Spring 1999
phsc 212 / tuth 10:30-11:45

History of Science wpe1.gif (2181 bytes) to
the Age of Newton

history of science dept.
university of oklahoma

Professor Katherine Pandora
office hours: tu  3-4, wed 10-12 (& by appt.)
physical sciences bldg. 619

phone/voicemail: 325-3427
email: kpandora@ou.edu

info on the history of science minor

Teaching Asst. Kim Perez

office hours: mon  12-1, wed 3-5  (and by appt.)
physical sciences bldg. 613
email: kperez@ou.edu

introduction & book list l    lectures, reading & weblinks   due dates, etc.


This course focuses on the search for natural knowledge in antiquity, the middle ages, and the early modern era. We will look at the questions raised by those who sought to explain the structure of the heavens and the earth, the answers they gave, and the debates that were generated. We will also pay attention to the interplay between the broader culture and the scientific community. The only real prerequisites for this course are a sense of curiosity about the complex set of enterprises we place under the heading of "science", and a willingness to think carefully and creatively about the course material.

We will be seeking to move beyond our stereotypes about what "science" is, by inquiring closely about the various ways in which people in times and places different from our own have struggled to know the physical, biological, and social worlds. The issues that we consider will help us gain a fuller sense of what it meant to know nature in the period we call the "scientific revolution", and will also open up areas of analysis that are still under discussion today, such as the relationship between science and religion.

In this course you will learn about the past, other cultures, and ideas about nature, but you will also learn some philosophy as well. We cannot begin to understand the scientific patterns of thought and practice in different historical periods without also knowing the answers that people in other times have given to such questions as: How should we expect nature to behave? How is truth defined? What is a human being? What relationships make society possible? What is our place in the universe?

Required Reading:

Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle | G.E.R. Lloyd
Hypatia of Alexandria | Maria Dzielska
The Scientific Achievement of the Middle Ages | Richard C. Dales
Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine | Nancy Siraisi
Sidereus Nuncius | Galileo Galilei
Galileo, Science and the Church (3rd ed.) | Jerome Langford
The Scientific Revolution: Aspirations & Achievements, 1500-1700 | James Jacob

Additional Reading as Noted on Syllabus Below (Class Handouts)

v  syllabus v
lectures, readings, and weblinks

Week 1

1/12   Introduction: What is the History of Science?
[Groundwork Essay Question Passed Out]
1/14   Science in Antiquity

* The Theban Mapping Project: Archaeological Discoveries in Egypt
* Babylonian and Egyptian Mathematics

Lloyd, Early Greek Science (Chapters 1-4, pp. 1-49)
Alexander Stille, "Perils of the Sphinx," New Yorker, 2/10/97, pp. 54-66 [class handout]

Week 2

1/19  The Pre-Socratics and Plato
1/21   Aristotle on the Heavens and the Earth
Groundwork Essay Due 1/21 at the beginning of class

* Aristotle on the Perfection of the Heavens
* Aristotle Bio

Lloyd, Early Greek Science (Chapters 6-8, pp. 66-124)
Jacob, Scientific Revolution (pp. 1-14)
Langford, Galileo (pp. 23-32)
Aristotle, Excerpt from Metaphysics and Physics [class handout]

Week 3

1/26    Aristotle, Ptolemy and the Cosmos in the Hellenistic Era
1/28   Science and the Early Christian Church

* Ptolemy Bio
* Ptolemy's Geography
* Ptolemy's Defense of the Seeming Difficulty of His Astronomical Model

Lloyd, Early Greek Science (Chapter 9, pp. 125-146)
Dzielska, Hypatia (Chapter 1, pp. 1-26)
David Lindberg, "Science and the Early Church", from God and Nature (pp. 19-48)

Week 4

2/2   The Legend of Hypatia
2/4   Hypatia's Story as History [Take-Home Essay Exam #1 Passed Out]

* Library at Alexandria
* Discussion of Hypatia's Life and Times

Dzielska, Hypatia (Chapters 2-3 and Conclusion, pp. 27-106)

Week 5

2/9     Science in the Islamic World
2/11   The Mingling of Greek, Islamic, & European Views of Science in the Middle Ages

