Recuperating Medieval Science

Portrait of Robert Grosseteste from BL Royal MS 6.E.v, fol. 1r

It's easy to pidgeonhole medieval "science" as a mishmash of superstition and ignorance. (Alchemy? Astrology? Ptolematic cosmos?) But a team of physicists, Latinists, and philosophers at the University of Durham are suggesting otherwise. They've taken the scientific writings of Robert Grosseteste -- thirteenth-century English bishop and mathematical luminary -- and analyzed them through both medieval and contemporary understandings of science, and found that Grossetesete's methods and conclusions aren't that different from contemporary science's understanding of the universe. You can read the team's synopsis of their work in a 2014 edition of Nature or (if you're so inclined) the full scientific article.
Want more? Check out the team's Ordered Universe website.

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