Intro to History of Science: Crash Course History of Science #1

Hello, and welcome to our new series—Crash
Course: History of Science. My name is Hank Green, and I’ve wanted to
produce this course for years. I’m obsessed with how people throughout
the ages have uncovered truths about the universe and converted these into a wealth of technological
wonders. This process has decreased the suffering of
millions of humans—even as it’s sparked entirely new problems. Regardless of the outcomes of scientific inquiry,
the process itself is fascinating. The world you inhabit today is full of gadgets
that once belonged to science fiction. We can model what the earth looked like millions
of years ago, or zoom in and observe the atoms that make up our own bodies. We are going to tell that inspiring story:
we’ll be thinking about thinking with Aristotle, digging canals in Song Dynasty China, listening to robot musicians in medieval Turkey, fighting an electrical war in New York City, and discovering the shape of DNA in Cold War
England. But the history of science is not only a story
of humanity’s collective movement from ignorance to knowledge, for two different reasons. First, as much as scientists today may not
like to admit it, we are still pretty ignorant… And we don’t agree on what it would mean
to reach the ultimate Truth, capital T. Take a big question that we’ve been asking for a long time like “what is stuff”: While modern physicists will tell you that stuff is made of atoms, and atoms are made
of quarks and leptons, we still don’t know why quarks exist. Or why there appears to be far more matter
in the universe than we can account for. Even something as basic as “stuff” needs
a lot more sciencing! Second, and more importantly for historians,
“science” isn’t a stable or single idea. That’s why, in this episode, we’re going
to be thinking about some ways to answer a deceptively simple question: what is the history of science the history
of? [intro music plays] Today, “science” can mean both our body
of knowledge about the world as well as the methods we use to create that knowledge, or
how we know the stuff that we know. Within that “how,” there are two main
practices—things that we do—that systematically generate knowledge: One: observe some specific aspect of the world. For example, Darwin spent decades obsessively
observing the subtle variations in different kinds of barnacles, orchids, turtles, birds,
and other living things. This led him to theorize how they had changed
over time. My dude loved barnacles! Two: conduct an experiment to answer some
question about the world. Did Galileo drop two metal balls of different
masses from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to show that they fall at the same rate and disprove
Aristotle’s theory of gravity? Probably not. But Dutch thinkers Simon Stevin and Jan Cornets
de Groot did conduct that experiment soon after. Today, we have much bigger “towers” for
testing theories in physics: the Large Hadron Collider is seventeen miles long! Finally, when I said systematically, I meant
that there are rules about observing or experimenting—rules that anyone can follow. That notion of anyone being able to be a scientist
is super important. In fact, a lot of contemporary scientists
have three Latin words tattooed on their arms: “NULLIUS IN VERBA”—“on no one’s
word…” Let’s explore this phrase because it’s important. In this series, The Thoughtbubble is going
to bring to life different wonders from the history of science. Today, our wonder is pretty abstract: the
wonder of the reproducible experiment. “NULLIUS IN VERBA” is the motto of the
Royal Society. This group of knowledge-makers was founded
in 1660 as a “College for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematical Experimental Learning”
and re-founded in 1663 as “the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge.” And it’s still around today! The Society was started as a place to debate
new ideas about nature. Its members demonstrated experiments in front
of each other—“witnessing” the proofs behind their theories. They wrote up these theories in the Society’s
Philosophical Transactions, one of the world’s oldest peer-reviewed scientific journals. Influenced by Francis Bacon’s ideas, which
would eventually become associated with the “scientific method,” the founding members
of the Royal Society chose a motto with an unambiguous meaning: don’t believe something just because someone
tells you it’s true. Test out each new hypothesis, or educated
guess, yourself. In other words: your individual proof of how
some natural phenomenon works should be something that anyone can reproduce. This idea had an enormous impact on the history
of science. Later members of the Royal Society included
stars such as Ike Newton, Ben Franklin, Mike Faraday, Chuck Darwin, and even Big Al Einstein,
who was about as British as sauerkraut. In fact—plot twist!—the early scientists
who adopted the creed “NULLIUS IN VERBA” were not actually “scientists.” They were well-off alchemists and medical doctors, and they called themselves Natural Philosophers. Or, “People who loved truths concerning the world around them.” Natural philosophy in seventeenth-century
England was sort of like the contemporary natural sciences mashed up with medicine,
mathematics, some philosophy–philosophy, and a whiff of religion. The word “scientist” was only coined recently,
in historical terms, in the 1830s, and caught on around 1840. It was made up by an English scientist named
William Whewell who was also a historian of science and a priest. So if we only cared about the history of people
called “scientists,” our job would be easy: there aren’t any until around 1840! And most people called scientists, or natural
philosophers, looked suspiciously similar to one another. Take the Royal Society: its members have been,
until recently, almost exclusively rich English men. Even though their ranks have included many
incredibly clever scientists, they haven’t represented anything like all knowledge makers. The sixty-second President of the Royal Society,
biophysicist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, is the group’s first non-white leader. And there has never been a female President. But the history of systematically knowing
stuff goes back much further than the Royal Society and includes more types of people
than English blokes. Thus “science” is a historical and social
