The Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment are two time periods that occurred from the early 1500's through the late 1700's.
During the late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance, Europe saw many changes that helped to propel it into the modern age. However, it was not until a few centuries later--during the Scientific Revolution-- that Europe and western civilization really began to transform into the modern society that know today.
Not only did Europeans develop a true scientific understanding of the world, but science also began to be applied to the human situation. This application is the time period that we call the Enlightenment.
During the Enlightenment, philosophers debated the role of government, challenged absolute authority, and dismissed torture as a means of extracting a confession. They applied reason to their understanding of human relationships.
Above all else, the changes that were brought forth during these two time periods have drastically altered western people's way of living and continue to impact the world in which we live.
"Cogito, ergo sum." (I think, therefore I am.) Rene Descartes 1596-1650