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SCIENCE FROM 700 TO 1700: THE CHANGE FROM ASKING WHY TO ASKING HOW

David Wolfe, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of New Mexico, volunteer coordinator for South Africa, UK Institute of Physics.

This five-lecture course on the development of the idea of scientific enquiry starts with Boethius and ends with Isaac Newton. It will concentrate mostly on the physical sciences but include as much of the history of the times as possible. Various inventions will be discussed, including stirrups, paper, blast furnace and printing. With translations of Greek works and the rediscovery of Aristotle, the development of science was remarkable, much of it nearly approaching Newton’s revolutionary ideas. The development of mathematics was equally spectacular. History has tended to glorify the Renaissance, leading to a denigration of developments in the Middle Ages and therefore the loss of much important history. The course ends with the Copernican Revolution, Descartes, interesting ideas of motion, Galileo, and the revolution of Isaac Newton.

 

LECTURE TITLES

1. In the beginning

2. The Renaissance of the twelfth century and the development of scholasticism

3. Thirteenth and fourteenth centuries: Buridan, Oresme and others

4. In the time of Copernicus and Brahe

5. Descartes and Newton

 

Recommended reading

Crombie, A.C. 1952. Augustine to Galileo. London: Falcon.

Rummel, E. (ed.). 2008. Biblical Humanism and Scholasticism in the Age of Erasmus, Boston: Brill.

Martin, C. 2014. Subverting Aristotle: Religion, History and Philosophy in Early Modern Science. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Glick, T., Livesey, S. & Wallis, F. (eds.). 2017. Medieval Science, Technology and Medicine, An Encyclopedia. London: Routledge.

 

 

Date: 14 – 18 January 
Time: 11.15 am
COURSE FEES Full: R550,00  Staff and Students R275,00
Venue: LT2 Kramer Law Building UCT