History 285 - Fall 2005

Science, Technology and Society--1940 to the Present

(N. Steneck@umich.edu)

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This course explores the implications of scientific and technological change from World War II to the present.

Science and technology changed dramatically and rapidly after World War II. Developments in physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and other areas of science have greatly increased the human capacity to understand how nature operates. From these understandings, humans learned how to create atomic energy, generate microwave radiation, control electrons, produce antibiotics, and, more recently, engineer biological blueprints, making science and technology literally life and death activities that touches every human and all aspects of society.

History 285 has no pre-requisites. Students do not have to know how to “do science” (solve scientific problems) to receive a good grade. Emphasis will be placed on understanding

  • the basic components of the modern scientific worldview;
  • the methods and processes that lead to change in science and technology;
  • the social, economic, and political aspects of science; and
  • the impacts of science and technology on society.

Some grounding in the sciences or history will help, but is not essential.