STS 201

Science, Technology, and Society I: Antiquity to 1800

This is a history of science, technology, and society from Antiquity to 1800 C.E. It emphasizes both the theoretical understanding of nature and the practical mastery of the technologies of settled existence. It is the first part of a two-semester survey required of majors and minors in Science, Technology, and Society, though it is open to all students. There are no prerequisites, but the course assumes a working knowledge of biology, chemistry, and geometry at the high school level. Topics include: astronomy and mathematics in ancient Mesopotamia and Greece; Islamic medicine; Renaissance anatomy and physiology; the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century; electricity, chemistry and natural history in the Enlightenment. Issues addressed include: the role of cultural institutions in the production and diffusion of scientific ideas; the transmission of science across linguistic and cultural boundaries; the interaction of science with religion, philosophy and political life.