This is an archived course. A more recent version may be available at

Archived Versions

Study Materials

After each lecture, students receive a list of keywords (names, scientific terms, institutions, titles of publications, and quotations) mentioned in the lecture. These lists are used for reviewing material. During exams, the instructor gives students selected keywords to identify and explain their significance.

Week 1. The legacy of the scientific revolution
1 Introduction: the rise of modern science  
2 The legacy of the scientific revolution (PDF)
Weeks 2-3. Enlightenment science
3 Science in the enlightenment (PDF)
4 Natural history and colonialism  
5 Enlightenment chemistry (PDF)
Weeks 4-5. The nineteenth century: organism and mechanism
6 Romantic science (PDF)
7 The science of life  
8 Thermodynamics and the industrial revolution (PDF)
9 Physics and the telegraph  
Weeks 6-7. Evolution
10 Darwin and natural selection (PDF)
11 Evolution and society  
12 Scientific medicine (PDF)
  Midterm exam  
Weeks 8-9. Fin-de-siècle and the crisis of objectivity
13 The image of objectivity (PDF)
14 Freud and the science of the mind  
15 Relativity theory and Swiss clocks (PDF)
16 Quantum mechanics and postwar culture  
Weeks 10-11. Science and war
17 Science and World War II (PDF)
18 Sputnik and the origins of the space race  
19 Physics and the cold war (PDF)
Weeks 12-13. Genetics and society
20 Eugenics (PDF)
21 Molecular biology  
22 The race for the human genome (PDF)
23 Genetic engineering  
Week 14. Science in the 21st century
24 Science in the 21st century (PDF)
25 Course overview