Scholastic approach to the knowledge of the surrounding world was not shared by all medieval scientists. After all, scholasticism called for believing authorities and learning the world through the book. Since the XIII century, there has been a deep interest in the study of nature and its phenomena.
One of the first to insist on the necessity of an experimental study of nature was the professor of Oxford University, a Franciscan monk, Roger Bacon.
For contemporaries he was a mysterious person, and some even considered him a magician. He spent days and nights in his cell in the monastery tower. Not for one year R. Bacon conducted chemical experiments, tried to construct a microscope and a telescope. He first explained the appearance of the rainbow after the rain, substantiated the need for obtaining knowledge through experiments and mathematical calculations. The astonishment of Bacon is surprising: he was convinced that it is possible to create self-propelled ships and carts, flying and underwater vehicles,
Roger Bacon was convinced that there are three sources of knowledge: authority, reason and experience. Authority is not enough if it is not supported by evidence. But the mind needs to confirm its conclusions by experience.
The teaching of the English thinker contributed to the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge. Numerous envious persons accused Bacon of having links with evil spirits. The scientist was imprisoned in a monastery,
XIII century. From the works of Roger Bacon
All sciences are interconnected and mutually supportive: the success of one helps all others, like the eye, for example, guides the movement of the whole body…
Mathematics is mistakenly considered a science difficult, and sometimes even suspicious – only because it had the misfortune to be the unknowable fathers of the church. But how important it is, how useful it is!
… You can build devices for swimming without rowers so that the largest ships, sea and river, are set in motion by the force of one person, moving, moreover, at a much higher speed than if they were full of oarsmen. It is also possible to make carts without any harness, which will be able to roll at an incredible speed; flying machines, sitting in which, a person can operate wings that cut through the air, like birds.
The desire for knowledge captured European society: in the Sicilian kingdom, philosophical works and works on natural sciences of Greek and Arab authors were actively translated; in the medical school in Salerno studied, described and tested the medicinal properties of plants, investigated poisons and antidotes.
Medieval alchemists investigated the natural properties of substances. Their main task was to search for a “philosopher’s stone” capable of turning ordinary metals into gold. In the process of his search, the characteristics of individual compounds and alloys were studied. Instruments for conducting experiments were created and improved.
Expanded and geographical representation of Europeans. Back in the XIII century. The brothers Vivaldi from Genoa tried to circle the west coast of Africa. And Venetian Marco Polo, as is known, carried out a long-term journey to Central Asia and China, as detailed and vividly written in his “Book”. In the XIV-XV centuries. there are descriptions of different lands made by travelers. Maps were substantially improved, geographic atlases were compiled. All this was of great importance for the preparation of the Great Geographical Discoveries.