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HIS136: The Scientific Revolution

Summer Session I

What does it mean to understand nature in modern—and pre-modern—ways? Today we take for granted that science involves mathematical laws, experimentation, discovering new phenomena, and the creation of technologies that provide power over nature.  None of these was true about the European study of nature in 1500. All had become widely accepted by 1700. This class treats the transformation of European ideas about nature, knowledge, and technology during the age of Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. We will explore the intellectual culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, looking closely at source materials from this period, and examine issues such as scientific methodologies, instruments and experimentation, religion, and the control of nature. Topics include astronomy, physics, alchemy, natural magic, medicine, and natural history. The readings and lectures are designed to provide the basis for students to think critically about these issues, which will form the basis for written assignments and in-class discussion.

Instructor: Dr. Daniel Stolzenberg

MTW: 10-11:40AM, Olson Hall, Room 261

CRN: 53445

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