concept—not one that’s existed forever, in the same way for all people. Because the history of science includes many
systems of understanding the world, we have to consider these systems on their own terms. It may seem simpler to focus on the “winners”
of history. But hearing only the big Euroamerican names—Plato,
Einstein—doesn’t teach us as much about our global system of science today. Taking the time to highlight different knowledge
worlds will help us see our own as relatively recent, not entirely unified, and evolving. For example, we’ll learn about the Greco-Latin-Jewish-Arabic
medicine of the medieval Mediterranean world, millennia of ayurvedic knowledge across the Subcontinent, traditional Chinese medicine,
and Incan “talking knots” and engineering—just to name a few. Each of these systems has its own social norms
about what count as valid ways to make and share knowledge. We’ll look at modern scientific norms in
a later episode. And each of these can help us see the “otherness”
of these past or different cultures as not so other, after all. We can see natural philosophers and other
proto-scientists as smart people making sense of their world, not as “bad” scientists. They understood the world around them in the
smartest way they could. For example, according to medieval Mediterranean
medicine, the organ in my head was for venting waste heat, not thinking. People in the past weren’t stupid: they
knew that if your head was chopped off, that was curtains for you. They just weren’t sure what all this weird
gray stuff did. Even today—though we can see a neuron fire
in high-resolution—we struggle to understand what really goes on when it fires, that is,
the role a single neuron plays in thinking… much less answer the question, what is consciousness. The history of science really gets even juicier
when incremental, nagging questions about the natural world add up and cause a scientific
discipline, or an entire society, to change in a “revolutionary” way. Later in the series, we’ll look at moments
of revolution within the sciences alongside philosophers such as Thomas Kuhn and Michel
Foucault, who… did not always agree. They show that science isn’t only historical
and social, but constructs entire worlds of knowledge in which we all find ourselves trapped. But don’t worry about that just yet. By learning the history of science, we will
automatically start to think about our own knowledge world as historical—not finished,
not capital-E enlightened. Around the world, humans are still actively
working to understand our universe… but they don’t all agree on how to do it. We may be able to make more accurate models
of natural phenomena… but we may never find the ultimate answers we seek. At its limit, the history of science touches
on the study of religion: the diverse and changing nature of the never-ending human
search for Truth, capital T. Our path through past knowledge worlds is
going to be a beautiful and powerful one. There are many, many marvelous insights to
celebrate. To help us keep our footing as we jump across
centuries and continents, we’re going to keep our eyes on five big questions. Questions that, to this day, we do not have
complete answers to. First: what is stuff? From atoms to dark matter to spacetime: what
are things made of? “Things,” by the way, includes air, fire,
and outer space: if you think I’m going to sit here and not
celebrate the death of phlogiston with you, you’re sorely mistaken! Number two: what is Life? What’s the simplest way to define living
things? Are viruses alive? Is the earth alive? Where did life come from? Where did current organisms come from? How do we understand their interactions with
each other and their world? Three: where are we? What is this place, the earth? What is its place in the cosmos? Is this the only universe? Four: when are we? More questions of scale: how long have we
been around? What about living things? What about the whole universe? What came before that? And five: how can we agree on what we know? And how can I convince more people that the
stuff I know is accurate? For example, how can I show anti-vaccers that
vaccines are necessary!? Regarding technology, how should we talk about
what to do what our knowledge? All of these questions have been considered
by people as far back as records exist. They also remain active areas of study today. But the last theme is so important that it
gets its the final section. Humans have always tried to describe the world,
for lots of reasons: in part because it’s fascinating (“magnets—how do they work!?”),
and in part to control it. Knowledge, as they told us in grade school,
really is power! The power that knowing stuff gives the knower
is exactly why we should study the history of science. Thus one goal of this course is to highlight how the values (beliefs about right and wrong) and ethics (acceptable behaviors) of scientists and engineers shape our world. And how, conversely, sciences and technologies are shaped by the societies that produce them. We have a responsibility as citizens to understand and to act accordingly. Our world today looks radically dissimilar
to that of three hundred years ago. To quote Andy Weir, we’ve “scienced”
the heck out of it. We learned about stuff, made new technologies,
and are currently scrambling to learn new stuff to solve the problems that our old technologies
created. Facing an utterly unprecedented total ecological
catastrophe, we may need to “science” it even more, in one way or another. We’ll talk more about this in future episodes. Learning the history of science can help shine
a light on this dark future. Next time—pack your spanakopita: we’re
heading to ancient Greece to invent natural philosophy with the Presocratics. Until then, this has been—“on no one’s
word”—Crash Course: History of Science! Crash Course History of Science is filmed
in the Dr. Cheryl C. Kinney Studio in Missoula, MT and It’s made with the help of all of
these nice people. And our animation team is Thought Cafe. Crash Course is a Complexly production. If you want to keep imagining the world complexly
with us, check out some of our other channels like Sexplanations, How To Adult, and Healthcare
Triage. If you’d like to keep Crash Course free for
everyone, forever, you can support the series at Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows
you to support the content you love. Thank you to all of our patrons for making
Crash Course possible with their continued support.

