Renaissance and Scientific Revolution

  • J. S. Rao
Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS, volume 20)


Technology has been traditionally the realm of craftsmen working by rough rules of trial and error. The existing knowledge base was a mass of confusion in the absence of a unified understanding of the behavioral motion of solids and fluids [7, 31, 35]. The man of knowledge was a natural philosopher rather than a scientist.

The reawakening of scientific thought was brought about during the Renaissance Period (1400-1600) and carried into the period of the scientific revolution. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) has recently been credited for some fundamental contributions to solid mechanics, fluid mechanics and mechanical design much before the scientific revolution. His contributions appear in Codex Madrid I, one of two remarkable notebooks that were discovered in 1967 in the National Library of Spain (Madrid), after being misplaced for nearly 500 years, see [1, 45]. He correctly concluded that, in bending of beams due to transverse loads, plane cross-sections remain plane before and after bending and rotate as shown in Figure 5.1. Da Vinci lacked Hooke’s law and calculus to complete the theory; we had to wait for Galileo to improve this further before Euler and Bernoulli formed correct equations for simple bending.


Beam Theory Scientific Revolution Natural Philosopher Bernoulli Model Bernoulli Beam Theory 
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