The knowledge of the universe around us made progresses step after step by approaching more and more what seems to us to be some "reality". In fact, we build a representation of the universe better and better after time and "laws" governing it but, be realist, never we will understand the globality of our world.
The following astronomers, mathematicians and physicists may be associated
to the main steps of the discovery and the modelling of our world:
- Ptolemy proposed a geocentric representation of the universe which was wrong but which had the longest life because it provided a useful and efficient model describing the motion of celestial bodies with a sufficient accuracy; for the epoch
- Copernicus introduced the principle of an heliocentric system;
- Tycho Brahe made the first observations of positions sufficiently accurate to allow Kepler to provide his "laws";
- Galileo provided the fundamental concepts of mechanics and showed the reality of the Copernicus'principle thanks to the observations made with his telescope;
- Kepler provided his "laws" that he was not able to demonstrate but which described so well the motion of the planets around the Sun;
- Newton understood the principle of the universal gravitation;
- Laplace provided the fundamental concepts of celestial mechanics which allowed to model the solar system with a very good accuracy;
- Le Verrier, discovering a new planet thanks to calculations, implied the triumph of the newtonian celestial mechanics;
- Einstein, introducing the general relativity destroyed the newtonian principle but succeeded to explan what the universal gravitation was not able to explain.