The first model discussed, progressive or “great man” theory, focused on change of thought or discovery due to the ideas of great thinkers in history like Newton (Johnson 46). It presents change in history as being brought up thanks to the work, experiments and ideas of one person in a single narrative, not necessarily connected to other people or other forces.
The next model, paradigm shift, states that the normal boundaries of what we perceive as science – certain facts, data, or commonly understood ‘norms’ – contains many outliers and unknowns within the known (Johnson 47). Thus, the history of science has progressed due to experiments made out of these outliers and new ‘norms’ were discovered by the efforts of a person testing potential outcomes.
The third model, the ecosystem theory, accredits the progress in the history of science to a combination of multiple forces and multiple different academic fields (Johnson 49). With this model in mind, a discovery in scientific history is due to a collective effort by many.
The theory that Johnson accredits to Preistly’s discovery of oxygen is the ecosystem theory. A combination of many different situations, experiences, and shared knowledge throughout his life eventually led Priestly to the discovery of O2. All of the experiences he had simply just sitting and conversing with some of the best scholars of the day in the London Coffee House introduced him to new ways to approach the practice of science. An example of this around us in the world is the evolving field of using geothermal spots to create energy. This form of energy is one that is important moving forward in how the world gets its power; it has and will take teamwork from several different fields of disciplines, such as geologists, physicists, engineers, economists and more to ensure its success and growth. This teamwork is exactly what ecosystem theory looks like, and how this field and many other fields of science are developing currently.