One of the things I used to think was that the scientific revolution in the 16th and 17th centuries was a revolution of method, that before that period the scientific method either didn’t exist or was not yet complete. But I realized last year that the revolution was really more of an acceleration of progress brought in by a new invention: the printing press.
There were scientists before the printing press, but proliferation of ideas was much slower and haphazard, so progress was far slower. This article at Science News looks at a few of those scientists from the 13th century.
Everybody knows that the Scientific Revolution began in the 16th century, when Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo (plus some philosophical input from Francis Bacon) revived the long dormant Greek love for knowledge about nature. But in fact the seeds of that revolution had been planted three centuries earlier, when a handful of thinkers, most of them religious scholars, began contemplating rational explanations for worldly phenomena.