Making Science: Its History and Communication - HI866

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 6)
View Timetable
7 30 (15) PROF C Sleigh







There is no better way to understand how scientific knowledge is made and consumed today than to look at how this happened in the past. Our examples come from 400 years ago up to the present day, and highlight how changes in the media of knowledge have shaped our understanding of science – printing presses, public lectures, museums and TV. How have audience needs and interests changed during this time, and how has the medium affected the message?

Themes and Topics

• The printing press and the scientific revolution
• Cabinets of curiosity: the first museums?
• Science on display in the 18th century
• Science and the steam-driven press in the 19th century
• Science and film in the 20th century
• Science wars and the public understanding of science in the late 20th century


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Convenor: Dr Rebekah Higgitt

Contact Hours: 3 hours per week

Indicative reading

• Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).
• M. Frasca-Spada and N. Jardine (eds), 2000, Books and the Sciences in History, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
• P. Findlen, Possessing Nature. Museums, Collecting and Scientific Culture in Early-Modern Italy, (University of California Press, 1994).
• P. Fara, An Entertainment for Angels: Electricity in the Enlightenment (Columbia University Press, 2003).
• L. Henson et al (eds) Culture and Science in the Nineteenth-Century Media. Oxford: Ashgate, 2004.
• G. Mitman, Reel nature: America's romance with wildlife on film, (Harvard University Press, 1999)
• Irwin and B. Wynne (eds), Misunderstanding science? The public reconstruction of science and technology (Cambridge University Press, 1996).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

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