Faculty forum to address Scientific Revolution myths

February 9, 2016
Dr. Nancy Turner
Dr. Adam Stanley

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s College of Liberal Arts and Education will present a faculty forum, “Five Myths about the Scientific Revolution,” on Thursday, March 3, in Room 136 Doudna Hall from 5-6:30 p.m. The forum is free and open to university students, faculty, staff and community members.

At the forum, Dr. Nancy Turner, professor of history at UW-Platteville, will discuss five myths concerning people and ideas associated with the Scientific Revolution. The Scientific Revolution is generally considered to have begun in 1543 with Nicholas Copernicus’s publication of his transformative scientific work placing the Sun in the middle of the universe and to have ended its most dynamic phase in 1727 with the death of Isaac Newton.

The lecture will cover several of the topics in a book Turner is working on, titled “Seven Myths of the Scientific Revolution,” part of a series of “Seven Myths” books being published by Hackett Publishing Company Inc.

Turner will discuss five common misperceptions 21st-century people often have about the people and events of the Scientific Revolution, such as: 16th-century popes’ condemnation (or lack thereof) of Copernicus’s sun-centered universe; the (supposed) disdain thinkers behind the Scientific Revolution held for the medieval interest in magic; the influence the Protestant Reformation had upon the spread of new scientific ideas; the “core” goals pursued by the practitioners of alchemy; and the many new discoveries in medicine and biology that occurred alongside new theories in astronomy and physics.

“Dispelling the false beliefs many people have about the breakthroughs and thinkers associated with this dynamic period in western science can help people come to a better understanding of the impact of social and cultural events, mysticism, and creative thought upon the scientific discoveries of the 16th and 17th centuries as well as the scientific discoveries of today,” said Turner.

Following Turner’s discussion, Dr. Adam Stanley, associate professor of history at UW-Platteville, will respond.

The LAE Faculty Forum Series, a program instituted in the fall of 2004, is sponsored by UW-Platteville’s College of LAE. The purpose of the forum is to allow faculty to present information in their research areas to university faculty, staff, students and community members. Presenters tailor their presentations to a general audience.

As UW-Platteville pursues its vision of being recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities and empowering each individual, it is guided by four strategic planning priorities. The LAE Faculty Forum Series aligns with three of the priorities, including providing an outstanding education, fostering a community of achievement and respect and enriching the tri-states.

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu


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