History of science and technology

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The history of science and technology (HST) is a field of history which examines how humanity's understanding of the natural world (science) and ability to manipulate it (technology) have changed over the centuries. This academic discipline also studies the cultural, economic, and political impacts of scientific innovation.

Histories of science were originally written by practicing and retired scientists, starting primarily with William Whewell, as a way to communicate the virtues of science to the public. In the early 1930s, after a famous paper given by the Soviet historian Boris Hessen,was focused into looking at the ways in which scientific practices were allied with the needs and motivations of their context. After World War II, extensive resources were put into teaching and researching the discipline, with the hopes that it would help the public better understand both science and technology as they came to play an exceedingly prominent role in the world. In the 1960s, especially in the wake of the work done by Thomas Kuhn, the discipline began to serve a very different function, and began to be used as a way to critically examine the scientific enterprise. At the present time it is often closely aligned with the field of Science studies.

Modern engineering as it is understood today took form during the scientific revolution, though much of the mathematics and science was built on the work of the Greeks, Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Chinese, Indians and Muslims. See the main articles History of science and History of technology for these respective topics.

Universities with HST programs



  • The University of Sydney offers both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the History and Philosophy of Science, run by the Unit for the History and Philosophy of Science, within the Science Faculty. Undergraduate coursework can be completed as part of either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Undergraduate study can be furthered by completing an additional Honours year. For postgraduate study, the Unit offers both coursework and research based degrees. The two course-work based postgraduate degrees are the Graduate Certificate in Science (HPS) and the Graduate Diploma in Science (HPS). The two research based postgraduate degrees are a Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). [1]







  • Banaras Hindu University has programs: one in History of science and Technology at the Faculty of Science and one in Historical and Comparative Studies of the Sciences and the Humanities at the Faculty of Humanities




  • Utrecht University, has two co-operating programs: one in History and Philosophy of Science at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and one in Historical and Comparative Studies of the Sciences and the Humanities at the Faculty of Humanities.[11][12]




  • University of Bern, has an undergraduate and a graduate program in the History and Philosophy of Science.[16]

United Kingdom

  • University College London has an undergraduate programme in History and Philosophy of Science in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, offering three BSc degrees. A taught MSc programme is offered through the London Centre for History of Science, Medicine and Technology. An MPhil/PhD research degree is offered, too.[17] UCL also contains The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine which runs a postgraduate programme.[18]
  • University of Oxford has a one-year graduate course in 'History of Science: Instruments, Museums, Science, Technology' associated with the Museum of the History of Science.[19]
  • University of Leeds has both undergraduate and graduate programmes in History and Philosophy of Science in the Department of Philosophy.[20]
  • University of Manchester offers undergraduate modules and postgraduate study in History of Science, Technology and Medicine and is sponsored by the Wellcome Trust.[21]
  • University of Bristol has a masters and PhD program in the Philosophy and History of Science.[22]
  • University of Cambridge has an undergraduate course and a large masters and PhD program in the History and Philosophy of Science (including the History of Medicine).[23]
  • University of Durham, UK, has several undergraduate History of Science modules in the Philosophy department, as well as Masters and PhD programs in the discipline.[24]
  • London Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology - this Centre was formed in 1987 and runs a taught MSc programme, jointly taught by Imperial College London, University College London, and the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL.[25]

United States

Academic study of the history of science as an independent discipline was launched by George Sarton at Harvard with his book Introduction to the History of Science (1927) and the Isis journal (founded in 1912). Sarton exemplified the early 20th century view of the history of science as the history of great men and great ideas. He shared with many of his contemporaries a Whiggish belief in history as a record of the advances and delays in the march of progress. The history of science was not a recognized subfield of American history in this period, and most of the work was carried out by interested scientists and physicians rather than professional historians.[26] With the work of I. Bernard Cohen at Harvard, the history of science became an established subdiscipline of history after 1945.[27]

Prominent historians of the field

See also the list of George Sarton medalists.

