Published on November 23, 2014
Modern school textbooks often refer with great admiration to the discoveries and ideas of ancient Greek natural scientists, based on the fact that they were pioneer and formed under special conditions. The formation of natural sciences as an independent scientific field of knowledge is their exclusive achievement, derived from their intellectual efforts and the highly developed intelligence which characterizes them. In the mind of ancient Greek scientists, natural sciences are liberated from religion and witchcraft, and initiate a scientific explanation of physical phenomena from physical causes, as well as a replacement of supernatural forces with physical laws.Therefore, this article is based on the study of the sources, namely ancient Greek texts, where various remarks regarding physical phenomena, astronomy, experimental methods and scientific discoveries, are recorded either by the ancient scientists themselves or by later scholars and biographers. The significance of a discovery relies on how old it was, since there had not been existing knowledge until then. Thus, this article focuses on the scientists who lived and worked between 6th and 3rd century B.C., starting from Thales of Miletus with his astronomical observations, until Aristarchos of Samos and his unknown for many years heliocentric theory. Unfortunately, the amount of texts which have survived intact along the years until today is very little compared to the totality of literature of those ancient scientists. In addition, only few fragments of them are available, or references to third-party works. The main sources of our research are the surviving works of Aristotle and Diogenes Laertius's (who lived in the 3rd century B.C) "Bioi Philosophon" ("Lives of philosophers").