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Science and Medicine in the Elizabethan Era
Transcript of Science and Medicine in the Elizabethan Era
Rohan Hattangady & Nathan Yu
The Elizabethan Era brought upon many strange beliefs and practices into medicine. Many of the sicknesses that occurred came from poor sanitary conditions. The sicknesses included the bubonic plague, typhoid, and many other modern diseases. These diseases brought about techniques that were thought to help. These included leeches sucking blood, which supposedly cleansed the bloodstream.
The doctors of the Elizabethan Era were very different then those of today. The doctors often wore full body robes, and they covered all of their bare skin. The physicians all wore masks, which actually prevented them from acquiring diseases.
The "Black Death"
The Black Death was a disease that devestated all of Europe. It was a virus that had symptoms related to Ebola. The disease was supposedly caused by fleas and rats that carried the plague. Shakespeare himself, was very frightened by the thought of contacting it.
Despite the Black Plague, and its devastating effects, many scientists continued to study and make progression in several fields. At this time, astronomy, or the study of stars was a famous topic of interest. Nicolaus Copernicus was a famous Renaissance astronomer who was known for his studies of heliocentrism. This is the study of how the planets rotate around the sun. Copernicus was a genius, as he not only made advances in the field of astronomy. In addition to being an astronomer, he was also a mathematician, physician, economist, and even a military leader. Even though Nicolaus grew up in a relatively poor family, he managed to study hard, and earn money at an early age. It was a tradedy when he passed away on May 24, 1543. Nicolaus Copernicus was truely an inspiration to everyone living during this era, however his name has faded away now, covered by other scientists such as Galileo.
Gallileo Galilei is another famous scientist and he is one of the most highly renowned scientists of all time. You probably have heard his name, however you may not be aware of his achievements and accomplishments. Galileo was most famous for his work as an astronomer, however just like Copernicus, he was also a physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher. His most famous achievement was discovering the phases of Venus. These phases are the different changes in which the planet appears to be shadowed. This occurs because Venus is inside the Earth's rotation around the sun. The fact these phases exist proved heliocentrism. In addition to proving the phases of Venus, he also was one of the first astronomers to use telescopic observational astronomy. In other words, he was one of the first to use a telescope. Although we take for granted that which we already have, this scientific information proved what many modern astronomers use today. It is important for each one of us to learn our history so we can apply it to our lives.
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Despite the hardships that people faced, whether it was diseases or financial reasons, the people of the Elizabethan times were still able to make great advances in the field of science. During this era, doctors experimented with strange, and often painful medical techniques such as leeches. The fact that these people dealt with these terrible diseases gave opportunities to create stronger and better medicines. The people of this time were also fascinated with astronomy as this was the first time people spent a great deal of time studying the sky. Nicolaus Copernicus was an extraordanary man of this time. He created the base ideas that Galileo built upon. This included the idea of heliocentrism, or that all the planets rotate around the sun. Once Copernicus died in 1543, Galileo carried on his legacy. He further studied the solar system, and he studied plants deeper and more closely than anyone ever before. He began using more powerful telescopes and witnessed the phases of Venus, as well as the satellites surrounding Mars. He had the opportunity to study the sun. He even found out about sunspots, or dark areas on the sun which have extremely high magnetic activity. As you have read, you can see that the Elizabethan era was a very important time in science in medicine. Many of our modern beliefs and ideas have branched from this important time.