The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






History of science and technology

The history of science and technology (HST) is a field of history which examines how humanity's understanding of science and technology has changed over the millennia. Without this understanding, development of new technologies would have been improbable. This field of history also studies the cultural, economic, and political impacts of scientific innovation.

The history of science was originally written by practicing and retired scientists, starting primarily with William Whewell, as a way to communicate the perceived virtues of science to the public. In the early 1930s, after a famous paper given by the Soviet historian Boris Hessen , effort was focused into looking at the ways in which scientific practices were allied with the needs and motivations of their context. After World War II, extensive resources were put into teaching and researching the discipline, with the hopes that it would help the public better understand both science and technology and they came to play an exceedingly prominent role in the world eye. In the 1960s, especially in the wake of the work done by Thomas Kuhn, the discipline began to serve a very different function, and began to be used as a way to problematize scientific enterprise. At the present time it is often closely aligned with the field of Science studies.

Modern mathematical science and physical engineering as it is understood today took form in the scientific revolution, but was built on the work of the Greek and Islamic civilizations, which in turn had learned from the civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India. In technology, during most of history up to that time, the most advanced part of the world was China.

See the main articles History of science and History of technology for these respective topics.


Universities with HST departments

  • Georgia Institute of Technology has an undergraduate and graduate program in the History of Technology and Society. [1]
  • Harvard has a large undergraduate and graduate program in History of Science, and is one of the largest departments currently in the world. [2]
  • Princeton has a program in the History of Science. [3]
  • MIT has a Science, Technology, and Society program which includes HST. [4]
  • Stanford has a History and Philosophy of Science and Technology program. [5]
  • UC Berkeley offers a graduate degree in HST through its History program, and maintains a separate sub-department for the field. [6]
  • University of Cambridge has a large masters and PhD program in the History and Philosophy of Science. [7]
  • University of Florida The Graduate Program in History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at the University of Florida provides undergraduate and graduate degrees. [8]
  • University of King's College has a History of Science and Technology Program.[9]
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison has a program in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology. [10]
  • Yale has a program in the History of Medicine and Science. [11]
  • University of Durham, UK, has a 1st year History of Science module in the Philosophy department. [12]

Prominent historians of the field

Journals and periodicals

  • History of Technology
  • Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences
  • ICON
  • Isis
  • Journal of the History of Biology
  • Journal of the History of Medicine and the Allied Sciences
  • Osiris
  • Science & Technology Studies
  • Science in Context
  • Science, Technology, & Human Values
  • Social Studies of Science
  • Technology and Culture
  • Transactions of the Newcomen Society

Professional societies

External links

The contents of this article are licensed from under the GNU Free Documentation License. How to see transparent copy