Take-Home Essay Exam #1 due at the beginning of class on 2/11

*  History of the Islamic Faith
*  So, What's an Astrolabe?
*  Descriptions & Pictures of Texts Available to Med/Ren Scholars

Dales, Scientific Achievement (Introduction and Chapter 1, pp. 1-36)
A.I. Sabra, "Islamic Science" from Dictionary of the Middle Ages, vol. 11 (pp. 81-89)
Howard R. Turner, Science in Medieval Islam (Chapters 4-6 on Cosmology, Mathematics and Astronomy pp. 36-69)

Week 6

2/16   The Rise of European Universities
2/18   Arguing About the Heavens and the Earth

* Illuminated Manuscript Images from the Bodleian Library
* Life of the Students at Paris
* "Great" Moments in the History of University Scholarship
* Medieval Recipes

Dales, Scientific Achievement (Chapters 2-3, 6, and Conclusion: pp. 37-72, 109-124, 170-176)
Optional: Dales, Scientific Achievement (Chapter 4, pp. 73-80)
Optional: Lloyd, Early Greek Science (Chapter 5 , pp. 50-65)

Week 7

2/23   Is Philosophy a Threat to Theology? Questions about the Cosmos
2/25   Astrology, Alchemy, and Witchcraft

* Alchemy in Islamic Times
* Paracelsus: The Treasure of Treasures for Alchemists
* Roger Bacon: The Mirror of Alchemy
* Brief Essay on Witchcraft / Links to Excerpts from the Trial of Joan of Arc & Malleus Maleficarum

Dales, Scientific Achievement, (Chapters 7-8, pp. 125-146, 152-169)
Siraisi, Medicine (Chapter 1 and part of Chapter 2, pp. 1-36 and Epilogue, pp. 187-193)

Week 8

3/2   Renaissance views of the lifeworld
3/4   Medical Knowledge and Medical Practice in Medieval and Early Modern Europe [Take-Home Essay Exam #2 Passed Out]

* Ancient Medicine from Homer to Vesalius

Siraisi, Medicine (Chapters 2-4, pp. 37-114)

Week 9

3/9    The Realities of Health and Disease in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
3/11  The Cultural Context of European Exploration [ Meet in the History of Science Collections, 5th Floor Bizzell Library ]

Take-Home Essay Exam #2 due at the beginning of class on 3/11

* Library of Congress Exhibit: 1492 -- An Ongoing Voyage
* The Mongol Empire and the Age of Discovery

Siraisi, Medicine (Either Chapter 5, pp. 115-152 OR Chapter 6, pp. 153-186)
Jacob, Scientific Revolution (Chapter 2, pp. 19-27)
Anthony Grafton, "Navigators and Conquerors", from New Worlds, Ancient Texts (pp. 61-93)

Week 10


Week 11

3/23   Renaissance Courts and the Display of Nature [ Questions for Galileo Assignment Passed Out]
3/25   Changing Worldviews: Copernicus' Heliocentric Universe and Reformation Europe

* Galileo Project
* Copernicus' De Rev

Langford, Galileo, Science and the Church ( pp. 1-22, 32-49)
Jacob, Scientific Revolution (Chapter 2, pp. 28-39)
Galileo, Sidereus Nuncius (van Helden Introduction, pp. 1-24)
Copernicus, "Preface" to De Revolutionibus; Osiander, "Preface to the Reader"

Week 12

3/30   After Copernicus: Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler
4/1      Galileo's Starry Message and the Decree Against Copernicus

* The Noble Dane: Images of Tycho Brahe
* Remnant of Tycho's 1572 Supernova
* Galileo Project

Galileo, Sidereus Nuncius, pp. 29-113
Langford, Galileo (Chapter 4, pp. 79-104)
Optional: Jacob, Scientific Revolution (pp. 41-52)

Week 13

4/6   Prelude to the Trial of Galileo
4/8   The Trial of Galileo (continued)

* Galileo Project
* The Jesuits and the Sciences
* The Art of Renaissance Science: Galileo and Perspective

Langford, Galileo (Chapter 3, pp. 50-78, Chapters 5-6, pp. 105-158)

