HISTORY 521: THE ORIGINS OF MODERN SCIENCE
This course covers the new ideas about the universe and the natural world which emerged in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. In this period, science assumed something like its modern form, through the works of pioneers like Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Harvey, and Newton. Against the background of fundamental changes in European culture, from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, ideas about nature and the place of human beings in it underwent profound transformations. Our aim will be to understand what is frequently called “the Scientific Revolution” in the context of other forms of belief, such as religion and magic, and changes in society at large.
Professor Jan Golinski Email:
Office: Horton 301D Phone: 862-3789
Classes: M W F 10.10 - 11.00 Horton 204
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 11.00 - 12.00, and by appointment.
Instructor’s web page: http://www.unh.edu/history/golinski/index.html
Required Books (available from UNH Bookstore and Durham Book Exchange):
Stillman Drake (ed.), Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (Anchor Books, 1957, ISBN: 0385092393).
René Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations (Dover, 2003, 0486432521).
I. Bernard Cohen and Richard S. Westfall (eds.), Newton: Texts, Backgrounds, Commentaries (Norton Critical Editions, 1996, ISBN: 0393959023).
Michael Crowe, Theories of the World from Antiquity to the Copernican Revolution (Dover, 2nd ed., 2001, ISBN: 0486414442).
Peter Dear, Revolutionizing the Sciences (Princeton University Press, 2001, ISBN: 0691088608).
This class will make use of the electronic Blackboard system to distribute readings and images, and for other communications. This is a required, not optional, part of the class. You must make sure you can access the class pages on the Blackboard system as soon as possible, and check them regularly for announcements. You should choose your own password to make it secure. Also, if you want email to go to another address than your UNH account, please change the email address on the Blackboard system. If you have not used Blackboard before, start with the page “10 Steps to Getting Started with Blackboard” (http://www.unh.edu/ blackboard/gettingstarted.html). I can give you a paper copy of this, if you wish. Other questions can be answered by the FAQ page: http://www.unh.edu/blackboard/faqs.html, or you can get help from the CIS Helpdesk in the MUB, or from a reference librarian.
Some of the documents we will use will be in HTML format, but others may be Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word documents. To read these, if you don’t have the program on your computer, you can download a viewer (see the FAQ page for information about how to do this).
If you are a student with a documented disability who will require accommodations in this course, please register with the Access Office in the Memorial Union Building, room 118 (862-2607) for assistance in developing a plan to address your academic needs. Students who are already registered with the Access Office and wish to receive accommodations in this course are strongly encouraged to share their Accommodation Letter with me in a timely manner.
There will be three in-class tests (on 20 February, 24 March, and 28 April) and one take-home final essay (due one week after the last class, on Monday 15 May). Participation in the four discussions is also a required part of the course and will count toward your final grade.
In addition, one research paper (6-8 pages) will be required. This will involve reading beyond the sources assigned for the class as a whole, using either books in Dimond Library or sources on the Internet. You will be required to submit a proposal for the research paper by 10 April, and then the deadline for the final paper will be the last class on Monday 8 May.
More information about the requirements for the paper and grading standards will be given out later. I shall also hand out questions for you to use when preparing for class discussions.
How your grade will be calculated:
15% for each of the three tests (45% total)
+ 10% for the take-home final essay
+ 5% for participation in each of the four discussions (20% total)
+ 5% for the research proposal
+ 20% for the research paper
= 100% TOTAL.
Stern warning about plagiarism:
In this class, a zero-tolerance approach will apply to infringements of academic honesty, including any cases of plagiarism. This is consistent with the university policy on these issues. If you have any questions about the policy, please ask me or refer to the handbook, Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities, pp. 37-39.
18 Jan Introduction to the course.
20, 23, 25, 27 Jan The ancient origins of science
Reading: Dear, “Introduction”; Crowe, chap. 4.
30 Jan, 1, 3 Feb The Medieval world and the Renaissance
Reading: Dear, chaps. 1, 3.
6, 8, 10, 13 Feb The revolution in astronomy
Reading: Dear, chaps. 2, 4; Crowe, chaps. 6, 7, 8.
15, 17 Feb Discussion #1
Assigned questions on Crowe, Theories of the World.
20 Feb TEST #1.
22, 27 Feb Galileo and the Church
Reading: Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo, pp. 23-58, 175-216.
24 Feb (No class)
1, 3 Mar Discussion #2
Assigned questions on Galileo, “Starry Messenger” and “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina.”
6, 8, 10 Mar The body and healing
Reading: Dear, chap. 7; additional reading on Blackboard.
13-17 Mar SPRING BREAK
20, 22 Mar Magic and early-modern science
Reading: on Blackboard.
24 Mar TEST #2
27, 29, 31 Mar Descartes and the mechanical philosophy
Reading: Dear, chap. 5.
3, 5 Apr Discussion #3
Assigned questions on Descartes, Discourse on method.
7, 10, 12 Apr Inventions, institutions, and experiments
Reading: Dear, chaps. 6, 8.
RESEARCH PROPOSALS DUE (10 APRIL)
14, 17, 19, 21 Apr Newton’s mathematical philosophy
Reading: Cohen and Westfall, pp. 96-108, 171-181, 274-281,
24, 26 Apr Discussion #4
Assigned questions on Cohen and Westfall, Newton.
28 Apr TEST #3
1, 3, 5 May Science and the Enlightenment
Reading: Dear, conclusion; additional reading on Blackboard.
8 May (Last day of class): Conclusions
RESEARCH PAPERS DUE
TAKE-HOME FINAL TO BE GIVEN OUT
15 May (4.00 p.m.) TAKE-HOME FINAL DUE