Comments 100

  • good episode, have to take into account the Incas´ engineering as a previous knowledge of science!!!…

  • Ive been wanting this course all my life and i didnt know until now 🤓

  • Please translated the videos of this channel to arabic language

  • If you want to convince anti vaxxers, don't abandon science when you're talking about vaccines. Remain skeptical. Don't just take someones word on it. Forget the rhetoric, the fear mongering and the condescension. Stick to science.

  • Question – Are you going to cover the social sciences (political science, economics, psychology, etc) or are you just sticking with the natural sciences? It might have been helpful to people to have described the distinctions between the main divisions in science (that is, natural, social, and formal) in this intro video.

  • Who here wants CrashCourse: Continental Philosophy – German Idealism, Phenomenology, Existentialism, Poststructuralism and Postmodernism? 😁

  • 0:22 "decreased suffering" he says. To me, that sounds like words of (or similar to) Buddha. I think part of The 8 Fold Path or something. Haha I'm no Buddhist, but I think decreasing suffering for those around you in itself decreases suffering for yourself as well. Just another reason to strive to be a good person as well as be a benefit to society whether it be by innovation and creation or love and forgiveness. It all helps make the world a little nicer for everyone.

  • Please translated this video to arabic language

  • Sir plz makes a crash course on😄😃😃 world geography

  • ''By the way we're so sorry all these guys are white, really, such a bummer, we'll diversify it in upcoming episodes,''

  • Are you john greens brother?

  • Does this mean that the Higg's boson doesn't exist because I can't reproduce the experiment?

  • You wrote a name of Al-Khwarismi in bizzare way. If you add IBN after Muhammad you should add the name of his father, because IBN literally means "the son of"

  • I love hank,the guy is really cooooooool

  • Really excited about watching this! I'm so excited to see crash course evolve from just a study aid to something that explores interesting things just for the sake of it. Both are important, of course; crash course biology helped me tons in high school. Still, I'm excited to get a bit more of a nuanced view of science as I get close to finishing my degree in biochemistry.

  • 27 videos in 7 months: fantastic.

