This course explores how science and technology have been used to make sense of the world, and to control it. It considers science and technology in a global historical perspective. The course provides a foundation for further studies in the history of science, technology, and the environment, but also allows students specializing in engineering and the natural sciences to gain a deeper understanding of the historical dimensions of their fields, and a broader perspective on how and why science and technology have become such powerful elements in the modern world.
The course centres around some principle ideas of science and techoology, such as progress, innovation, revolution and development, modernity, civilisation and risk and will discuss how these notions have been culturally constructed through time. The course does not give a chronological overview of the development of science and technology through all times. Instead we will touch upon many interesting topics such as colonialism, green revolution, eugenics, medieval islamic science, Cold War, nuclear energy, domestic technologies or technological selection and see how the abovementioned core concepts have played out. If you are curious whether Pythagoras actually invented the Pythagoras theoreme, what have Nazis to do with lung cancer, when did chicken start to consist of only legs, or how is research into nuclear bombs related to the development of global climate science, then this course is for you.