Science in Ancient Greece was based on logical thinking and mathematics. It was also based on technology and everyday life. The arts in Ancient Greece were sculptors and painters. The Greeks wanted to know more about the world, the heavens and themselves. People studied about the sky, sun, moon, and the planets. The Greeks found that the earth was round.
Eratosthenes of Alexandria, who died about 194 BC, wrote on astronomy and geography, but his work is known mainly from later summaries. He is credited with being the first person to measure the Earth's circumference.
Greek influence on agriculture was the establishment of the science of botany. Botany is the study of all aspects of plant life, including where plants live and how they grow. The Greek philosopher Aristotle, who lived during the 300's BC, collected information about most of the plants known at that time in the world. He also studied other sciences and math.
His student Theophrastus classified and named these plants. Theophrastus often called the father of botany. Aristotle and Theophrastus developed an extremely important type of science that is studied all over the world. Botany is so important because all the food that animals and people eat comes from plants, whether it be directly or indirectly.
Earth science is the study of the earth and its origin and development. It deals with the physical makeup and structure of the Earth. The most extensive fields of Earth science, geology, has an ancient history.
Ancient Greek philosophers proposed many theories to account for the from and origin of the Earth. Eratosthenes, a scientist of ancient Greece, made the first accurate measurement of the Earth's diameter. The ancient Greek philosophers were amazed by volcanoes and earthquakes. They made many attempts to explain them, but most of these attempts to explain these phenomena sound very strange to most people today. For example, Aristotle, speculated that earthquakes resulted from winds within the Earth caused by the Earth's own heat and heat from the sun. Volcanoes, he thought, marked the points at which these winds finally escaped from inside the Earth into the atmosphere.
Earth science allows us to locate metal and mineral deposits. Earth scientists study fossils. This helps provide information about evolution and the development of the earth. Earth science helps in locating fossil fuels, such as oil. These fuels compose a major part of the world economy. The Greeks came up with the idea of earth science, and most importantly laid the foundation for the scientists who lived hundreds of years after their time.
Public works were one of the greatest influences in Ancient Greece. They helped boost the economy, and acted as an art form, and they also led to a more sanitary life style. The system of planning the public works was invented by Hippodamus of Miletus, and was admired throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Cities were built according to this scheme and old towns were reconstructed to fit this system. The Greeks were proud of the establishment of the public works and spent a lot of money on it.
There were many ways to bring water into the city for people to use. Many great thinkers such as Archimedes, Hero, and Eupalinus discovered extraordinary ways to draw water more economically to the cities of Greece. Of all the many different inventions, there were three major inventions that made important contributions to the water supply of Greece.
The three inventions are:
The slaves who had the responsibility of cleaning and repairing all of the public utilities. The more progressive cities had drains under the street that carried both fresh water and sewage. At times these slaves were used to watch over the fountains so that no one did their laundry or bathed in it. They also had to make sure that money thrown into the fountain for luck was not stolen by anyone.
Most of the public water-supply was used for public buildings, such as baths and street fountains. For example, in Alexandria, in Egypt, each house had a personal cistern for their own water for their own use. The slaves also had to clean these cisterns. These private owners of cisterns and users of water had to pay a water rate to the city. It is sort of like the first public utilities company.
All living things were the basic concern of biology. Greek biologists were interested in how living things began, how they developed, how they functioned, and where they were found. These sorts of questions that ran through the biologists' minds are exactly how they began to discover the basics of life. At such an early time, about 300 B.C., science was just beginning to enter the minds of the Greeks. Aristotle, a Greek biologist, made contributions of his own to science. However, around 300 B.C. there was much more to be discovered, which enabled other scientists to add knowledge to the discoveries of Aristotle, during and after his time.
Natural Selection is the manner in which species evolve to fit their environment - "survival of the fittest." Those individuals best suited to the local environment leave the most offspring, transmitting their genes in the process. This natural selection results in adaptation, the accumulation of the genetic variations that are favored by the environment.
Many Greek scientists thought about natural selection and the origin of life. Anaximander believed that marine life was the first life on Earth and that changes happened to animals when they moved to dry land. Empedocles had the idea of chance combinations of organs arising and dying out because of their lack of adaptation. Aristotle, a Greek philosopher who contributed many works in the sciences, believed that there is purpose in the workings of nature, and mistakes are also made. He thought that nature working so perfectly is a necessity.
Aristotle believed that nature is everything in the environment, like the sky rains, and the plants grow from the sun. Aristotle's theory fits very well with natural selection.
Natural selection makes it necessary for animals and nature fit perfectly - 'survival of the fittest'. If they didn't, then that specific organism would die out, weeding out the characteristics that were unfit for that environment.
That same organism's species might evolve over time and acquire adaptations suitable for the environment, so that newly evolved species can survive and flourish with offspring.
Lucretius, who lived about 50 AD in Rome, believed that evolution was based on chance combinations; heredity and sexual reproduction entered only after earth itself had developed. Then with the organism developing characteristics that might make for survival in the environment, the organisms that don't have favorable characteristics are incapable of survival and disappear. These ideas from Greek scientists are all theories, of course, but the fossil evidence suggests that species evolved over time.