Syllabus as .pdf document
Prof. D. deB.
|History of Science 224: Revolutions in Science
Spring 2003 Prof. Donald deB. Beaver
This course aims first at determining the key concepts of the paradigm formations or shifts characteristic of scientific revolutions. Just what does constitute Copernican (Keplerian) astronomy, Newtonian (Galilean) physics, [Lavoisierian chemistry, Lyellian (Huttonian) geology,] Darwinian (Wallacean) biology, and modern physics (quantum theory and relativity)? What evidence is there to support those paradigms, and how adequate and reliable is it? What countervailing views did the "modern" science replace?
The second aim of the course is to try to determine how, and to what
extent, science and society interacted to form the "modern world
view." That is, in terms of the sensibilities and values which
we moderns (Westerners) have, what scientific foundations are there?
For example, what do we take for granted as constituting certain fact,
and what consequences spring from that?
The following are the required texts for the course:
P.J. Bowler Evolution - The History of an Idea
There is additional xeroxed material to read as well, in a course packet obtainable Feb. 7 from Kate Fletcher, Bronfman 189.
Grades will be based on four short papers [3-4 pp], 6 problem sets, and two hour exams, with about 32%, 36%, and 32% of the final grade deriving from each category respectively. Class participation [attendance, quality and frequency of contributions] may affect the final grade.
For the papers, choose a work, genre, or movement from the humanities
(poetry, prose, fine arts, music, drama) or "social sciences",
to argue or demonstrate the influence (or lack thereof) of the revolutionary
science we've been studying on themes, modes of expression, beliefs,
philosophies, or other aspects of the non-sciences. If you are more
technically minded, choose a work or field from science, and discuss
to what extent its development reflected (or was unaffected by) the
revolutionary science dealt with in class. Or, create your own relevant
thesis. Appended to the outline of classes is a brief bibliography of
some of the better works covering some of the course topics.
1. Fri., Feb. 7 Introduction
2. Mon., Feb. 10 The Medieval World View - a Lecture. Everything you need to know to satisfy the Division III requirement at a medieval university.
Background to the Copernican Revolution
3. Wed. Feb. 12 Basic Astronomical Phenomena and Planetary Models. Packet: "What Every Young Person Should Know about Naked-Eye Astronomy." and "Astronomical Coordinate Systems"
Fri. Feb. 14 No Class VALENTINE'S DAY and WINTER CARNIVAL WEEKEND
4. Mon., Feb. 17 Astronomical Models. Qualitative and quantitative. "Saving the Appearances." 5. Wed., Feb. 19 Planetary Astronomy and the Ptolemaic Paradigm. A model of success for 1500 years. Cohen, 25-35, "The Earth and the Universe"
6. Fri., Feb. 21 Strains in the Fabric: Social Change and Astronomical Reform; Copernicus'Revolutionary Ideas Problem Set 1 DUE (basic astron) Cohen, 24-25; 35-45, "The Earth and the Universe"
Fri. Feb. 16 No Class =========WINTER CARNIVAL WEEKEND ===========
7. Mon., Feb. 24 Copernicus v. Ptolemy. The Copernican Revolution as anomalistic. The equivalence of Copernican and Ptolemaic astronomical models. Butterfield, 29-48, "The Conservatism of Copernicus" Cohen, 45-52, "The Earth and the Universe" Packet, "Equivalence of Geocentric/Heliocentric"
8. Wed., Feb. 26 Consolidation and Change: An Overview. [Brahe, Kepler, Galileo.] Butterfield, 67-88, "The Downfall of Aristotle and Ptolemy" Cohen, 53-80, "Exploring the Depths of the Universe" [B,K,G; telescope; Sidereus Nuncius] 9. Fri., Feb. 28 Kepler's Laws; Heavenly harmony and Pythagoreanism. Cohen, 127-147, "Kepler's Celestial Music"
10. Mon., Mar. 3 Reflections on the Copernican Revolution
1st PAPER Class Discussion, using ideas from the papers DUE
11. Wed., Mar. 5 From the Old to The New Physics: Aristotle, Impetus, and Kinematics - the 'how' of motion. The Old Physics of Motion: Aristotle. Impetus. Cohen, 3-23: [Ch. 1 & 2]. "The Physics of a Moving Earth," and "The Old Physics" Butterfield,13-28, "The Historical Importance of a Theory of Impetus" Packet, Excerpt from Aristotle's Physics Cohen, 81 - 126, "Towards an Inertial Physics" Packet, "Accelerated Motion" [Galileo]
12. Fri., Mar. 7 The New Physics: Kinetics - the 'why' of motion. Problem Set 2 DUE (astron) Cohen, 81-126, "Towards an Inertial Physics"
