Website & E-mail:
Purposes of this course:
* Improving reading, writing, & speaking skills.
* Learning how scientific ideas develop in specific circumstances.
* Practicing analyzing & interpreting facts in historical context.
* Practicing thinking historically & asking thoughtful questions.
* Readings notebook
* Take-home essays
* In-class writings
Attendance & Breaks:
* attendance is required for all classes & evening study sessions
* 15 minute break each morning session
Individual & Group Participation:
* each student is expected to actively participate and contribute to general class discussions
* each student will also participate in small groups
* please be polite, use common courtesy with everyone in the class
2) Background to Newton [Tuesday, July 20]
* Greco-Roman philosophy/Aristotle, Ptolemy, Galen
* medieval universities & translation/Scholasticism
* Renaissance humanism/A Scientific Revolution?
* Mechanical Philosophy: Mersenne, Gassendi, Descartes, and others
* Protestant Reformation/Cavaliers versus Roundheads
3) Newton's Natural Philosophy: Part I. [Wednesday, July 21]
* early life & education: Cambridge, geometry, & experiment
* theories of gravity: Hypotheses non fingo?
* theories of light: Hypotheses non fingo?
* two different traditions: Principia & Opticks
* Sir Isaac Newton: The Gravity of Genius [VIDEO]
4) Newton's Natural Philosophy: Part II. [Thursday, July 22]
* Never a deist: Newton's roles for the Divine
* Reaction to Newton's work: British & Continental
* popularization: Newton for the public
* deism, materialism, & atheism: Newton and religion
5) Newtonians & the Age of Reason [Friday, July 23]
* apotheosis of Sir Isaac Newton: Enlightenment ideals
* what's a "Newtonian"?: flavors of Newtonianism
* experimental philosophy & mathematical physics
* the triumph of "Newtonianism"?
7) Changing Views of Man & Nature [Tuesday, July 27]
* Human Nature & Society: Laws to be discovered
* Adam Smith & Thomas Malthus: Laissez Faire Economics
* Geology (1800-1859): Charles Lyell
* Paley, Cuvier, & Chambers
8) Charles Darwin [Wednesday, July 28]
* early life & education
* Voyage of the Beagle: Galapagos Islands
* development of a theory: natural selection
* Alfred Russell Wallace & publication: Origin of Species
* Charles Darwin: Evolution's Voice [VIDEO]
9) Reception of Darwinism [Thursday, July 29]
* promoting evolution: T. H. Huxley, Asa Gray
* objections to natural selection
* Purpose & Progress in Nature: Theistic Evolution
* Religious & Moral Problems
10) Darwinism Applied: Used, Misused, & Abused [Friday, July 30]
* "Social Darwinism": Society & Imperialism
* Herbert Spencer: Survival of the Fittest
* Eugenics: Selective Breeding for Humanity
* "Darwinism": the broader impact?
12) Albert Einstein [Tuesday, August 3]
* youth & education
* 1905: annus mirabilis (the "marvelous year")
* the special theory of relativity: riding a beam of light?
* photoelectric effect: packets of light?
* NOVA: Einstein Revealed: Part One [VIDEO]
13) Einstein's Age [Wednesday, August 4]
* World War I & Uncertainty * Quantum Theory & Uncertainty
* Desperate times, simple answers: Nationalism & Antisemitism
* 1915: general theory of relativity
* NOVA: Einstein Revealed: Part Two [VIDEO]
14) Einstein's Impact [Thursday, August 5]
* Impact on Physics: Relativity
* Impact on Physics: The Quantum
* Popular Reception of Relativity
* Cultural Resonances: Philosophy, Visual Art, Literature
15) Class Conclusion [Friday, August 6]
* wrapping up: final discussion
* significance of Newton, Darwin, Einstein
* importance of science?
* importance of history?