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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Science, Technology and Innovation Studies

Undergraduate Course: History of Science 1 (STIS08005)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIntroductory survey of the development of scientific thought from Ancient Civilizations into the Twenty First Century. Paying attention to developments in astronomy, mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, space and computer science, the course discusses major shifts in thinking, e.g. Greek philosophy, the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, and the role of science in the wars of the Twentieth Century. The course aims to show how non-scientific factors, like religion and politics, have had a profound effect on the development of science and its methods, as well as considering the impact of science on society in modern times. The course is appropriately combined with History of Medicine 1.
Course description The course aims to provide a broad overview of some of the most salient developments in the history of science. These include the influence of Ancient Greek philosophy and Christian theology on the origins of modern scientific thinking, the development of the experimental method, of modern views on the nature of the cosmos, of Newtonian science, and of theories of biological evolution. In addition, we will look at the more recent history of science, covering the industrial revolution and the role of science in World Wars I and II and their aftermath including the space race, the increasing importance of ICT in science and the development of the Human Genome Project. It should provide an understanding of the intellectual bases of these developments as well as the chronological framework within which they took place.

This is a lecture-based course, providing three lectures per week which are accompanied by required and optional readings. In addition, we will be interactively engaging with the history of science through: a. the exploration of Edinburgh as a city that contributed to the history of science and in which you will find the history of science on the streets, b. a visit to the National Museum of Scotland. The course is cross-discipline and open to students with backgrounds in humanities, social and natural sciences.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Available to all first and second year students
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 30, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessed by a short essay 30% and a long essay (70%) 2,000. Submitted via ELMA In order to pass the course, the long essay must be passed.
Feedback In the assessments we evaluate your ability to describe and discuss developments in the history of science in their cultural context, based on set questions. Formative feedback will be provided in writing during the course (for the short assessment) and after the course for the long essay. During the course there is an opportunity to discuss both the assessments and the feedback.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe the main stages in the changing nature and organisation of Western science, from Ancient Civilizations into the early Twenty First Century
  2. Discuss the dominant idea about the nature of the physical world in different historical periods, and appreciate how these ideas change over time
  3. Discuss how ideas about the natural world and practices associated with those ideas relate to the wider social and cultural context in which they are articulated
  4. Critically evaluate the use of historical evidence in historical argument
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr William Jenkins
Tel: (0131 6)50 3994
Course secretaryMr Alexander Dysart
Tel: (0131 6)51 5197
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