A study of the
natures and roles of science and technology in today's society, and of
the problems which technical advances pose for human values. An
introduction to science-technology studies. Topics include: scientific
creativity, the Two Cultures, the norms and values of science, the
Manhattan Project and Big Science, the ethics and social responsibility
of science, appropriate technology, technology assessment, and various
problems which spring from dependencies engendered by living in a
technological society, e.g., computers and privacy, automation and
dehumanization, biomedical engineering.
*Same as Science and Technology Studies
Requirements: two or three short
exercises, two papers (3-5 pages and 5-10 pages), and a final exam. Satisfies
one semester of Division II requirement.
How much does
science create the sensibilities and values of the modern world? How
much, if any, technical detail is it necessary to know in order to
understand the difference between propaganda and fact? This course
investigates four major changes of world view, associated with
Copernicus (1543); Newton (1687); Darwin (1859); and Planck (1900) and
Einstein (1905). It also treats briefly the emergence of modern
cosmogony, geology, and chemistry as additional reorganizations of belief
about our origins, our past, and our material structure. We first
acquire a basic familiarity with the scientific use and meaning of the
new paradigms, as they emerged in historical context. We then ask how
those ideas fit together to form a new framework, and ask what their
trans-scientific legacy has been, that is, how they have affected ideas
and values in other sciences, other fields or thought, and in society.
Evaluation will be based on five problem
sets, two short papers (3-5 pages), and two hour exams. Knowledge of
high-school algebra is presupposed. Satisfies one semester of
Division III requirement. Open to first-year students.
technologically dependent, the American colonies slowly built a network
of native scientists and inventors whose skills helped shape the United
States' response to the Industrial Revolution. The interaction of
science, technology, and society in the nineteenth century did much to
form American identity: the machine in the garden, through the
"American System of Manufactures" helped America rise to
technological prominence; the professionalization and specialization of
science and engineering led to their becoming vital national resources.
Understanding these developments, as well as the heroic age of American
invention (1865-1914), forms the focus of this course: how science and
technology have helped shape modern American life. Format: Seminar.
Requirements: class discussion, six
short reports (1-2 pages), and a final exam. Satisfies one semester
of Division II requirement. Open to first-year students.
From the Neolithic
to the Atomic Age: the role of technology in transforming civilization.
An historical inquiry into the nature of technology, its effects upon
society, and the social forces which affect its development and
diffusion. Particular attention is given to the dynamics of the impact
of technology on human values and conduct, especially where subtle and
unexpected. Uses James Burke's Connections video series.
Requirements: a term paper and a
final exam. Satisfies one semester of Division II requirement.
A study of the
growth and development of medical thought and practice, together with
consideration of its interaction with science and social forces and
institutions. The course aims at an appreciation of the
socio-historical construction of Western medicine, from prehistory to
the twentieth century. The course begins with paleomedical
reconstructions, and moves to Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek [not only
Hippocratic] medicine, Greek and Roman anatomy and physiology, Arabic
medical thought, Renaissance medicine, and the gradual
professionalization and specialization of medicine from the sixteenth
century. Attention is paid to theories of health and disease, ideas
about anatomy and physiology, in addition to achievements such as
anesthesia and internal surgery, and advances in instruments such as
obstetrical forceps and the stethoscope. For the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries the course is designed to complement History 309,
The Social History of American Medicine. Reading and discussion format.
two papers (8-10 pages), midterm and final.
No prerequisites. Satisfies one semester
of Division II requirement. Open to first-year
334(S) Philosophy of Biology (Same as Philosophy
336(S) Science, Pseudoscience, and the Two Cultures
(Same as Astronomy 336) (W)
HSCI 497, 498 Independent Study