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History of Science Course Syllabus - Flat Earth woodcut

History of Science Online

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LibraryThing: OU History of Science Collections HSCI 3013 - section 995 - Spring 2014

Semester at a Glance

Week Calendar Unit Topics & sources will include...
0 Aug 18 - Sept 1 Orientation

Syllabus, online orientation, technical issues and online resources.

1 Aug 25 - Sept 1 Exploring the Past • Stonehenge
• Shape of the Earth
Ancient Science
2 Sept 2 - 8 Ancient Mesopotamia

• Origin of mathematical astronomy in ancient Mesopotamia.

3 Sept 9 - 15 Ancient Egyptian, Aegean • Ancient Egyptian science
• Greek Pre-Socratic natural philosophers settled in colonies around the Aegean Sea.
4 Sept 16 - 22 Greek science This week we explore science in ancient Greece, focusing upon three of the most influential scientists who have ever lived: Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle.
5 Sept 23 - 29 Hellenistic science This week we explore science in the Hellenistic period, the time between the conquests of Alexander the Great and the rise of the Roman empire. This is the period, after Alexander, when the Mesopotamian accomplishments we explored earlier became widely known in the Mediterranean. During the Hellenistic period, the intellectual center of activity shifted from Athens to Alexandria, Egypt; being Greek referred not to someone who lived in one of the little city states, but to a new world culture that spread as a unifying force throughout the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia. Figures whose work we will explore in both medicine and the mathematical sciences include Euclid, Archimedes, Erasistratos, Eratosthenes, Hipparchos and others.
6 Sept 30 - Oct 6 Roman science This week we explore science in the Roman empire, including the work of Lucretius, Cicero, Ptolemy, Galen, Hypatia, Pliny, Bede, Macrobius, Basil, Augustine and others.
Medieval and Islamic science
7 Oct 7 - 13 Islamic and Early Medieval science

This week we explore science in Islamic civilizations and in early Medieval Europe, including the work of Ibn Sina, al-Ghazzali, Ibn al-Haytham, Ibn Rushd, al-Tusi, Hildegard of Bingen, Thomas Aquinas, Robert Grosseteste, Albertus Magnus, and the rise of universities.

8 Oct 21 - 27 14th century science • This week we explore science in late medieval Europe, the 1300's or 14th century, the era of Dante and Chaucer, including the work of Jean Buridan, Nicole Oresme, William Ockham and Theodoric of Freiberg.
• In addition, we take 14th-century ideas as a convenient opportunity to survey Theories of the Earth from antiquity through early modern times.
Early Modern science
9 Oct 28 - Nov 3 15th century science This week we explore science in the Italian Renaissance, the 1400's, "Quattrocento," or 15th century, the era of Michelangelo and Raphael, the century of Leonardo da Vinci, humanism, Neoplatonism, and the hermetic tradition, with special emphases upon the printing press and the relations between art and science from Leonardo to Galileo.
10 Nov 4 - 10 16th Century Natural History & Medicine This week we explore science in the 16th century, the 1500's, the century of the Reformation, the era of Vesalius, early printed herbals, the natural history of the New World, Paracelsus, Henry VIII and Shakespeare.
11 Nov 11 - 17 16th Century Astronomy This week we explore science in the 16th century, the 1500's, the century of the Reformation, the era of Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Johann Kepler.
12   Science in Asia This week we explore science in pre-modern Asia, including China, Japan, India and Korea; and discover the remarkable story of European and Chinese collaboration in the age of Galileo.
13 Nov 18 - Dec 1 Galileo This week we explore the life and works of Galileo.
Spring Break
14 Dec 2 - Dec 8 17th century This week we explore competing paradigms of science and the meaning of science in the 17th century, the 1600's, the century of Galileo, Descartes, William Harvey, Francis Bacon, Robert Boyle, Maria Cunitz, Isaac Newton and the rise of early scientific societies and museums.
15 Dec 9 - 14 Isaac Newton This week we explore the life and works of Isaac Newton, coupled with a "Janus" perspective on the history of science, taking both forward and backward glances on the story of science from antiquity to the present.

Finals week: Dec 15-19. All assignments due by 11:59 p.m. on Dec 15; Wikipedia Editing Project substitutes for Final Exam

"How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!" Henry David Thoreau

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HSCI 3013. History of Science to 17th centuryCreative Commons license
Kerry Magruder, Instructor, 2004
Brent Purkaple, TA

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Many thanks to the pedagogical model developed in Mythology and Folklore and other online courses by Laura Gibbs, which have been an inspiration for this course.

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This course is currently undergoing major reconstruction to bring it into alignment with the new version of the course at Janux