ILS 202 Spring 2020

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In this course, we will
examine developments since the mid-seventeenth century that have brought about a dramatic
change in the way we understand the world and our place in it. How can we best explain why the
thing we call science began when and where it did? What forces formed it, and how in turn has it
become a powerful agent in shaping modern life? Tackling these questions is a major historical
challenge, one that will take us from the familiar and the local to the furthest extent of distant
empires. We will not find all the answers. But we will learn a lot about the connections between
commerce, industry, exploration, and war, changing conceptions of humankind’s place in nature,
and our ability to control the world around us. And, in the process, we will come to a new
understanding of the relationship between science, technology and society. This course is
suitable for undergraduates in any field. No previous knowledge is required: historical
background will be provided, and key scientific concepts explained, by the lectures and readings.