History of physics and of the mathematical sciences

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with a general comprehension of the development of scientific thought in the field of the physico-mathematical disciplines through the study of some historically significant cases. The course may be useful for the conception, organization and coordination of cultural activities and projects concerning the history of scientific disciplines.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course the students will be able to:

- illustrate some fundamental phases of the research in the physico-mathematical disciplines of the past
- recognize the lexicon of some important physico-mathematical disciplines considered in their historical development
- exemplify the relationships connecting the history of the physico-mathematical thought to the history of philosophy, to religion and theology, to political history, to society, and to culture.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:

At the end of the course the students will be able to:

- apply the learnt knowledge in historically situating authors and texts of the physico-mathematical disciplines.
- use the learnt knowledge about the lexicon of the physico-mathematical disciplines in the analysis and discussion of texts and problems.
- apply the learnt knowledge about the relationships connecting the history of the physico-mathematical disciplines with other fields of knowledge to the analysis and discussion of texts and problems.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
During the ongoing covid emergency, the course syllabus will be maintained with the following changes made to enhance the effectiveness of the online version of the course, which was originally designed for face-to-face teaching.

The lessons will be held in dual mode. The face-to-face lessons will allow the participation of students connected with MSTeams as well as students in the classroom.

The recordings of the lessons will remain available until the end of the lessons

Online environments used: Teams (keycode will be announced later in Ariel)

Students wishing to participate in face-to-face lessons must refer to the following University provisions: https://www.unimi.it/en/study/bachelor-and-master-study/following-your-…

Students wishing to participate in MSTeams lessons must refer to the following technical guides: https://www.unimi.it/en/study/student-services/technology-and-online-se…

To participate in the exam sessions, students must refer to the following provisions:
Course syllabus
We will discuss the main developments in the history of cosmology and mechanics from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This is a period in the history of science that is often dubbed the "scientific revolution." We will devote particular attention to the relationships between science and religion. Indeed, in the period in question the Reform and the Counter-reformation took place, and Europe was shaken by dramatic religious conflicts, the Thirty Years' War, etc. The new world-views promoted in this period elicited anxieties, fears but also hopes for the future of science and society. This "crisis" in the European cultural landscape opened a broad discussion concerning the conflict and possible reconciliation between science and faith, the reading of the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture. I will focus upon the intellectual biographies of Copernicus, Galilei and Newton and will comment passages from some of their works.
Prerequisites for admission
The course has no specific prerequisites, other than those required by the Degree Programme
Teaching methods
Lectures delivered by the instuctor. Useful information and slides will be uploaded to the Ariel page of the course.
Teaching Resources
Programme for 6 and 9 cfu:

Thomas Kuhn, La rivoluzione copernicana: l'astronomia planetaria nello sviluppo del pensiero occidentale, Torino : G. Einaudi, 2000, ISBN: 88-06-33332-1(cap. 1. L'antico universo a due sfere, cap. 2. Il problema dei pianeti, cap. 3. L'universo a due sfere nel pensiero aristotelico, cap. 5. L'innovazione di Copernico, cap. 6. L'assimilazione dell'astronomia copernicana), pp. 1-127, pp. 171-292.

Sara Bonechi, Mi fan patir costoro il grande stento Biografia in breve di Galileo Galilei (downloadable from https://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/itinerari/pdf/BiografiaGalileo.pdf )
pp. 1-124

Galileo Galilei, Antologia di testi, a cura di Michele Camerota, Carocci, 2017, ISBN: 978-88-430-8567-5 (cap. 2, Gli anni padovani; cap. 3, Le scoperte telescopiche; cap. 5, Scienza e religione), pp. 63-123, pp. 153-183

Additional material only for the the program 9 cfu:

Niccolò Guicciardini, Isaac Newton: Filosofo della Natura, interprete della Scrittura, cronologo degli Antichi Regni, Carocci, 2021, ISBN: 9788829004300 (except pp. 44-54 e pp. 146-170).

Isaac Newton, "Prefazione al lettore", "Prefazione alla seconda edizione", "Scolio alle definizioni", "Regole del filosofare", "Scolio generale" in Principî matematici della filosofia naturale, a cura di F. Giudice, Einaudi, 2018, ISBN 9788806227531, pp. 3-24, 29-36, 76-78, 92-96.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Assessment methods

Both for students who have attended the course and for those who haven't the final examination consists in an oral exam.

The purpose of the oral exam is to test the knowledge and the critical comprehension, of the topics covered in the works indicated in this programme in the field "materiale di riferimento", and the fact that the student has acquired the correct linguistic skills to express and discuss these topics.

Evaluation criteria:

The oral exam is divided into two parts. In the first part the instructor will propose a topic to the student. In case the answer of the student is considered sufficient (18/30), the exam will continue with a discussion on a topic chosen by the student. All topics must be part of the programme taught during the course and included in the reference material ("materiale di riferimento"). A mark will be obtained on the basis on the following criteria (1 to 10 points: factual information + 1 to 10 points language skills, + 1 to 10 points understanding of technical/ scientific content)
Unita' didattica
M-STO/05 - HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica
M-STO/05 - HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica
M-STO/05 - HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Wednesday 10:30-13:30
Contact me via mail: a Skype video call can be arranged.