Week 14

4/13   The Proliferation of Materialist Philosophies of Nature
4/15   The Emergence of Scientific Societies [ Meet in the History of Science Collections, 5th Floor Bizzell Library ]

Analytical Paper on Copernicanism and Galileo due at the beginning of class on 4/15

* John Wallis on the Origin of the Royal Society
* Timeline of Cavendish's Life

Jacob, Scientific Revolution (pp. 52-91)
Langford, Galileo (Chapter 7, pp. 159-188); Optional: (Postscript, pp.189-205)
Francis Bacon, Excerpt from New Atlantis
Samuel Butler, Excerpt from Elephant in the Moon
Londa Schiebinger on Margaret Cavendish in The Mind is Its Own Sex? (pp. 37-59)

Week 15

4/20   Law and Order in Newton's Cosmos
4/22   God's Role in Newton's Cosmos

* Short Bio of Newton with Links
* Newtonia

Jacob, Scientific Revolution (pp. 93-131)
John Fauvel, et. al., eds. Excerpt from Let Newton Be! (Introduction, pp. 1-21 and John Henry, "Newton, Matter, and Magic", pp. 127-145)

Week 16

4/27   Newton's Legacies
4/29   Conclusions

* 5th May of 1727:  A True & Perfect Inventory of All the Goods, Chattels and Credits of Sir Isaac Newton, Late of the Parish of Saint Martin in the Fields

B.J.T. Dobbs and Margaret Jacob, Newton and the Culture of Newtonianism, pp. 12-20, 38-46)
Isaac Newton, excerpts from Principia, Optics
Selected Poetry

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

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Overview of Course Assignments and Examinations

1) Groundwork Essay (Due Week 2 on 1/21): A 2-page (500-600 words) essay based on a question drawn from the Perils of the Sphinx article <5%, graded S/U>

2) Take-Home Essay Exam #1 (Due Week 5 on 2/11): 5-6 pages (1250-1500 words) <20%>

3) Take-Home Essay Exam #2 (Due Week 9 on 3/11): 5-6 pages (1250-1500 words) <20%>

4) Analysis Paper on Copernicanism and the Galileo Affair (Due Week 14 on 4/15): 5-6 pages (1250-1500 words) <25%>

5) In-Class Final Exam: Monday, May 3rd from 8:00-10:00 a.m. <30%>

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Rules of the Road

Attendance: Attendance is required. Two unexcused absences are allowed; missed classes beyond this will result in your grade being lowered by 5% increments. If you need to miss class for an illness serious enough to merit a trip to the doctor, a family emergency, etc., please be sure to contact the instructor.

Academic Misconduct: Cheating will not be tolerated. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, copying the work of another student, using the written work of another author without attribution, or any conduct that seeks to compromise the examination process. Such conduct will result in an automatic F on that examination and the student will be referred to the Dean for further disciplinary action.

Due Dates: Assignments and take-home essay exams will not be accepted if turned in late, and will be graded F. (This requirement will be waived only in the case of a medical or family emergency. To the extent possible, permission should be sought before the exam.)

Students with Disabilities: Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent him or her from fully demonstrating his or her abilities should contact me as soon as possible, so we can discuss accommodations necessary to ensure your full participation and to facilitate your educational opportunities.

Grading Scale: The letter grades for this course conform to a 4 point scale, as follows:

3.5-4.0 = A (A- = 3.7, A = 4.0)
2.5-3.49 = B (B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7)
1.5-2.49 = C (C+ = 2.3, C = 2.0, C- = 1.7)
0.5-1.49 = D (D+ = 1.3, D= 1.0, D- = 0.7)
0.49 and below = F

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University of Oklahoma Writing Center

At the Writing Center you can get help on developing ideas into essays and on putting your thoughts on paper in clear, concise, and coherent form. If you would like help with your pre-writing, organizing, documenting sources, or other aspects of writing assignments, make an appointment for a FREE, 45-minute conference with a consultant. Don't wait until the last minute before the paper is due -- if you meet with them early you will have time to think and revise. For an appointment or additional information call 325-2936. The Writing Center has two locations:

(Main Office) Physical Sciences Center, Rm 209
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. -- Mon. - Fri.

(Evening Branch) Muldrow Tower, Rm 105
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.-- Tu, Th, Sun

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