The History of Science
History 30B, Fall 2001

Lectures M W F 11-12, room 120 Moffitt
Professor Richard von Mayrhauser
Office hours: M 2-4, W and F 9-10 (or by appointment), 2207 Dwinelle

Discussion sections Tu 10-12, room 331 LeConte,
and F 2-4, room 123 Dwinelle
TA Susan Groppi
Office hours: M 1-2:30 (or by appointment), 2210 Dwinelle

[ Announcements | Course Syllabus | Lectures | Related Sites ]


Final Wednesday, December 12, 12:30 to 3:30, in 155 Kroeber

This is your opportunity to investigate as issue that has piqued your curiosity of interest over the course of the semester. Write a five-page paper on a topic of your choice - examples include, but are not limited to, a person, a concept, a method, a law (scientific), an institution, an instrument, or an assumption. History papers generally focus on change over time, and historians strive to demonstrate how or explain why change occurred. You might want to structure your narrative around an interesting problem which may or may not have been resolved in the time period you are discussing (or since). This paper need not contain extensive footnoting, although you should cite your sources (refer to Kate Turabian's handbook or the Chicago Manual of Style) of sources you use.
(At latest, the paper can be turned in *BY 4 PM* 11/21 in 3229 Dwinelle. This room will be locked soon after 4, so don't be late!)
Please feel free to contact the professor about your work at or, or Susan at

Course Syllabus

All of the assigned reading will be on reserve in Moffitt Library.
Books available for purchase are:


Lawrence Badash, Scientists and the Development of Nuclear Weapons: From Fission to the Limited Test Ban Treaty, 1939-1963 (Humanities Press).
Peter J. Bowler, Evolution: the History of an Idea. Revised edition (california).
Thomas Hankins, Science and the Enligtnment (Cambridge).
H. G. Wells, The Time Machine (Dover)
Roger Smith, The Norton History of the Human Sciences
History 30B Reader, available at Odin Readers, 2146 Center Street.


Mortimer Chambers et al., The Western Experience. Volume C: The Modern Era. 7th Edition (McGraw-Hill)

Readings by Topic

I. Science in the Eighteenth Century
Hankins, 1-112
Smith, 157-368
Reader: Voltaire, d'Alembert, Encyclopedie, Kant, Smith, Condorcet, Godwin, Malthus

II. Evolution
Bowler, 1-13, 26-186
Reader: Rudwick, Darwin, Sedgwich, Owen, Poe, Huxley
Smith, 388-402, 452-477

III. Science Established
Bowler, 187-306
Smith, 371-388, 402-451, 477-572
Wells, all
Reader: Ben-David and Kelves
Suggested: Chambers et al, 746-756, 773-791, 822-830, 844-868

IV. Science in the Twentieth Century
Badash, all
Bowler, 307-364
Smith, 575-745, 799-861
Reader: Kelves, Hughes, Bliss, Swann
Suggested: Chambers et al, 1036-1102

Discussion Participation, Papers, Examinations
Participation in discussion section and completion of section assignments are important parts of this course. In addition to section assignments, a five-page paper on a topic related to the course will be due on Wednesday, November 21. There will be one mid-term and one final examination. Twenty percent of the course grade will be determined by the midterm, twenty-five percent by the five-page paper, thirty percent by the discussion section, and twenty-five percent by the final examination. The final examination will be held on Wednesday, December 12, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.


08/27 Introduction
          Abstraction, Nature, Reason, Gravitation, Force, Analysis, Experiment

