Introduction to History and Social Sciences

"Understanding of, at minimum, the rudiments of the history of science is essential to understanding the world we live in, and is essential to full understanding of science itself."
— Marianne Stowell Bracke and Paul J. Bracke

"Those ignorant of the historical development of science are not likely ever to understand fully the nature of science and scientific research."
— Hans Krebs

"Our only experience of a successful scientific culture is of the one that actually evolved, over a period of three centuries, in the heart of European civilization. What principles were essential to its achievements, and how might those principles be safeguarded as this culture itself undergoes radical change?"
— John Ziman


History of Science Links
(Robert A. Hatch, University of Florida)

Introduction; societies and organizations; journals and other publications; general topics; specific topics; individuals; archives, libraries, museums; research projects and resources; list serves, chat pages; research gateways, engines, links; graduate student resources.

Doing Biology
Now online: A book by Joel Hagen, Douglas Allchin & Fred Singer, Doing 
Biology. 17 historical cases studies of biological research in a guided inquiry format. We have aimed to address several proposals for reforming science education. Tries to educate about the history and nature of science, about science in practice - about 'doing biology'.

Internet History of Science Sourcebook
(Paul Halsall)

Exploring and Collecting the History of Science and Technology Online (ECHO)
"In order to make it easier for scholars, students and others to find just what they are looking for, we have reviewed and annotated the best and most relevant Web sites on the history of science and technology. Collected in one place and categorized by general fields as well as specific topics, these links form a starting point for your historical exploration of science and technology on the Internet. In addition, you can examine the latest efforts of those who have built, with the assistance of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Echo team, sites that record and exhibit the history of science and technology in innovative ways."

History of Science and Technology: A Guide to Internet Resources
(University of Delaware)

Science and Technology Resources on the Internet
(Marianne Stowell Bracke, University of Houston, and Paul J. Bracke, University of Texas Galveston)

Annotated selection of Web resources in the history of science.

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Available only as an RLG Citation Resources (CitaDel®) file, under the auspices of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science. This database is the definitive international bibliography for the history of science, technology, and medicine and their influence on culture, from pre-history to the present. Its value for interdisciplinary research is outstanding. Expanded at the end of 1999 to include records from an internationally renowned medical collection, the database now integrates four separately created bibliographies. History of Science, Technology, and Medicine describes journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in all scientific disciplines and related fields. Citations reflect the contents of nearly 9,500 journals. All subject headings are searchable in English; searches may be limited by date, source (specific bibliography), and form/genre (for example, monograph or journal title).

Database source: History of Science, Technology, and Medicine is the copyrighted product of the History of Science Society, Society for the History of Technology, Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, and The Wellcome Trust.

History of Science, Technology and Medicine Resources, Australian Science Archives Project

The Telson Spur: Field Notes — History and Philosophy of Science

The Net Advance of Physics: History of Physics

History of Technology Resources Available on the Internet via ICE (Internet Connections for Engineering)

Technology History
An annotated collection of links to some of the history of technology, including little-known subsites buried on many well-known commercial sites.

Worldwide Guide to Science Studies Programmes
(University of Missouri — Kansas City)

STS Links

North Carolina State Program on Science, Technology, & Society


Introductory readings

Dear, Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and Its Ambitions, 1500-1700, 2001
From Copernicus, who put the earth in orbit around the sun, to Isaac Newton, who gave the world universal gravitation, the Scientific Revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries transformed the way that Europeans understood their world. In this book, Peter Dear offers an accessible introduction to the origins of modern science for both students and general readers. Beginning with "what was worth knowing in 1500," Dear takes the reader through natural philosophy, humanism, mathematics, and experimentalism until he can describe "what was worth knowing by the eighteenth century." Along the way, he discusses the key ideas, individuals, and social changes that constituted the Scientific Revolution. For all of its economy and broad appeal, Revolutionizing the Sciences never sacrifices sophistication of treatment.... This is an ideal textbook on the Scientific Revolution for courses on the history of science or the history of early modern Europe....

Shapin, The Scientific Revolution, 1996
"Studies of "the scientific revolution" have all too often been polemical, striving to prove some general thesis, epistemological or sociological, about science. While Shapin has no special claim on objectivity, he does avoid ideologically overladen wheelbarrows; if he has a larger goal, it is to correct some of the common myths about the science of the period. The Scientific Revolution is sophisticated but at the same time uncomplicated, broad-ranging but attentive to detail.

