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November 26, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


This subject introduces the history of science from antiquity to the present.

Students consider the impact of philosophy, art, magic, social structure, and folk knowledge on the development of what has come to be called “science” in the Western tradition, including those fields today designated as physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, astronomy and the mind sciences. Topics include concepts of matter, nature, motion, body, heavens, and mind as these have been shaped over the course of history. Students read original works by Aristotle, Vesalius, Newton, Lavoisier, Darwin, Freud, and Einstein, among others

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction Unlimited
    • The stuff of matter in the ancient world Unlimited
    • Alchemy and experiment in the Renaissance Unlimited
    • Textbooks and chemical order, from Lavoisier to Mendeleev Unlimited
    • Quantum alchemy? Unlimited
    • The nature of nature in ancient and medieval worlds Unlimited
    • Exploring, collecting, classifying Unlimited
    • Evolution and the origin of species Unlimited
    • Ecology and environment Unlimited
    • From “natural motions” to “laws of motion” Unlimited
    • Beer brewing, steam engines, and the fate of the cosmos Unlimited
    • Space, time, and spacetime Unlimited
    • Cell theory Unlimited
    • Physiology and experiment Unlimited
    • Models of inheritance and genetics Unlimited
    • To save the phenomena Unlimited
    • Copernicus: Round and round we go Unlimited
    • The Newtonian cosmos Unlimited
    • Einstein, gravity, and politics Unlimited
    • Mind-body Unlimited
    • Madness Unlimited
    • Brains in the lab: Experimental psychology Unlimited
    • Man-machine Unlimited
    • Conclusion Unlimited

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology