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Spring 2003

Prof. D. deB. Beaver
Bronfman 117; ext. 2239

History of Science 224: Revolutions in Science

Spring 2003 Prof. Donald deB. Beaver
MWF 11:00-11:50 a.m. 117 Bronfman (XT 2239)

Scientific facts and theories affect our beliefs about our world, about our selves, and about how we think we should live. Since its 16th century creation in the West, "modern" science has become the epitome of authoritative and objective knowledge. What have been the critical periods of change in the structure of scientific knowledge, and what effects have those changes had on other sciences, as well as the non-scientific world?

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?

Class sessions will be a mixture of lectures about the history of major revolutions in science, which the assigned readings complement, and discussions of questions and ideas raised by those assigned readings. Check this syllabus, or the department website under "curriculum."

The following are the required texts for the course:

P.J. Bowler Evolution - The History of an Idea
H. Butterfield The Origins of Modern Science
B. L. Cline Men Who Made a New Physics
I.B. Cohen Birth of a New Physics

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.
The following is a schedule of classes and assignments:

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 
           Packet: "What Every Young Person Should Know about 
           Naked-Eye Astronomy." and "Astronomical 
           Coordinate Systems"
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…
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]
           ---------------------------------Spring Vacation---------------------------------------

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)
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-
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
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
           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…

Brief Bibliography
(more or less synchronic with the course)

T.S. Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
P. Thagard Conceptual Revolutions
Peter Barker & Revolution and continuity
Roger Ariew eds
D.C. Lindberg & Reappraisals of the scientific revolution
R. S. Westman eds.
S.Mason A History of the Sciences
T.S. Kuhn The Copernican Revolution
A. Koestler The Sleepwalkers
A. Koyre From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe
A. Armitage Copernicus
J.Dreyer Tycho Brahe
E.J. Dijksterhuis Mechanization of the World Picture
H. Kearney Science and Change, 1500-1700
A.R. Hall From Galileo to Newton
A.R. Hall The revolution in science, 1500-1750
L. Jardine Ingenious pursuits : building the scientific revolution
P. Redondi Galileo Heretic
R. Westfall Never at Rest
R. Westfall The Construction of Modern Science
S. Drake Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo
I. Newton Principia
G. Galileo Dialogues Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World
G. Galileo Discourses on the Two New Sciences
I. Newton Opticks
Steven Shapin The Scientific Revolution
H.M.Leicester The Historical Background of Chemistry
D. McKie Antoine Lavoisier
David Knight Ideas in chemistry : a history of the science
Dean, Dennis R. James Hutton and the history of geology
S. J. Gould Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle
M. Greene Geology in the 19th Century
L. Eiseley Darwin's Century
G. Himmelfarb Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution
C. Darwin The Origin of Species
P. Appleman,ed. Darwin (Norton Anthology, 2nd ed.)
A.Desmond & Darwin
J. Moore
Bowler, Peter J. The non-Darwinian revolution
D. Kevles In the Name of Eugenics
Stephen G. Brush The history of modern science : a guide to the second
scientific revolution, 1800-1950
Mary Jo Nye Before big science : the pursuit of modern chemistry and physics, 1800-1940
T.S. Kuhn Black Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity (tech.)
V. Guillemin The Story of Quantum Mechanics
B. Hoffman Albert Einstein, Creator and Rebel
W. Heisenberg Physics and Philosophy
A. Pais Subtle is the Lord: the Science and the Life of A. Einstein
E. A. Burtt The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science
G. Holton Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought: Kepler to Einstein
P.J.Bowler The Eclipse of Darwinism
J. D. Watson The Double Helix
A. N. Whitehead Science and the Modern World
H.F. Judson The Eighth Day of Creation
LeGrand, H. E. Drifting continents and shifting theories