The Scientific Revolution has no footnotes or references, but a forty-five page bibliographic essay is ample compensation (it is likely to be of more use to most readers).... The Scientific Revolution could be used as a text for a history and philosophy of science course; it would also be an excellent starting place for complete newcomers to the subject."
-- (Danny Yee)

Collins/Pinch, The Golem, 1993

Petroski, To Engineer is Human, 1992

McGee, Science in Society, 1989
An annotated guide to resources.

Latour, Science in Action, 1987
"Latour's thesis is that science, including sociology, is collective action and that facticity is a consequence, not a cause, of collective action.... An excellent and enjoyable introduction to the sociology of science." (Joan Fujimura)

"I predict that Science in Action will have an impact comparable to Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions both as a provocation to philosophers and as an inspiration to sociologists and historians of science." (Nicholas Jardine)


Jasanoff/Markle/Petersen/Pinch, Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, 1995
The most comprehensive resource in the social scientific, humanistic, and policy studies of science and technology.

Pickering, Science as Practice and Culture, 1992

Dear, The Literary Structure of Scientific Argument, 1991

Cozzens/Gieryn, Theories of Science in Society, 1990

Selected monographs

Pickering, The Mangle of Practice, 1995
According to Pickering, scientific practice is a process of "modelling," or "the creative extension of existing cultural achievements." Simply, the scientist works and reworks established protocol and apparatuses, considered elements of the experimental process. Modelling produces "novel associations" of those elements, "creatively transformed." ... "Association" is Pickering’s all-important, "irreducible" concept defined as "the condition that obtains between the parts of a complex machine or instrument when it is working" (112). The scientist, then, becomes a bricoleur, Lévi-Strauss’s term for "one who uses ‘the means at hand’" ...; the researcher pieces together epistemological artifacts and modifies his research (e.g., the apparatus) while he is engaged in it. Ironically, this is where subjectivism is repressed, and why philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn suggests normal science often suppresses "fundamental novelties" because they are necessarily subversive of its basic commitments.... Scientists engaged in modelling are in a constant struggle with those centripetal forces, e.g., set standards, that harness and homogenize any theoretical leaps and bounds. According to Pickering, there is a freedom within the professional sciences that allows researchers to invent and consider whatever theories they wish, providing that candidate theories are tested against standards.... (Steven Wexler)

Bloor, Knowledge and Social Imagery (2nd ed.), 1991
The classical statement of the so-called "strong program" in the sociology of scientific knowledge. The four concepts integral to the strong program are causality (beliefs must be explained causally), symmetry (the same analysis should explain both success and failure in science), impartiality with respect to truth or falsity), and reflexivity (the program must apply its methods to itself). The book is well written and concise, with abundant historical examples, mostly taken from mathematics.

Toulmin, Cosmopolis, 1990
"Cosmopolis is intended as a balance-redressing book. There is so much in high school textbooks, in orthodox philosophy of science, in all kinds of much published, much read, much assimilated public thought, which takes it for granted that Galileo and Descartes and Hobbes were embarking on a great new positive direction and that this mathematization of thought was a splendid and admirable thing. In some ways, it's true. It bore all kinds of fruit. But, at the same time, these formal achievements have been allowed to cloud our vision of the other half of our modern inheritance, which goes back a bit further to Erasmus and Thomas More, to Cervantes and Rabelais, to Montaigne and Shakespeare, and people who lived and wrote and contributed before the beginning of modern science and modern philosophy as the academies and schools know it.

At the present time what we see is a convergence of these two traditions. The domination of an ideal of rationality rather than a reasonableness has been receding, so that now we find people in all kinds of fields recognizing that the technicalities and mathematical formulations of that tradition need always to be looked at as contributing or failing to contribute to humane ideals and to humane achievements."

(From: A Conversation with Stephen Toulmin, by Amy Lifson)


The Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry

(Published three times a year.) Its coverage is wide and varied, ranging from studies in exoteric and esoteric alchemy to recent chemistry. The presentation of scientific ideas, methods and discoveries is made as non-technical as possible, consistent with academic rigour and scientific accuracy. The readership of AMBIX is international and includes historians, chemists and scholars in other disciplines.

Annals of Science

Annals of Science was launched in 1936 as an independent review dealing with the development of science since the Renaissance. Now established as the leading scholarly journal in the field, its scope has widened to cover developments since classical antiquity, and to include articles in French and German. Contributions from Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the USA and Russia bear testimony to its international appeal. Each issue includes a comprehensive book reviews section and essay reviews on a group of books on a broader level. The editor is supported by an active international board. The original index has been extended to cover the period 1970 to 1986, and is available from the publisher. A unique feature of the journal is the reproduction of selected illustrations in color.