Journals and periodicals

See also

Professional societies


  1. The University of Sydney. "History and Philosophy of Science". http://www.usyd.edu.au/hps. Retrieved December 3, 2009. 
  2. Université de Liège. "CHST". http://chst.european-is.net/. Retrieved january 3, 2010. 
  3. University of Toronto. "History and Philosophy of Science and Technology". http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/ihpst/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  4. University of King's College. "History of Science & Technology". Archived from the original on April 30, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060430050935/http://www.ukings.ca/kings_2902.html. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  5. Berlin Technical University. "Philosophy, Theory of Science, and History of Science and Technology". Archived from the original on July 19, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060719212353/http://www.tu-berlin.de/fak1/philosophie/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  6. Tel Aviv University. "History and Philosophy of Science". http://www.tau.ac.il/~cohn/. Retrieved December 4, 2009. 
  7. Bar Ilan University. "History and Philosophy of Science". http://www.sts-biu.org/default.asp. Retrieved December 4, 2009. 
  8. Kyoto University. = November 20, 2010 "Philosophy and History of Science". http://www.bun.kyoto-u.ac.jp/phisci/indexe.html = November 20, 2010. 
  9. Tokyo Institute of Technology. [Division of History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Technology "Department of History and Philosophy of Science"]. Division of History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Technology. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  10. The University of Tokyo. "Department of History and Philosophy of Science". http://hps.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp/index_en.php. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  11. Utrecht University. "History and Philosophy of Science". Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060614024909/http://www1.phys.uu.nl/masters/histphilmaster/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  12. Utrecht University. "Historical and Comparative Studies of the Sciences and Humanities". Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060614005154/http://www2.let.uu.nl/Solis/homelet/master/hiscompstudies/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  13. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. "Centre d'Història de la Ciència". http://www.uab.es/cehic/. Retrieved April 10, 2008. 
  14. Universitat Valencia. "Instituto de Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia Lopez Piñero". http://www.ihmc.uv-csic.es/. Retrieved April 10, 2010. 
  15. Linköping University. "Tema Teknik och social förändring". http://www.tema.liu.se/tema-t/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  16. University of Bern. "History and Philosophy of Science". http://www.philoscience.unibe.ch. Retrieved December 21, 2006. 
  17. University College London. "Science and Technology Studies". http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  18. University College London. "The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine". http://www.ucl.ac.uk/histmed/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  19. University of Oxford. "History of Science: Instruments, Museums, Science, Technology". Archived from the original on July 19, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060719083457/http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/course/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  20. University of Leeds. "History & Philosophy of Science". http://www.philosophy.leeds.ac.uk/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  21. University of Manchester. "History of Science, Technology and Medicine". http://www.chstm.manchester.ac.uk/. Retrieved December 12, 2007. 
  22. University of Bristol. "Department of Philosophy". http://www.bris.ac.uk/philosophy/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  23. University of Cambridge. "History and Philosophy of Science". http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  24. University of Durham. "Department of Philosophy". http://www.dur.ac.uk/philosophy/undergrad/courses/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  25. London Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology. "History of Science, Medicine and Technology". http://www.londoncentre-hstm.ac.uk. 
  26. Nathan Reingold, "History of Science Today, 1. Uniformity as Hidden Diversity: History of Science in the United States, 1920-1940," British Journal for the History of Science 1986 19(3): 243-262
  27. Dauben, JW; Gleason, ML; Smith, GE (2009). "Seven decades of history of science: I. Bernard Cohen (1914-2003), second editor of Isis". Isis; an international review devoted to the history of science and its cultural influences 100 (1): 4–35. doi:10.1086/597575. PMID 19554868. 
  28. Brown University. "Committee of Science and Technology Studies". http://www.brown.edu/Faculty/COSTS/. 
