Greek philosopher; first of the Greeks to develop a theory of the human soul; he praised its creative resources and spoke of the importance of self-exploration; he spoke of the logos that is common to all and said that the universe is ruled by logos; he always urged that close attention be given to the polarites and concealed structures emodied in language.
His famous claim that an idividual can and cannot step into the same river twice reveals an interest in criteria of unity and identity; even though all material constituents have undergone change, it is still, in a sence, the same river.
One legend, which forms the basis of Matthew Arnold's poem Empedocles on Etna, held the Empedocles, tired of life and wanting people to believe that the gods had taken him with them, committed suicide by leaping into the crater of Mt. Socrates - Greek philosopher; emphasized the study of human nature in relationship to society; influence the growth of science through standards for clear definitions and classifications, for logic and order, and for prudent skepticism.
Democritus of Abdera - Greek philosopher; pupil of Leucippus; developed atomic theory; elaborated idea that matter consisted of atoms having physical size and shape which constantly moved in a void and interacted in different ways; Greek word atoma means indivisible.
Love and hate were considered principles of attraction and repulsion that alternately dominated the universe in a recurring cycle.
Empedocles presented a kind of biological theory of natural selection in an imaginative poem, On Nature.
Nicholas Copernicus - Polish astronomer; regarded the founder of modern astronomy. He studied mathematics and optics at Cracow, then canon law at Bologna, before becoming canon of Frombork.Copernicus discovered the mathematically yet unproven heliocentric solar system.In his treatise, 'On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres' he postulated that the planets, including the earth, revolve around the sun, and that the earth revolved around its axis once every day.The work had a hostile reception when it was published (1543), as it challenged the ancient teaching of the Earth as the centre of the universe.In the 1600' Galileo and Kepler began to develop the physics that would prove Copernicus right.
Issac Newton - English mathematician and scientist; developed theory of matter; first to demonstrate the color components of white light with a prism and the reconstruction of these colors into white light with a second prism; researched the optical characteristics of chemical substances; studied gravitation and motion; developed the law of gravitation.