HUM-402 / 3 credits

Teacher: Mihailescu Ion-Gabriel

Language: English

Remark: Une seule inscription à un cours SHS+MGT autorisée. En cas d'inscriptions multiples elles seront toutes supprimées sans notification.


The course allows students to learn by doing about the history of science, and the role played by experimentation, technical skills or material objects in the production of knowledge. Students will explore these topics by reconstructing a historical experiment, instrument or practice.



re-enactment, past experiments, learning by doing, history of science, practices, artefacts, tacit knowledge

POLY-perspective :

  • creative perspective
  • interdisciplinary perspective

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Identify important research questions in the history of science.
  • Formulate a problematic and hypothesis.
  • Analyze historical sources.
  • Interpret historical artefacts.
  • Assess / Evaluate the tacit and technical skills involved in the production of knowledge.
  • Critique historical accounts and their own scientific skills and practice.
  • Construct an argument

Transversal skills

  • Communicate effectively with professionals from other disciplines.
  • Assess progress against the plan, and adapt the plan as appropriate.
  • Access and evaluate appropriate sources of information.

Teaching methods

The course relies on the teaching method of learning by doing. We consider this to be a particularly appropriate method for imparting knowledge about the history of science.

Fall semester: lecture, discussion, presentation and practical work.

Expected student activities

Students are expected to attend lectures and the practical workshops, read the assigned articles, and participate actively to discussions. Students will prepare a presentation and a written report of their proposal for the Spring semester project.

Assessment methods

Independent evaluation at the end of both the autumn and spring term (grade associated to 3 ECTS).

Autumn term:

  • Discussion (20%)
  • Presentation of Project Proposal (40%)
  • Written Project Proposal (40%)


Office hours Yes
Assistants No
Forum Yes



  • Sibum, Heinz Otto.œ"Reworking the Mechanical Value of Heat: Instruments of Precision and Gestures of Accuracy in Early Victorian England". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 26, no. 1 (1995): 73-106.
  • Schaffer, Simon. "Glass Works: Newton's Prisms and the Uses of Experiment". In The Uses of Experiment: Studies in the Natural Sciences, edited by David Gooding, Trevor Pinch, and Simon Schaffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, pp. 67-104.
  • Heering, Peter. "The Enlightened Microscope: Re-Enactment and Analysis of Projections with Eighteenth-Century Solar Microscopes". British Journal for the History of Science, 41 (2008): 345-368.
  • Rosheim, Mark E. Leonardo's Lost Robots. Berlin: Springer, 2006, pp. 21-68.
  • Newman, William R. "The Shadow of a Noble Experiment: Newton's Laboratory Records to 1696". In Newton the Alchemist: Science, Enigma, and the Quest for Nature's Secret Fire. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019, pp. 296-318.
  • Smith, Pamela H. "Vermilion, Mercury, Blood, and Lizards: Matter and Meaning in Metalworking". In Klein, Ursula and Emma C. Spary (eds.), Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe: Between Market and Laboratory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010, pp. 29-49.

Ressources en bibliothèque

Références suggérées par la bibliothèque

Moodle Link


In the programs

  • Semester: Fall
  • Number of places: 30
  • Exam form: During the semester (winter session)
  • Subject examined: Experimental history of science I
  • Lecture: 2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
  • Project: 1 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks

Reference week


Related courses

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