The course covers the history of science in the U.S. from the colonial period up to the present. We will be focusing on the unique situation of the sciences within the changing U.S. context, emphasizing debates over the place of science in intellectual, cultural, religious, and political life. As we examine the mutual shaping of national experience and scientific developments, we will also trace the emergence of institutions for the pursuit of scientific knowledge, with special attention to the relationships between science and technology and between science and the state. We will explore a large number of local examples (California geology, Ernest Lawrence, Silicon Valley, and lots on UC Berkeley). The course is aimed at students of all majors; no scientific knowledge is presupposed. Basic familiarity with U.S. history will be helpful, as the course is as much about U.S. history as about the history of science.
Students interested in teaching elementary or secondary school science and math and who plan to take this course as part of the Cal Teach program (History 138T) will be attending a supplemental section. This section will focus on the techniques, skills, and perspectives necessary to apply the history of science in the juvenile and adolescent science classroom. For more information about Cal Teach, go to http://calteach.berkeley.edu/.