Science, Technology & Society at Bar-Ilan University

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Scientific Biographies 27812 | Prof. Oren Harman

 The course examines scientific biographies and their evolution as a genre within the history of science. We will read and analyze biographies of scientists from different disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, medicine. In particular we will look closely at Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Darwin, Marie Curie, Barbara McClintock, Rosalind Franklin, Niels Jerne, Paul Erdos and George Price. But the course will also examine scientific biographies of a different, less traditional kind: biographies of research institutions such as Cal Tech, Los Alamos, and Johns Hopkins; biographies of model organisms such as Drosophila and the mouse; biographies of molecules such as water and DNA; of organelles such as mitochondria; phenomena such as giant waves and tornadoes; of diseases such as cancer and equations such as E=mc². Using literary, historical and scientific tools we will try to understand how the genre of scientific biography has developed and evolved, and what that teaches us about the development and evolution of the history of science as a discipline.