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The History of English in Ten Minutes: The English of Science
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What were Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton?
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The History of English in Ten Minutes: The English of Science
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The History of English in Ten Minutes
The English of Science
Narrator:
Before the 17
th
Century scientists weren’t really recognised – possibly because lab-coats had
yet to catch on.
But suddenly Britain was full of physicists – there was Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle – and
even some people not called Robert, like Isaac Newton. The Royal Society was formed out of
the Invisible College – after they put it down somewhere and couldn’t find it again.
At first they worked in Latin. After sitting through Newton’s story about the ‘pomum’ falling to
the ‘terra’ from the ‘arbor’ for the umpteenth time, the bright sparks realised they all spoke
English and could transform our understanding of the universe much quicker by talking in
their own language.
But science was discovering things faster than they could name them. Words like ‘acid’,
‘gravity’, ‘electricity and ‘pendulum’ had to be invented just to stop their meetings turning into
an endless game of charades.
Like teenage boys, the scientists suddenly became aware of the human body – coining new
words like ‘cardiac’ and ‘tonsil’, ‘ovary’, and ‘sternum’ - and the invention of ‘penis’ (1693),
‘vagina’ (1682) made sex education classes a bit easier to follow. Though and ‘clitoris’ was
still a source of confusion
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