I. Science in the Eighteenth Century

08/29 Mathematics and Mechanism
           Read: Hankins - ch.1-2; Reader - Voltaire
           Enlightenment Contributions and Paradoxes:
           Humanitarianism vs. destructive technology
           Freedom/natural rights vs. mechanism and determinism
           Pantheism, Deism, Theism, Polygon Curve, Clockwork Universe
08/31 Physical Experimentation
           Read: next 2 sections in reader
           Universal Law of Gravity, physical experimentation, Inverse Square Law
           Subtle Fluids, "Symmer's Socks," Ben Franklin, Andeis Celsius, Ben Thompson
           Rene Descartes, Newton, Mechanics, Voltaire, Madame du Chatelet
           Celestial Mechanics, Ellipse, Equal Areas in Equal Times
09/03 [Labor Day]
09/05 Analyzing Air and the Chemistry of Combustion
           Read: Reader - through Kant; Hankins - through Chemistry
           Electricity, Magnetism
           Two-Fluid Theory - Vitreous, Resinous; One-Fluid Theory
           Leyden Jar, Ben Franklin, Fixed Air, Phlogistin/Dephlogisticated Air, Lavoisier,
           Fluid Heat Theory, Latent Heat
09/07 Enlightenment Culture
           Read: Smith - section on Locke
           Encyclopedie, Diderot, D'Alembert, Observation, Hypothesis, Direct Knowledge,
           Socio-Intellectual Hierarchy, Tutelage, Public Freedom, Private Freedom
09/10 The Rise of Naturalistic Human Science
           Read: skim Smith 184-215, read 215-300
           Statues at St. Germaine, Pineal Gland, Tabula Rasa, Sensations,
           Locke and "ideas", Primary and Secondary Qualities
09/12 Is Humanity Mechanical? Is Society Natural?
           Read: Smith - 301-336, reader - 52-61
           La Mettrie and L'Homme Machine (1747), Ideologie, Determinism (hard/soft),
           Faculty Psychology, Natural Theology, David Hume, Habit and Evolution,
           After Locke, Sensibility and Sex
09/14 Economics and Statistics
           Read: Smith - 337-368
09/17 The New Science and Popular Sciences
           Read: through chapter on Vico and Natural Science (Smith?)
           wild boy of Aveyron, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788), phsiognomy,
           J. J. Rousseau (1712-1788): "natural man", Johnann Pestalozzi (1746-1827),
           David Hume (1711-1776): "sympathy", Claude Helvetius (1751-1771),
           Charles Mentesquieu (1689-1755), Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797),
           Adam Ferguson (1743-1794), Marquis do Condorcet (1723-1816)
09/19 Review - also see timeline (txt) (doc)
           Read: Bowler, 26-81
           William Petty (1623-1687), Economic Man, Adam Smith (1723-1790), "Invisible Hand",
           Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), panopticon, Parson Thos. Malthus (1766-1834),
           Giambattista Vico (1668-1744), Johann Herder (1744-1803), Philology and Volk,
           G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831), Phenomenology

Mock Essay Questions:
1) Drawing on three areas of change in the ways humans explained natural forces, describe the development of more abstract methods and concepts.
2) Explain why and describe how three notable ways of comprehending natural phenomena failed, and became replaced by alternative concepts.
3) Describe the challenges of Enlightenment culture to the traditional socio-intellectual hierarchy.

II. Evolution

09/21 Eighteenth Century Background
           Read: Bowler, 81-150
           Nebular hypothesis, Neptunism, Vulcanism, Buffon and "degeneration,"
           Uniformitarianism, Catastrophism, Design argument,
           The "Chain of Being", Linnaeus and binomial nomenclature
09/24 Lamarck and Cuvier
           Read: Reader, Rudwick (65-102)
           "Germ Theory" of preformation, Transmutation, Spontaneous generation,
           "Internal Mold", Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Inheritance of acquired characteristics,
           George Cuvier, Correlation of Parts
09/26 How the Earth Developed
           Read: handout (handed out 9/24 in class)
09/28 Scientific Views on Race Before Darwin
           Read: bowler 151-186
           Monogenesis/polygenesis, Samuel S. Smith, samuel G. Morton, Phrenology
10/01 The Voyage on the Beagle
           Read: reader 103-142
           Population thinking, Hard heredity, Biogeography, Artificial selection, A. R. Wallace
10/03 The Emergence of Natural Selection Theory
           Read: Bowler 187-245
           sexual selection, varieties vs. species, intecrossing of individuals, divergence of character
10/05 "Warfare" between Science and Religion
           Read: reader 136-139
10/08 Review

Mock essay questions:
1) Agree or disagree with the following: "The theory of natural selection bears a little resemblance to some earlier theories -- in geology, biology, and paleontology -- but it actually differs decisively from all previous descussion of the beginning, changes, and extinction of species."
2) Agree or disagree with the following: "Regarding human morality, Darwiniams want to eat their cake and have it too. From Darwin's early career, through preparation of the Origin of Species, to his response to scientific and religious critics, Darwin and his followers have struggled to connect and disconnect human morality to/from the rest of the animal kingdom."

10/10 Midterm Examination

III. Science Established

10/12 Electromagnetism and Field Theory
           read: Reader, 145-170
           Voltaic pile, Immanuel Kant's transcendental aesthetic,
           Faraday's law of induction, Field theory
10/15 Continental Institutions
           read: Reader, 173-187
           scientism, lehrfreiheit, lernfreiheit, wilhelm v. humboldt
10/17 British and American Institutions
           read: Smith, 421-451
           industrial revolution; british and american institutions, thermodynamics
10/19 Making Society Scientific: Comte and Marx
           Read: Smith, 371-388, 407-420, 492-529
           Functionalism (sociological and psychological), Positivism, Marxian ideology,
           Historicism (as in Comte's and Marx's histories of science), Base and superstructure
10/22 The Scientific Disciplines of Psychology and History
           Read: Smith, 388-406, 530-565, 628-630
           First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, J (Joule), Entropy;
           Wie es geschehen ist, "germ theory" of historical development, Frontier Thesis,
           Structuralism, Functionalism (psychology)
10/24 Physical and Cultural Anthropology
           Read: catch up or read ahead!
           L'Homme Moyen, anomie, Ideal Type, Goal-oriented, value-oriented
10/26 Scientific Management and the Corporation
           Read: Smith, 452-491, 565-572
           aphasia, Omnis cultur ex cultura, Vertical and Horizontal Integration, Frederick W. Taylor
10/29 Hereditarianism and Eugenics
           Read: Wells, The Time Machine (all)
           Eugenics: positive, negative; Correlation coefficient; IQ equation
10/31 Science Fiction
           No reading, no IDs - review
11/02 Review
           Read: Smith, 636-659, 701-725