  29. Brown University. "History of Mathematics at Brown". Archived from the original on June 12, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060612213047/http://brown.edu/Departments/History_Mathematics. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  30. Case Western Reserve University. "History and Philosophy of Science". http://www.case.edu/artsci/hpst/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  31. Case Western Reserve University. "History of Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine". http://www.case.edu/artsci/hsty/graduate.html#stem. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  32. Cornell University. "Science and Technology Studies". http://www.cuinfo.cornell.edu/Academic/Courses/AS.php. Retrieved May 16, 2006. 
  33. Georgia Institute of Technology. "School of History, Technology, and Society". http://www.hts.gatech.edu/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  34. Harvard University. "Department of the History of Science". http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hsdept/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  35. Indiana University. "Department of History and Philosophy of Science". http://www.indiana.edu/~hpscdept/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  36. Johns Hopkins University. "History of Science, Medicine, and Technology". http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/graduateprograms/history_of_science/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  37. Lehigh University. "The Science, Technology, and Society Program". http://www.lehigh.edu/~insts/insts.html. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  38. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Program in Science, Technology, and Society". http://web.mit.edu/sts/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  39. New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Program in Science, Technology, and Society". http://catalog.njit.edu/undergraduate/programs/sts.php. Retrieved February 28, 2007. 
  40. Oregon State University. "Graduate Programs". Archived from the original on October 22, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071022131754/http://oregonstate.edu/cla/history/grad/. Retrieved May 15, 2007. 
  41. Princeton University. "Program in History of Science". http://www.princeton.edu/~hos/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  42. Stanford University. "History and Philosophy of Science and Technology". http://hpst.stanford.edu/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  43. University of California, Berkeley. "History of science and technology". http://ohst.berkeley.edu. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  44. University of California, Los Angeles. "History of Science Program". http://www.history.ucla.edu/graduate/fields/science.html. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  45. University of California Santa Barbara. "Center for Information Technology & Society". http://cits.ucsb.edu. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  46. University of Florida. "Department of History". http://www.history.ufl.edu/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  47. University of Minnesota. "History of Science, Technology, and Medicine". http://hstm.umn.edu/. Retrieved April 21, 2009. 
  48. University of Oklahoma. "Department of the History of Science". http://www.ou.edu/cas/hsci/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  49. University of Pennsylvania. "History & Sociology of Science". http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/hss2/hss/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 
  50. University of Pittsburgh. "History & Philosophy of Science". http://www.hps.pitt.edu/. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  51. University of Puget Sound. "Science, Technology, & Society". http://www.pugetsound.edu/academics/departments-and-programs/undergraduate/science-technology--society/. Retrieved February 14, 2011. 
  52. University of Wisconsin–Madison. "History of Science". http://histsci.wisc.edu/. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  53. Wesleyan University. "Science in Society program". http://www.wesleyan.edu/sisp/. Retrieved April 29, 2009. 
  54. Yale University. "History of Science and Medicine". http://www.yale.edu/hshm/. Retrieved July 30, 2006. 


Historiography of science

  • H. Floris Cohen, The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry, University of Chicago Press 1994 - Discussion on the origins of modern science has been going on for more than two hundred years. Cohen provides an excellent overview.
  • Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought, Belknap Press 1985
  • Michel Serres,(ed.), A History of Scientific Thought, Blackwell Publishers 1995
  • Companion to Science in the Twentieth Century, John Krige (Editor), Dominique Pestre (Editor), Taylor & Francis 2003, 941pp
  • The Cambridge History of Science, Cambridge University Press
    • Volume 4, Eighteenth-Century Science, 2003
    • Volume 5, The Modern Physical and Mathematical Sciences, 2002

History of science as a discipline

  • J. A. Bennett, 'Museums and the Establishment of the History of Science at Oxford and Cambridge', British Journal for the History of Science 30, 1997, 29–46
  • Dietrich von Engelhardt, Historisches Bewußtsein in der Naturwissenschaft : von der Aufklärung bis zum Positivismus, Freiburg [u.a.] : Alber, 1979
  • A.-K. Mayer, 'Setting up a Discipline: Conflicting Agendas of the Cambridge History of Science Committee, 1936–1950.' Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 31, 2000

External links

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