Portal:History of science

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The History of Science Portal

An 18th-century astrolabe

The content of science, as well as the meaning of the very idea of science, has continually evolved since the rise of modern science and before. The history of science is concerned with the paths that led to our present knowledge as well as those that were abandoned (and thus overlaps with the history of ideas, history of philosophy and intellectual history), and seeks to explain past beliefs—even those now considered erroneous—in their social, cultural and intellectual contexts. It also forms the foundation of the philosophy of science and the sociology of science, as well as the interdisciplinary field of science, technology, and society, and is closely related to the history of technology.

Bold text--Asma khan123Italic text-History is one of the oldest subjects of study. By history we understand the breadth, comprehensiveness, variety and extent of learning experi­ences, provided by the study of a particular subject. The growth of history has accompanied with the growth of human race. Thus history and man are inter-related or that history is a story of human race from beginning up to the present day.

History at present is no more confined to the study of political activities of man but it also includes a study of his achievements in the physical, social, economic, religious, philosophical, literary, artistic, cultural, industrial, technological and scientific fields, starting from ancient times up to the modern age. In this way its scope is very wide and varied in fact as wide as the world and as long as the existence of man on earths.

History links the present of mankind with his past. We cannot say that future is outside the scope of history. Experiences of history will form the history of tomorrow and in this way history is connected with future as well.

The most interesting fact about the extent and comprehensiveness of history is that today we hear of “History of Art,” “History of Culture,” History of Civilization,” “History of Religion,” “History of Music,” “History of Geography,”"History of Physics,” “History of Philosophy,” “History of Education,” “History of Biology,” “History of the Atom,” “History of Literature,” “History of Mathematics,” and History of what not.

A learned speaker on a political, religious, literary or any other platform connected with any field of human activity, will place before his audience pure and simple history, connected with the life and achievements of some past of great human beings and nothing else. This makes the scope of history almost limitless, which knows no ends and also speaks of the importance of history as a teaching subject in schools and colleges.

Thus, history has expanded both vertically and horizontally. Its close connection with the allied fields of human sciences, has given new effects to historical studies.

In the words of Lord Action, “If the past has been an obstacle and a burden, a knowledge of past is the safest and surest emancipation”.

In the words of E. Lewis Hasluck, “knowledge of history illumines the whole of human life. It adds to our knowledge of the existing state of world, a knowledge in which the human society and institution has grown up, a knowledge for future.”

From the above discussion at becomes clear that the subject of history has no frontiers and that it is limitless and fathomless ocean, with no ends in view. However for instructional purposes in schools and colleges, we have to limit its scope and frontiers.

For deriving fullest benefit of historical studies, we should place before our students the broad out-lines of development down the ages on one hand and the detailed study of a short period of history, on the other.

The former will provide the whole sweep of the story of the past while die latter will give die varied aspects of the life of a people for a chosen period. In this way bodies the vertical and horizontal aspects of story will be studied together and provide full benefit to the education of our rising generation.

Periodization in the historiography of science is usually oriented around the Scientific Revolution that culminated in the work of Isaac Newton. In this scheme, science (or more precisely, natural philosophy) before Copernicus was pre-modern science. European and Islamic science from antiquity to the 16th century was primarily derived from the work of Aristotle and other Greek philosophers (though historians now recognize the significant influence of Chinese knowledge as well); it included alchemy, astrology, and other subjects no longer considered as scientific, as well as the precursors of the modern sciences. Science (still in the form of natural philosophy) from roughly the late 16th century until the early- to mid-19th century was early-modern science; the birth of the experimental method in the 17th and 18th centuries is often considered a central event in the history of science. The 19th century saw the professionalization and secularization of science and the creation of independent scientific disciplines; modern science can denote science since this period (in distinction to early-modern), all science since Newton (in distinction to pre-modern), or simply science as practiced now.

More about History of Science...

Selected article

Deutsche Physik (literally: "German Physics") or Aryan Physics was the name given to a reactionary movement in the German physics community in the early 1930s against the work of Albert Einstein, labeled Jewish Physics. The term was taken from the title of a 4-volume physics textbook by Philipp Lenard in the 1930s.

