|HISTSCI 295V - Scientific Biographies (160707 – Section 001)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences Fall 2015-2016
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4:00 p.m. - 5:59 p.m.
Description: Scientific Biography is a genre with a history. A history, in fact, that can teach us a lot about how our view of science and knowledge and truth and art have changed over time, ever since the Greeks. In this course, we will be reading biographies of scientists from different fields - physics, mathematics, biology, geology, astronomy, medicine ? and different historical times, closely examining both the art and craft of biography, as well as its changing historical contexts. Some of the characters we will meet include Pythagoras, Descartes, Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Marie and Pierre Curie, Barbara McClintock, and George Price. Using literature, plays, film, and art - we will see how biographies of scientists have evolved, and continue to change dramatically, and why that?s meaningful and important. But the course will also deal with biographies of a different kind ? of ideas, objects, diseases, even equations. Here we?ll encounter, among others, Lonesome George the Galapagos turtle, E=mc2, H2O, and cancer. Using literary, philosophical, scientific, and historical analysis, we?ll ask how the evolution of the genre of scientific biography can be used as a prism to understand broad developments in the sciences themselves, as well as in the history of science as a discipline.
Location: Science Ctr 359 (FAS)