  • One like is not enough

  • What is life?

    I have no idea…..


  • amazing video dude!!! can't wait for the series 😀

  • Was that a Shaggy2Dope Ref ? lol Magnets how do they work lol

  • Are you related to John Greene from CC World History???

  • Ibn al Haitham was the father of the scientific method

  • youre BACK❤❤🙌🙌😁

  • Tuesday I signed up for Patreon to support this channel. This. Is. Why. 🙌🏾


  • If only someone would write a song about quarks and leptons…

  • oxygen is phlogiston

  • Well, natural philosophy was what is science today, the study of the fundamental working of the natural world. Keep it up guys, this show is sick. (Sick in a good way, that is.)

  • Sir, I think you should study English translation of Holy Quran. Hopefully all your questions will be answered

  • I hope your all video have sub indo

  • I love the new show but Hank still talks way to fast

  • Shout out to Wythe Marshall!

  • When you talk (very fast) about other channels under the same umbrella, it would be utterly awesome if you could include links to those channels. I'm not even sure what they all are. But you are great, and I'm looking forward to viewing all these programmes

  • 8:37 The most charitable definition for religion I ever did see !

  • Wow, the level of depth and complexity in this intro, as a physicist myself, was found to be intellectually satisfying. Subscribed.

  • It´s the history of "wtf!???".

  • Oh no is phlogiston dead? I heard there may be a newfangled thing, something like ox-ee-geyn talked about but I don't really believe in that. 🙂

  • I'm also a little obsessed with the notion of truth , Mr Hank.

  • @5:40 ok say that 5 times fast tho

  • Translate to the Arabic language please

  • This gave me a new outlook on science, but could you do a video on the African Science origins?

  • It is all about the journey

  • The editing was too tight. Please allow slight pauses between each sentence and take. When faced with rapid fire speech by a naturally fast talking person, we find we have no time to think about what’s said. It’s just bang, bang, bang and one’s brain switches off thinking. It’s off putting. It reminds me of radio or television commercials were the goal is not to think, but rather propaganda to be a consumer. Intelligent people want time to connect dots in their mind about how your information fits in with their knowledge base, or fills in identified gaps. Less speed talking and more graphics with more natural editing will improve this series. I turned it off after a couple of minutes….. it’s like a mental assault. Just not natural or normal to present this way.

  • I'm dying to see the epistemology episode 😍

  • Again we said translate into the Arabic language please

  • I am a simple man, I have to leave a word. What a fine day for science!!!

  • Judging from the title and introduction, this might just be the series I've been looking for!
    Learning about the world around us is fascinating and it's amazing how certain great discoveries were made merely by accident!

  • I'm about to start binge-watching this, but this introduction alone got me so excited as I haven't felt in a very long time!

  • magnets? How do they work? I 'm pretty sure it involves Magic and miracles.

  • Wow!!!! I gotta take down my hat to these Brothers. (John and Hank Green). Y'all are really smart.

    By the way, it was a great idea to make such an awesome series.

  • that seems true look forward to doing it with ME

  • History of the philosophy of science !

  • 👋👍

  • honestly, ima just throw a bible at the questions and call them answered. Because I really don't want to hear about how we all fit in as one tiny speck in a universe that is by nature, uncaring and despondent.

  • "What is stuff?" is an Metaphysical (Epistemological) question, meaning it escapes Science and Physics, meaning the scientific method will never arrive Truth with capital T. It's awesome for everything else though.

  • 'Magnets. How do they work?'

  • You can just feel Hank's passion right through the screen, like the heat from a bunsen burner. I love you Hank 🙂 <3

  • This is *amazing*!

  • 9:22 That question was already answered in July 14, 2010, in adventure time episode 15.

  • Brilliant , what an Awesome series.

  • Philosophy Philosophy?

  • I just achieved my dream for learning here
    I love the idea very much
    From iraq love you keep going with amazing lessons 🇮🇶

  • The 62th president memeber of the royal academy was the first non white leader no kiding it's england it's in europe not in jamaica.

