John’s Undergraduate Courses – History (5 courses)

At WPI, students take 5 related humanities courses, followed by an intensive individual research project — The Sufficiency Project.  Click here to view my Sufficiency Project.

HI 1332. INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF TECHNOLOGY.
Aug 1998 – Oct 1998, Grade: A
An introduction to concepts of historical analysis (i.e., the nature and methodology of scholarly inquiry about the past) through the concentrated examination of selected case studies in the history of technology. Possible topics include: the influence of slavery on the development of technology in the ancient world and the middle ages; the power revolution of the middle ages; the causes of the Industrial Revolution in 18th-century Britain; and the emergence of science-based technology in 19th-century America.

HI 2331. AMERICAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY TO 1859.
Oct 1997 – Dec 1997, Grade: A
An overview, stressing the development of a scientific community, of the content and character of American science (and, to some degree, American technology) from the first European explorations until just before the publication of The Origins of Species. Topics include: medieval science in the new world; the Scientific Revolution and its influence in America; the American Industrial Revolution; the rise of science as a profession; the interplay of science and technology with the state and federal governments.

HI 2333. HISTORY OF SCIENCE FROM 1700.
Oct 1998 – Dec 1998, Grade: A
A survey of major developments in science since Newton. Topics may include: 18th century physical science within the context of the Enlightenment; the revolution in biological thought in the 19th century; relativity and the quantum theory; key concepts such as the conservation of energy and the electromagnetic field; the changing structure of the scientific community. A knowledge of advanced science is not required but would be advantageous.

HI 2334. EUROPEAN TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT.
Jan 1998 – Feb 1998, Grade: A
A survey of the development of technology in Europe from the late medieval period to World War I. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the evolution of technology within its cultural, social, and political contexts. Topics may include the military, mechanical, maritime, and building technologies of the medieval and Renaissance periods; the commonly misunderstood figures of Leonardo da Vinci; the causes and nature of the Industrial Revolution; the effects of the British Industrial Revolution in France and Germany in the 19th century; the transition from craft-based industries to those that are science based such as the dyestuffs and electrical power industries; World War I as a technological conflict.

HI 2332. AMERICAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FROM 1859.
Apr 1998 – May 1998, Grade: A
An overview of the content and character of American science (and, to some degree, American technology and medicine) from the publication of The Origin of Species through the present. Topics include: Darwinism and Social Darwinism in America; scientific agriculture and the federal government; scientific technology and the rise of an industrial society; scientific education and the new universities; positivism and the growth of the physical sciences; the new biology and medicine; conservation, scientific management, the gospel of efficiency and progressivism; science, World War I and the 1920’s; the intellectual migration and its influence; science, technology and World War II; Big Science and the Military-Industrial-Scientific Complex; attacks on Big Science.