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Who was the first scientist?

posted 9 Sep 2011, 04:03 by Jamie Condliffe   [ updated 9 Sep 2011, 04:06 ]


The word scientist only entered the English language in 1834, but since then there have been many excited attempts to name the first.

Predictably there is little agreement, but popular candidates, such as Galileo, Archimedes and even Pythagoras, displayed many of the qualities now deemed essential in modern science, and made long-lasting contributions to the field. But there were earlier thinkers and experimentalists who could equally lay claim to the title.

In The First Scientist, Carlo Rovelli argues that this place in history belongs to little-known Greek philosopher Anaximander. According to many accounts, Anaximander was the first to suggest that the Earth floats in space; to put forth the notion that all living creatures are descended from a common ancestor; and that - heaven forbid - meteorological occurrences were not the product of the gods.

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