Middle Ages it is the
time of over a thousand years between the beginning of the 5th
century and the 16th century. It is lately very popular to glorify
Middle Ages. Many historians and other scientists are trying to
capture and show the good heritage of that time. Although maybe
there were many achievements in the field of art and culture the
special characteristic of this period is quite a big restrain in
development of other scientific studies (also in study of atom).
Not being enthusiastic about Middle Ages we have kept our distance.
We have tried to find the scientific thoughts and achievements of
this period, but the only conclusion we made is that after many
successes of Greek philosophers, there is a lack of progress in the
study of atom in the Middle Ages.
What then has caused
this situation? First of all, one must remember that the special
feature of the Middle Ages' culture was its uniformity). The
Church's influence in Europe was great. This had some good and bad
sides The good thing was that the intellectual power of artists and
scientists as well new technologies could have been easily
transferred between countries. Another was,that the Church has
taken the financial responsibility for science. But the bad side
lays in the fact that every culture benefits from some and reject
some and if there is only one culture some things cannot develop.
And anyway the Church was interested in financing and supporting
the development of theology not physics.
Only few courageous
thinkers took up a challenge of researching microstructure. Most
philosophers recognised Aristotle as the greatest
authority including his opinion on matter's constitution.
Many achievements of
ancient culture were transferred into Arab countries, and that was
the case with atomistic philosophy, too.
At the same time, but in
Europe, school of Chartres began to develop. It was the institution
created to serve non theoretical science. Works of ancient
scientists were studied there, with a special emphasis on Democritus's study of atom.
Middle Ages didn't
make any important changes in the understanding of world's
microstructure. Works of ancient atomists were rarely read. Most
thinkers in Europe as well as in Islamic countries considered
theological problems. Enlightened people, like Wilhelm from Conches, were even called heretics. But
before long, came the change. The time of great physicists has
come. They were the ones to change the view of world and to begin
the contemporary science.