  • One more question you should add to that master list, "how are we"

  • In response to the question, how do you get people to know that vaccines are safe, the main issues that I have encountered in the vaccine debate is that:
    1. there is no accountability on the part of the manufacturers (they are no able to be litigated for wrong doing in US other western nations);
    2. the statement that "vaccines are safe" is a broad generalization in the face of an ever changing industry that has made mistakes and caused harm to huge populations of people. The general statement that "vaccines are safe" is to say every vaccine that is, was and ever will be cannot cause harm, that is simply not true. Unless "safe" has a different meaning;
    3. Vaccines listed on vaccine schedule result in a increase in stock price and therefore there is a large financial motivation to get them on the schedule; and
    4. There have been no major studies showing the effect of multiple vaccines on the developing body or mind. Studies that have been done comparing un-vaccinated vs vaccinated children have shown reduction in issues such as allergies, asthma, behavioural disorders and alike.

    Now lets watch how many people label me an anti-vax moron for simply raising the issues…

  • Honestly, I was looking forward to watching these series yet I cannot stand this overlapping speech editing thing. It's a shame really.

  • Wuhoooooooo!!!!!!! I loves this stuff. Infinite Kudos to CrashCourse & the Guy with the Brown Eye Glasses.

  • This is a great course/series! Thanks for doing this.

  • "at it's limit, the history of science touches on the study of religion: the diverse and changing nature of the never ending human search for truth"
    well that is a poor and wrong statement, i mean even if you know little of either science or any of the religions

  • this guy pulled more weight than highschool teachers

  • What about Islamic philosophers' contributions in history of Science.

  • This is amazing. They deserve a like.

  • Haank please also do Forensic Scienceee!

  • Like this approach 🙂

  • Oh my gosh. Is that wally?

  • Why do you sound like Rick Sanchez?

  • الترجمه للعربيه ارجوكم

  • came to this a couple months after it finished and now that im seeing episode 1 im almost dissapointed that this video never turned into exurb1a video lol

  • Would this be appropriate for 6th graders?

  • good stuff. i appreciate the emphasis on how information is power and can be misused. I think you missed something though at 4:40… Einstein renounced german citizenship in 1896, he should be waving an american flag actually or a swiss one.

  • Does anyone else find their narrative in going about the history of science problematic? Given the results of quantum mechanics what science reveals about the world is correlations among spacetime events, not some hidden truth beyond appearances. Because it is thought otherwise, their history of science seems to be the development of different, equally valid yet incommensurable , knowledge systems, that develop more or less discontinuously. And then they mention that the aim of religion is BIG T as well, further reinforcing the common misconception that science and religion are at odds with each other. I await to watch further episodes to see how they do in fact develop the history of science. It is important though to keep in mind that science is a set of culturally invariant propositions (and therefore incommensurability is nonsense) and that religion belongs in the subset of the social and psychological sciences, the purpose of which is to bring every individual to achieve their final end as psychological creatures, in a way that is ecologically sustainable.

  • more vedic please, a plethora of science

  • The Marxist view of science is unscientific. There were no revolutions in science, and science is not a social construct.

  • Ok trey parker & barack obama youre "roman " bro… enjoying that time i bought you? Am i ur babymomma for not taxing you? I suppose i do have the vote now…

  • What is life? Psh. What is love???

  • when did the dutch invent thier famous oven that my wife enjoys daily.?

  • If I tell you the source which answer all your five questions will you believe me???
    My guide, my light, my source, my path, my book is """QUR'AN """ .
    Yes I am satisfied by the guidance 😊 of my religion """"ISLAM"""" .
    But you have to open up your heart and soul first and be neutral then you can find the "" capital T for truth. Yes you can find it if you have the intention of knowing 😅.
    I am not convincing you neither am I promoting my religion I am helping you do study and research and read, read it yourself if you find it then have it or else leave it.
    Be happy in your life and save your self from darkness of ignorance.

  • I could not explain but am gratitude to the Science and Technology. May God bless all of us. Thanks and kind regards.

  • can you make a video on the nature of science

  • I am really enjoying your videos, keep moving forward. Well-done, guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • this video is really awesome. I'm looking forward to the next episode.

  • "Magnets, how do they work?"

    I see that ICP meme reference you slipped in there!

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