Mock Essay Questions:
1) To what degree was there a shift away from Newtonian analysis during the nineteenth century? Can it be said that an alternative approach to describing and theorizing nature arose in both the natural sciences (e.g. physics, chemistry, biology) AND the human sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology, etc.)?
2) Describe the transition in science from "the amateur" to "the professional", between c. 1750-1950. To define these ideal types and the development between them, give specific examples of ideas, methods, and institutions (and persons).
3) Did science and technology contribute to social values and practices that promoted individualism, or did they contribute to social values and practices that emphasized the welfare of society over the interests of individuals? Make an argument one way or the other and use specific evidence of particular thinkers, concepts, institutions, technologies, etc., which addressed the issues of individualism within modern societies.

IV. Science in the Twentieth Century

11/05 Behaviorism and the Science of the Unconscious
           Read: reader, 188-209
           Conditional reflex; Law of Effect; S-R bond; Transference; The talking cure; Id, ego, superego
11/07 The Rise of Chemical Industry
           Read: reader, 210-220
           Vitalism and chemical synthesis, Inorganic and organic chemistry, Emil Fischer, phosgene gas
11/09 The Terrible Success of Science in WWI
           Read: reader, 223-237; Smith, 580-599
11/12 [Veteran's Day]
11/14 "Putting Psychology on the Map": Mental Testing and the Army
           Read: handout (handed out in class)
11/16 Quantum Theory and Relativity
           Read: Badash, 1-47
           aptitude, quanta, electron, photon, Michelson-Morley Experiment
11/19 The Manhattan Project
           Special theory, mc^2, Transformation, General theory, Radioactive transmutation, fission
11/21 The Atomic Bomb I
           Read: Badash, 47-114
11/23 [Thanksgiving Holiday]
11/26 Atomic Bomb II
           Read: reader, 241-286
           AEC, "super", military-industrial complex, Edward Teller, "MAD", NDRC, OSRD, Cyclotron
11/28 Atomic Bomb III
           Read: reader, 287-320
11/30 Insulin, Penicillin, and other Medical Advances
           read: Smith, 832-870
           zymotic theory, homeostasis, diabetes mellitus
12/03 Cybernetics, Information Science, and Computers
           Read: Smith, 764-783 and 799-832
           Genetic epistemology, Client-centered therapy, Self-actualization, existentialism
12/05 New Methods of Social Control
           Hawthorne Experiment, Information Technology, Consensus and Conflict
12/07 Review

Mock Essay Questions:
1) Agree or disagree with the following:
"Since the Industrial Revolution began over two hundred years ago, the relationship of professional scientists and industrial business leaders has been decidedly one-sided. Namely, profit-seeking business leaders have not only exploited scientific and technological advances - in chemistry and psychology, among other areas - but also dictated the services of scientists under their control. Whether as employees or consultants, scientists have become "servants of power," that is, economic power."
Give examples of interactions and negotiations to support your claim. To what degree to scientists compromise themselves, or refuse to compromise and assert their own interests?
2) To answer the following, you may speak conterfactually, in considering what might have happened but didn't. However, you must refer to actual facts in order to persuade.
"Could the Manhattan Project scientists have changed the course of history, that is, the development of atomic and thermonuclear warheads? If so, how and when? If not, how and when did it become clear that the 'Faustian bargain' could not be overturned?"
3) How has the Enlightenment dream of intellectual and humanitarian progress, which would advance the human condition through the advancement of scientific knowledge, fared in the twentieth century? Make an argument about whether this dream remains, or is no longer possible. You might consider this vision in relation to other related promises of the Enlightenment, such as freedom from oppressive political and social control, and equality of opportunity. Have new technologies and conceptualizations of human thinking and behavior produced a new gain for culture and civilization?

12/10 Review session, 3-5, 109 Dwinelle
12/12 Final Examination, 12:30 - 3:30, 155 Kroeber

Related Sites

Famous Parametric Curves
Re-create Symmer's Socks
review of The Mismeasure of Man, a book on the history of intelligence classification
History of Science reference site

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