History of Science and Mathematics Tutorial

The time I spent at St. John's College has been the foundation for the ETS tutorials and much of what I learned there has been incorporated and adapted into the ETS program.  At St. John's, their students study four years of the history of mathematics and three years of the history of science.  The students there work through many of the great texts of mathematics and perform many of the seminal experiments in the history of science.  Though I cannot give this full experience to my students, I would like them to have any understanding of the importance of the history of mathematics and science to the rest of what we study in GBT.   

The Great Books tutorial provides a very fine survey of the ideas that have shaped our culture in philosophy, literature, theology and political science and one of the great advantages of the Great Books approach is that we attempt to understand all these fields by seeing how they developed in relation to one another chronologically;  however, there is a conspicuous absence in GBT in that we do not substantially address the connections between science and mathematics and the other Great Books.  There are many connections with the history of science and mathematics that help to make the issues discussed in philosophy, literature, theology and political science more understandable and meaningful. 

The Teaching Company offers three sets of videos that cover many of the majors themes that should be grasped in the study of history.  The videos that we will be watching to cover the history of Science and Mathematics will be - History of Science: Antiquity to 1700 (Amazon) (EBAY) History of Science: 1700-1900 (Amazon) (EBAY)and Queen of the Sciences: A History of Mathematics (Amazon) (EBAY) .  The videos are fairly expensive- the sets usually list around $350 a piece, however, they often go on sale for around $70 and if you are Ebay savvy you can find them at further discount there.  You can also resell them on Ebay once you are done with them.  If you do not want to purchase them on Ebay, contact www.teach12.com so that you can get their catalog and watch for them to go on sale.  I would like to build up a library of my own for students taking this course, so if you are interested in selling your copy, please contact me.

Part 1 of History of Science: Antiquity to 1700 begins with the Babylonian and Egyptians, but focuses primarily on the contributions of the Greeks.  In order to provide context to the overview of Greek science, Dr. Principe provides a wonderful survey of the main themes of Greek philosophy.  Parts 2 and 3 cover science in the Christian West during the Middle Ages, the substantial contributions of the Islamic scholars, the rise of Scholasticism, the Copernican Revolution, Isaac Newton and the rise of chemistry.  History of Science: 1700-1900 continues the story by discussing the rise of science in the Enlightenment and modern age.  You can see full details on the topics covered at History of Science: Antiquity to 1700 and History of Science: 1700-1900. The series Queen of the Sciences: A History of Mathematics covers many of the main themes again by drawing on the history of mathematics for illustrations.  These lectures work particularly well with GBT as they continually discuss how theology and philosophy effect and are effected by the development of science.  This perspective encourages students who tend to think of learning as simply mastering distinct subjects to consider how everything they are learning is simply working towards a complete understanding of the world- what we might simply call wisdom.

Each week one of the students in the tutorial will be required to write a paper on a topic the videos discuss.  He will read this paper at the start of the tutorial and the paper will then be discussed by myself and the other students.  All students are expected to prepare sufficiently well to discuss the material in the videos during class.  They will need to watch one 30 minute video each day.  There will also be occasional readings assigned.  The videos assume a working knowledge of algebra and occasionally draw on Calculus, but much of the material does not require computational understanding.   

I do not know if the professors are Christians, but they should be understood as descriptive historians and not prescriptive polemicists.  They do discuss the relation of Christianity to many scientific issues, but often it is not in order to promote a particular understanding of how faith and science should relate, but simply to survey the various approaches that have been given throughout history.

This tutorial is open to online and local students.  Please register by contacting Mr. Hinrichs directly.  If you would like to grade 60 GBT I papers during the course of the academic year, in lieu of tuition, I would like you to consider that possibility.  Having assistance with the paper grading is a great help to me and a lovely opportunity for you to develop a very useful skill.

Weekly schedule
1. Science 1-3, Mathematics 1
2. Science 4-6, Mathematics 2, Parts of Animals; Book 1, chapters 1 & 5
3. Science 7-9, Mathematics 3
4. Science 10-12, Mathematics 4
5. Science 13-15, Mathematics 5
6. Science 14-18, Mathematics 6
7. Science 19-21, Mathematics 7
8. Science 22-24, Mathematics 8
9. Science 25-27, Mathematics 9
10. Science 28-30, Mathematics 10
11. Galileo- On the Two World Systems; p.73-155
12. Galileo- On the Two World Systems; p.155-221
13. Galileo- On the Two World Systems; p. 221-309
14. Science 31-33, Mathematics 11
15. Science 34-36, Mathematics 12
16. Science (Modern) 1-3, Mathematics 13
17. Science 4-6, Mathematics 14
18. Science 7-9, Mathematics 15
19. Science 10-12, Mathematics 16
20. Science 13-15, Mathematics 17
21. Science 16-18, Mathematics 18
22. Science 19-21, Mathematics 19
23. Science 22-24, Mathematics 20
24. Darwin- Origin of the Species; I,II,III
25. Darwin- Origin of the Species; IV,XIV
26. Science 25-27, Mathematics 21
27. Science 28-30, Mathematics 22
28. Science 31-33, Mathematics 23
29. Science 34-36, Mathematics 24
30. Reading-
31. Reading-
32. Reading-
33. Reading-
34. Contemporary Creation Issues
35. Contemporary Creation Issues

History of Science: Antiquity to 1700
History of Science: 1700-1900
Queen of the Sciences: A History of Mathematics

Galileo on the World Systems; University of California Press; ISBN 0520206460
The Origin of Species; Darwin; Signet Classics; ISBN 0451529065

 Supplimentary Videos
Interference patterns in water
Interference patterns in light
Michelson Morley experiment
Galileo's Battle for the Heavens

Addition reading:
30. Reading- Wigner, Euclid: read XII 1,2,7 summarize XII. 10
31. Reading- De Revolutionibus at utexas.edu 
32. Reading- Harmonies of the World- Platonic Solids- Spheres - Spheres
33. Reading- The New Atlantis, Plato's Timaeus