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History of Science



First-year programme.

Admissions requirements



Science evidently plays a central role in the modern world. Every day we rely on science-based technology and the counsel of scientific experts on matters of public interest. Moreover, science informs our view of the world and of ourselves. To investigate how this situation came about, the present course covers over 2000 years of history of science and society. It provides a general overview of their complex interrelation, switching back and forth between often subtle and technical issues and major changes in worldviews, between the pondering minds of individual scientists and the cultural context in which they operated. Included among the subjects are: the Aristotelian worldview, science in the Arabic world, the Copernican Revolution, Darwin’s theory of evolution, modern physics, and science and warfare. One of the major aims of this course is to go beyond the familiar myths of the history of science – e.g. the myth of the irresolvable conflict between science and religion, the myth of scientific discovery as a “eureka moment”, and the myth of the scientific method – and to learn about the complexities and contingencies of scientific practice and the interdependency of science and society. This is not only important for our understanding of the past, but equally so for our grip on the world of today.

Course objectives

  • The student can characterize different scientific worldviews throughout history.

  • The student can characterize the relation between science and culture.

  • The student is able to use examples from the history of science to illustrate how
    science works.

  • The student has acquired basic academic skills, including interpreting historical sources, using the (digital) library to find academic literature, and combining both to write original papers within a scientific framework.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Two seminars per week (2 hrs each). Attendance of class meetings is compulsory for students.


Weekly assignments 30%
Written examination 30%
Final essay 40%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Patricia Fara, Science: a Four-Thousand Year History (Oxford 2009). ISBN-13: 860-1405345462 ISBN-10: 0199580278.

Primary sources will be made available on blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Daan Wegener: