Taught in 2000 by Stephen G. Brush, University of Maryland, College Park 
Description and Prerequisites


Course details (Website)

Course Description:
The course offers an introduction to the history of physical science, focusing on the transformation in our understanding of the world during the 16th and 17th centuries. Topics: (1) The Aristotelian World-View; Science in Antiquity; (2) Islam & China: Where Modern Science Might have Started; (3) Decline of Islamic & Chinese Science; The European Renaissance; (4) The Astronomical Revolution; (5) Science in the 17th Century; (6) Newton and the "Scientific Revolution." HIST401 is the first half of a two-semester sequence. HIST402, to be offered in the Spring, will cover the History of physical science from Newton to Einstein.

Any course that satisfies the CORE Physical Sciences requirement, plus any course that satisfies the CORE Professional Writing requirement. No specific knowledge of science and mathematics is assumed, beyond normal high school graduation requirements.

Required texts:

* Cohen, I. B., The Birth of a New Physics (rev. ed. 1985)

* Dear, P., Revolutionizing the Sciences

* Drake, S., Galileo

* Gleick, Isaac Newton

* Huff, T. E., The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China, and the West

* Lindberg, D. C., The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. to A.D. 1450

* Matthews, M. R., The Scientific Background to Modern Philosophy, Selected Readings

Recommended book (parts of this book will be required reading):

* Diamond, J., Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Additional Required Readings: (free handouts)

* Cunningham, A. & Williams, P., "De-centring the 'big picture': The Origins of Modern Science and the modern origins of science," British Journal for the History of Science, vol. 26 (1993), pages 407-32
* Holt, J., "Mistaken Identity Theory: Why Scientists Always Pick the Wrong Man," Lingua Franca (March 2000), page 60
* Kuhn, T.S., "What Are Scientific Revolutions?" in The Probabilistic Revolution, Volume 1, Ideas in History, edited by L. Kruger et al., pages 7-22.

Course details See the course Website for exams, essays, grades, a detailed set of study questions, etc.

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