Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Mutually Exclusive

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 1 hour
Seminars / Tutorials 5 seminars plus individual essay tutorials


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 X 2,500 WORD ESSAY  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   2 QUESTION CLOSED EXAM  70%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
Appreciate the perspectives of contemporary historians of science towards the historical development of the sciences.

Understand historians' debates concerning the relationship between science and culture.

Appreciate the general development of the sciences between 1600 and 1900.

Understand the use of different kinds of historical evidence concerning the development of the sciences in cultural perspective.

Brief description

Science and technology are vital aspects of the modern world. Yet we often think of them as if they had no history and somehow stood outside culture. This module aims to introduce the cultural history of the sciences through a number of case studies of `revolutionary' changes in our understanding of the world around us. By means of these examples - the Scientific Revolution, the Chemical Revolution, the Conservation of Energy and the Darwinian Revolution - the module will introduce students to the ways in which the historical development of the sciences may be understood as an integral part of the development of modern culture.


This module aims to introduce students to scientific developments between 1600 and 1900 in their cultural context. The module will use the concept of scientific revolutions as a means of understanding the historical development of the sciences during the period


1. Introduction - history of science in cultural context
2. Relocating the Heavens
3. The New Knowledge
4. New Ways of Knowing
5. `Let Newton Be!'
6. Chemistry Unreformed?
7. Pneumatic Chemistry
8. Who Discovered Oxygen?
9. Chemistry Reformed?
10. Engines or Philosophical Toys?
11. The Conservation of What?
12. British Energy
13. The German Science
14. Science and Radicalism
15. The Voyage of the Beagle
16. On the Origin of Species
17. Darwin's Reception
18. Science and the Modern World

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Read a wide range of both primary and secondary texts; improve listening skills during the lectures, and consequently develop skills in note taking; demonstrate and develop the ability to communicate ideas in two essays; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars.
Improving own Learning and Performance Show awareness of own learning styles, personal preferences and needs; devise and apply realistic learning and self management strategies; devise a personal action plan to include short and long-term goals and to develop personal awareness of how to improve on these.
Information Technology Use a range of commonly used software packages; prepare and input data; manage storage systems; present information and data; use the internet appropriately and effectively.
Personal Development and Career planning Develop awareness of personal skills, beliefs and qualities in relation to course in progression; plan and prepare for future course / career.
Problem solving Identify problems and factors which might influence potential solutions; develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving; evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions.
Research skills Understand a range of research methods and plan and carry out research; produce academically appropriate pieces of written work.
Subject Specific Skills Develop knowledge and familiarity with a range of sources relevant to the historical development of the sciences; develop ability to use appropriate historical research tools.
Team work Understand the concept of group dynamics; contribute to the setting of group goals; contribute effectively to the planning of group activities; play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars); exercise negotiation and persuasion skills; evaluate group activities and own contribution.


This module is at CQFW Level 4