13. Mon. Mar. 10 The New Physics Completed. Galileo's Trial.
14. Wed., Mar. 12 Newton. His life. The apple myth. Cohen, 148-184, "The Grand Design -- A New Physics" Butterfield, 151-170, "The History of the Modern Theory of Gravitation" Packet, Heuristic 1/r2; Huyghens; Moon-Apple
15. Fri., Mar. 14 The Grand Design: Newton's Principia. Contents, Laws, Rules of Reasoning. Packet, Excerpts from Principia
16. Mon., Mar. 17 The New Scientific Method of the Seventeenth Century. [Galileo], Bacon, and Descartes. An Exemplar Problem Set 3 Due (physics) Butterfield, 89-150, "The Experimental Method in the Seventeenth Century," "Bacon and Descartes," and "The Effect of the Scientific Revolution on the Non-Mechanical Sciences" Packet, "Opticks," [Newton]
17. Wed., Mar. 19 Hour Exam
18. Fri., Mar. 21 The Legacy of the Scientific Revolution. Considerations and Reflections. Paper 2 Due Class Discussion, using ideas from the papers, or, from (recommended, but not required) Butterfield, 171-202 "The Transition to the Philosophe Movement in the Reign of Louis XIV," and "The Place of the Scientific Revolution in the History of Western Civilisation" Packet: "The Newtonian World Machine" [Randall]
19. Mon. Apr. 7 Revolutions in Chemistry - 1 (Phlogiston Theory. Pneumatic Chemistry Lavoisier's Traité. Butterfield, 203-221, "The Postponed Scientific Revolution in Chemistry"
20. Wed., Apr. 9 Revolutions in Chemistry - 2 (Atomic Theory, the Periodic Table, The Role of Error) Lecture
21. Fri., Apr. 11 Revolutions in Cosmogony - the Origins of Things Bowler, Ch. 2 (23-36) "Early Theories of the Earth"
22. Mon., Apr. 14 Revolutions in Geology Bowler, Ch. 2 (26-45) "Early Theories of the Earth, and Ch. 5 (103-141) "Geology and Natural History, 1800- 1859"
23. Wed., Apr. 16 Revolution in Biology. Time, Taxonomy, Variability; from organisms to cells to Bowler, Ch. 3 (46-84) "Evolution in the Enlightenment" and Ch. 4 (85-102) "Changing Views of Man and Nature"
24. Fri., Apr. 18 Darwin, the Beagle, and the Origin. His Theory. Wallace. Scientific Debate. Bowler, Ch. 6 (146-175) "The Origins of Darwinism" and Ch. 7 (176-205) "Darwinism: the Scientific Debate"
25. Mon., Apr. 21 Reception and Response: Religion, Morality, and Scientific Eclipse. Problem Set 4 Due (chem/geol) Bowler, Ch. 8 (206-232) "Darwinism: Religious and Moral Problems" and Ch. 9 (233 - 265) "The Eclipse of Darwinism" 26. Wed., Apr. 23 Social Implications and Movements; The Modern Synthesis: Darwin Redux Bowler, Ch. 10 (266-288) "The Social Implications of Evolutionism" and Ch. 11 (289-316) "The Evolutionary Synthesis"
27. Fri., Apr. 25 The Darwinian Revolution - Reception and Legacy Paper #3 Due Class Discussion, Presentations, Review
28. Mon., Apr. 28 The Convergent Century. Problem Set 5 Due (biol) Unification and Synthesis in 19th Century Science. Fin du Siècle. 29. Wed., Apr. 30 The Beginning of Modern Physics: Rutherford to Planck Cline, 1-63, "Ernest Rutherford: Discovery of the Nucleus," "Ernest Rutherford: Radioactivity," "Max Planck: Pursuit of an 'Absolute,' the Entropy Law," "Max Planck: The Quantum Theory"
30. Fri., May 2 Einstein, 1905 and Special Relativity; General Relativity. Cline, 64-87, "Albert Einstein: Work of 1905" Cline, 219-234, "Albert Einstein: The General Theory of Relativity"
31. Mon., May. 5 Bohr and the Theory of the Atom Cline, 88-126, "Niels Bohr: Early Quantum Theory of the Atom," "Early Days of Quantum Physics"
32. Wed., May 7 Copenhagen, and the Creation of Quantum Mechanics Cline, 127-191, "Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, and Bohr's Institute," "An Introduction to Modern Quantum Theory," "Creation of Quantum Mechanics"
33. Fri., May 9 The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics; The Legacy of Modern Physics Problem Set 6 Due (20c. phys) Cline, 192-218; 235-244, "Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics," "The Debate between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein" Cline, 245-259, "Afterward"
34. Mon., May 12 Hour Exam #2
35. Wed., May 14 Retrospect. SCS. Scientific Revolutions: what can we expect? Do we have any unifying vision like the Medieval World View? Should we? Need we?
36. Fri., May 16 The Legacy of Relativity and Quantum Theory Paper #4 Due Class Discussion, using ideas from the papers
T.S. Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions