The Birth of Modern Science (HPSC2100)


Modern culture is a culture of science and modern science is the outcome of a historical process of 2,500 years. In this course we investigate how traditional knowledge gradually acquired the characteristics of 'science': the social structure, contents, values and methods we are familiar with. We will look at some primary chapters of this process, from antiquity to the end of the seventeenth century, and try to understand their implications to understanding contemporary science in its culture. Special emphasis will be given to the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, which is often described as the most important period in the history of science and as one of the most vital stages in human intellectual history.

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Further unit of study information


Three 1 hour lectures, one 1 hour tutorial per week.


4xquizzes (30%) and 6x100wd questions (30%) and 3x750wd essays (30%) and class participation (10%)


Dear, P (2001). Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and Ambitions, 1500-1700. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

24 credit points of Junior units of study



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.