The movement itself began as an extension of a German nationalist movement in the physics community which went back as far as World War I. A number of German physicists, including Wilhelm Wien and the especially passionate Philipp Lenard had then signed a number of "declarations" that there was a need to remove a perceived unfair amount of British influence from physics (such as the renaming of German-discovered phenomena with perceived English-derived names, such as "X-ray" instead of "Röntgen ray"), and a declaration of the national character of science as a method of emphasising local differences in theory and practice.

When the Nazis entered the political scene, Lenard quickly attempted to ally himself with them, joining the party long before it was fashionable to do so. With another Nobel Prize in Physics laureate, Johannes Stark, Lenard began a core campaign to label Einstein's Relativity as Jewish Physics, decrying it as overly abstract, out of touch with reality, closely linked to moral relativism, and practiced exclusively by Jews and Jewish sympathisers.


Selected picture

A replica of Antoine Lavoisier's laboratory at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany. The large lens in the center of the picture was used to focus sunlight in order to ignite samples during combustion studies.


Selected inventor

Vannevar Bush

Vannevar Bush (March 11, 1890 – June 30, 1974) was an American engineer and science administrator, known for his work on analog computing, his political role in the development of the atomic bomb, and the idea of the memex—seen as a pioneering concept for the World Wide Web. A leading figure in the development of the military-industrial complex and the military funding of science in the United States, Bush was a prominent policymaker and public intellectual ("the patron saint of American science") during World War II and the ensuing Cold War. Through his public career, Bush was a proponent of democratic technocracy and of the centrality of technological innovation and entrepreneurship for both economic and geopolitical security.



Overview In early cultures | In Classical Antiquity |In the Middle Ages | In the Renaissance | The Scientific Revolution | Scientific method | Modern science
Historiography Historians | Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK) | Science Studies | Science and Technology Studies
Physics Natural philosophy | Astronomy | Aristotelian physics | Optics | Electricity | Classical mechanics | Timeline of thermodynamics | Special relativity | General relativity | Quantum field theory | Materials science
Biology Natural history | Ecology | Biochemistry | Genetics | Molecular biology | Evolutionary biology | Model organisms | Great Chain of Being
Chemistry Alchemy | Atomism | Chemical Revolution | Atomic theory | Electrochemistry | Periodic system
Earth science Geology | Geography | Paleontology | Age of the Earth | Volcanology
Technology Ancient Rome | Middle Ages | Industrial Revolution | Second Industrial Revolution | Agricultural science | Computer science | Biotechnology
Medicine Prehistoric medicine | Ancient Egypt | Ancient Greece | India | China | Middle Ages | Islam | Anatomy | Germ theory | Wound care
Scientific Culture Royal Society | Académie des Sciences | Nobel Prize | National Academy of Science | Scientific publication | Science wars | Women in science | Romanticism in science
Funding of science Patronage | Science policy | Military funding of science | Research and development
Science and Religion Relationship between religion and science | Conflict thesis | Merton thesis | Galileo affair | Scopes trial | Islamic science | Creation-evolution controversy
Big Science Manhattan Project | Soviet nuclear program | Military-industrial complex | Human Genome Project | Space program | High energy physics
Related Fields Philosophy of Science | History of Mathematics | History of Ideas | History of Medicine | History of Technology

Did you know

...that the travel narrative The Malay Archipelago, by biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, was used by the novelist Joseph Conrad as a source for his novel Lord Jim?

...that the seventeenth century philosophers René Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, and Gottfried Leibniz, along with their Empiricist contemporary Thomas Hobbes all formulated definitions of conatus, an innate inclination of a thing to continue to exist and enhance itself?

...that the history of biochemistry spans approximately 400 years, but the word "biochemistry" in the modern sense was first proposed only in 1903, by German chemist Carl Neuberg?

...that the Great Comet of 1577 was viewed by people all over Europe, including famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and the six year old Johannes Kepler?

...that the Society for Social Studies of Science (often abbreviated as 4S) is, as its website claims, "the oldest and largest scholarly association devoted to understanding science and technology"?



Selected anniversaries

April 18:

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