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The second half of the 19th century – Golden Age of Science

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In the early 1900’s, the significant dilemmas in the government and working class were finally getting resolved, therefore the people moved on to better activities that involved much intelligence. In this time there was a large breakthrough in scientific technology, this era was known as the Golden Age Of Science. In the Golden Age Of Science, scientific knowledge expanded quickly, changing the way people look at everyday life.

As the many scientific discoveries came out, more and more people benefited from them. Many previous inventions were improved, such as rail roads and steam engines. Researchers were explaining to the people how these things worked, and people became more interested. One important scientist was Louis Pasteur who discovered thermodynamics. Thermodynamics investigated the relationship between heat and energy, and it built on Isaac Newton’s laws of mechanics. Dmitri Mendeleev also contributed to science, in the world of chemistry. Mendeleev brought to the people the Periodic Law and the Periodic Table. These inventions were important, and they greatly impacted society, economics, and thought. In society, many controversies were brought up from the new theories, especially the theory of evolution. The discoveries affected the economy because, money was put into them before the people decided that they were worthy of investing in. Many people in society lacked scientific knowledge, therefore, this greatly effected the popular thought.

In the Golden Age of Science, one theory was realism. Realism was depicting life exactly how it was. Realism was much different than the previous idea, romanticism. Romantics magnified individual freedom, and had a strong interest in nature, emotion and the use of one’s imagination, whereas Realists focused on existing human acts and events. The Realist movement began in France, and eventually gained supporters in other countries. Realist writers worked to show the ideas of everyday life, these were ideas that had not been focused on before such as sex, strikes, violence, and alcoholism.

In this time era, many books were written to further explain or share opinions on an idea. Some of the main authors included Aguste Comte, Emile Zola, Charles Darwin, and Sigmund Freud. Aguste Comte was a French philosopher. His first big work was System of Positive Philosopy, which was a six-volume series discussing the romantic era. As realism evolved, Comte began to create new theories. He believed that if science blended with human relations, sociology would be understandable to more people. His theories soon evolved into the idea of evolution. Evolution is the idea that all forms of life came from nature after a long process of adjustment. After the theory brought up many writers discussed evolution through literature, the main supporter being Charles Darwin. Darwin worked with the evolution theory and made some changes, he concluded that all life had formed from a common ancestral origin.

His work was titled On the Origin of Species by the Means of Natural Selection, and it erupted much controversy. Emile Zola was a writer from France, who was one of the first to do works regarding realism. His most famous novel was the first book written against pornography and other moral corrupting acts. Another author was Viennese Sigmund Freud, he was founder of psychoanalysis and his works were mainly about family. He began working in hospitals, and the patients gave him ideas on family and the working class. Mainly concerning the age a child should leave home into the working class. For the most part, the literature of the time period was the most beneficial way to spread theories and controversial ideas.

Overall, this time period greatly altered the way people looked at science. The new discoveries and theories were at first overwhelming, but eventually very interesting for commoners. As science became more focused on, new inventions came out, and it made a large improvement to the industries, and familiar knowledge.

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