What is the history of science?

When we think about the past, we think about history. 카지노사이트 When we think about the future, we think about science. Science builds upon its past, but also, simultaneously, denies it. As the Romantic essayist Thomas de Quincey claimed, for working scientists Isaac Newton’s Principia of 1687 has no more value than an outdated cookbook. What then does a history of science look like?

Science has been made over thousands of years by people from a diversity of cultural traditions. Activities such as experiment originated in Renaissance pharmacies, kitchens and artisan workshops; evolutionary theory drew on sources ranging from sheep breeding to the economics of human populations; astronomy emerged from attempts to read the heavenly language of the stars.

The history of science itself developed as a discipline in Europe and North America during the late 19th century, as a way of charting the rise of a distinctively modern world under European domination. Science seemed uniquely a product of the white men in the west. In recent years, however, historians of science have turned this view on its head, so that science is understood as the outcome of global interaction, conflict and exchange. The rise of the universities as a key site for learning in medieval Europe, the reorganisation of scientific disciplines in the decades around 1800 and the rise of genomics and computing in the late 20th century: these and other pivotal episodes are part of changes in cross-cultural commerce and trade.

Science, which has often aimed to establish universal standards, has close connections with the history of empires, from Assyria, Egypt and the Americas to China and India. It has been at the service of princely courts, the military and other centres of power. At the same time, however, the ‘scientist’ (a modern word, dating from the 19th century) is often recognised as having a special kind of moral authority, associated with ideals of detached expertise and neutral objectivity.

Nothing in our culture seems more 바카라사이트 objective than ‘nature’: but how did that come to be the case? The history of science helps us to understand how things we now take for granted, from the circulation of the blood to the existence of black holes, have been accepted. This requires looking at knowledge in the making, with false starts and wrong directions taken just as seriously as what now appear as brilliant insights. It also means looking at how consensus is established, the diverse range of activities that go into the making of science, and how science becomes part of everyday life.

Historians of science do not simply chronicle progress towards the present, nor do they search for the origins of a one-size-fits-all scientific method. Instead, they ask how discovery became identified as a key feature of science, and how different methods have arisen in different subjects. They look to the material traces of the past, preserved as instruments, maps, clay tablets, palm leaf manuscripts, archaeological remains, and books. The range of skills and methods needed to interrogate these materials means that historians of science are found in a remarkable variety of places, from dedicated academic departments and science studies units to libraries and museums.온라인카지

Perhaps more than just about any other subject, the history of science challenges profound divisions in our disciplinary map of knowledge. If you walk down Carlton House Terrace, home of Britain’s learned academies, it’s easy to be confused. Where is the history of science? At Nos 6-9 the Royal Society has a fine library and journal in the field, part of its mission for ‘improving natural knowledge’. But just next door at Nos 10-11 is the British Academy, where the history of science interacts with the full range of other humanities and social science subjects.

Perhaps awkward questions are important to ask.

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