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Quantifying the Scientific Revolution

Abstract : The Scientific Revolution is one of the most important phenomena in human history. Yet it is ill understood, partly because of a lack of quantification. Here, we leverage large datasets of individual biographies to build national estimates of scientific production during the early modern period. While aggregate levels of national production are unsurprising, per capita estimates reveal striking differences across countries, with the two richest countries of the time (England and the United Provinces) being much more scientifically productive than the rest of Europe. Overall, our study demonstrates a strong association between scientific creativity and per capita income. We also show that scientific creativity is associated with other kinds of creative activities in philosophy, literature, music and the arts, suggesting a common underlying factor. Our results also challenge long-held hypotheses regarding the role of religion, universities, demography, and the printing press, and support the idea that economic development and rising living standards are key to explaining the rise of modern science.
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Contributor : Charlotte Bultel <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 14, 2020 - 3:18:17 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM

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Benoît de Courson, Nicolas Baumard. Quantifying the Scientific Revolution. 2020. ⟨ijn_03064756⟩



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