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AP/HIST2250 3.0M : Revolutions in the Stars: Science in the Age of Galileo

Term W : LECT

Instructor(s) :

Schotte, Margaret E.

Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

This course surveys the major developments of the 'Scientific Revolution' (c.1500-1700), when technical, theoretical and geographical discoveries gave rise to new understandings of the natural world. Celebrated astronomer, engineer, inventor and author Galileo serves as a focal point, bridging the worlds of famous theoreticians (Copernicus, Vesalius, and Newton) and of anonymous artisans and midwives. Prerequisites: None. Co-requisites: None. Course credit exclusions: SC/STS 3760 3.00.

Course Website

Many courses utilize Moodle, York University's course website system. If your course is using Moodle, refer to the image below to access it.

Expanded Course Description

Galileo Galilei is one of the great figures in the history of science. His support for the idea of a sun-centred universe famously led to dramatic conflict with the Catholic church in the 1630s. But Galileo was far more than an astronomer: over his lifetime he was an engineer, inventor, and physicist, a professor, ambitious courtier, father, and an admired author whose books were banned for centuries. In this course Galileo serves as our entry point to examine the major scientific developments of the 16th and 17th centuries, when technical, theoretical and geographical discoveries gave rise to new understandings of the natural world. By investigating the innovations of famous theoreticians of the “Scientific Revolution” alongside the contributions of midwives, sailors, and astrologers, we will ultimately ask new questions about the authoritative nature of modern science and medicine.

The course focuses on the proliferation of information, ideas, and theories of the natural world—from the smallest flea to the remote heavens. When, how and why did scientists begin dissecting human bodies; inventing telescopes and microscopes to extend the boundaries of the visible world; and developing complex mathematical models to describe the solar system? This introduction to the field of History of Science uses contemporary sources and modern digital tools to help provide a clearer understanding of the emergence of modern scientific knowledge, and the debates inherent in it.

This course will teach critical thinking via analysis of primary and secondary sources. Students will demonstrate learning in written papers, a collaborative timeline, and classroom participation, and they will engage with peers in discussion of historical source-material and arguments. Finally, this course will teach communication via informal and formal writing assignments and in-class participation.


Weighting of Course

Tentative Grade Breakdown/Overview of Assessment:

Participation: 20%

In-Class Debate: 15%

‘Time Line’ Entries: 20%

Midterm: 20%

Final Exam: 25%

Additonal Information / Notes

NOTE: Prior to buying textbooks, students should consult the detailed course outline which will give the final versions of the weekly syllabus and the detailed breakdown of assignments with weighting and due dates.  The course outline will be posted in Moodle and discussed on the first day of class.

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