Archive for History of Exact Sciences (1960— )

(Springer.) Nourishes historical research meeting the standards of the mathematical sciences. Its aim is to give rapid and full publication to writings of exceptional depth, scope, and permanence. Casts light upon the conceptual groundwork of the sciences by analyzing the historical course of mathematical thought and precise theory of nature. While devoted mainly to mathematics and natural philosophy, it also embraces experiment in the physical sciences. Prefers articles written in English but will accept submissions in French, German or Italian. Articles are published in the Archive only via a member of the editorial board, who, by communicating the article, vouches for its quality. The crabbed, vague, and verbose style often called "scholarly" is not acceptable. Authors should reflect clear thought through chosen, specific words composed in direct, responsible, and active syntax. The Editors cannot undertake to rewrite papers and therefore will return at once to the Communicator such communicated manuscripts as they find deficient in style, form, or clarity. The Archive for History of Exact Sciences is published with editorial assistance provided by the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology.

Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte (1978— )

(Quarterly.) The official periodical of the German Society for the History of Science, is a unique source for interdisciplinary historical subjects exemplifying topics in the history of science, medicine, humanities, arts and engineering. Bridging the gap between the "two cultures", the journal also acquaints the scientist with the tradition of his field: it illustrates the consequences of ideas and perceptions and shows the influence of theories and thoughts on the evaluation of historical facts.

British Journal for the History of Science (BJHS)

(Quarterly; Cambridge University Press.) The official organ of the British Society fot the History of Science. It carries academic articles on the history of science, and a comprehensive review of relevant publications.

EASST Review

(Quarterly.) Journal of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology.

History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

History and Philosophy of The Life Sciences is an international journal devoted to the historical development of the life sciences and of their social and epistemological implications. The journal also covers the broader philosophical concerns of biology and medicine. The main interest of the journal is modern western scientific thought, although it also includes any period in history of the life sciences, (e.g. classical antiquity, the Middle Ages) and any cultural area, (e.g. Chinese and Indian medicine).

Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences

(Biannual; published for the Office for History of Science and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley, by the University of California Press.) Journal of the intellectual and social history of the physical sciences and experimental biology since the 17th century.

History of Science (1962— )

A review of literature and research in the history of science, medicine and technoloy in its intellectual and social context.

History and Philosophy of Logic

This journal contains articles, notes and book reviews dealing with the history and philosophy of logic. 'Logic' is understood to be any volume of knowledge which was regarded as logic at the time in question. 'History' refers back to ancient times and also to work in this century; however, the Editor will not accept articles, including review articles, on very recent work on a topic. 'Philosophy' refers to broad and general questions: specialist articles which are now classed as 'philosophical logic' will not be published. The Editor will consider articles on the relationship between logic and other branches of knowledge, but the component of logic must be substantial. Topics with no temporal specification are to be interpreted both historically and philosophically. Each topic includes its own metalogic where appropriate.

History and Technology

(Quarterly; available online; Gordon and Breach.)

Isis (1912— )

(Quarterly; University of Chicago Press.) The international review that George Sarton (1884-1956) founded in Belgium in 1912. The four quarterly issues of Isis each year contain editorials, scholarly articles, essay reviews, book reviews, research notes, documents, and discussions on the history of science, medicine, and technology, and their cultural influences, and news of the profession. The fifth number of each volume, the Isis Current Bibliography, lists over 3,500 publications in all aspects of the history of science. An official publication of the History of Science Society, this is the oldest and most widely circulating English-language journal in the field.


(3 issues per year; available online; Blackwell.) A review journal which covers the fields that comprise the disciplines of history and philosophy of science, and technology and science, technology and society.

Osiris (1936— )

(Annual; University of Chicago Press.) Founded by George Sarton as a companion to the journal Isis, this thematic publication deals with important emerging research in the history of science and its cultural influences. Selected volumes of Osiris cover such topics as Historical Writing on American Science, Science in Germany, Science after '40, Research Schools, Instruments, and Constructing Knowledge in the History of Science.

Radical Science Journal

Science in Context

(Quarterly: Cambridge University Press.) Devoted to the study of the sciences from the point of view of comparative epistemology and historical sociology of scientific knowledge. Committed to an interdisciplinary approach to the study of science and its cultural development. Does not segregate considerations drawn from history, philosophy and sociology. Controversies within scientific knowledge and debates about methodology are presented in their contexts.

Science as Culture

An unmoderated forum for critical discussion of the cultural aspects of all forms of expertise, for example, the impact of science on culture, how culture represents it, the culture of various forms of expertise, the theory of knowledge, the impact of science on culture, including film, video, music, writing, the internet and other communications media, etc.; changing concepts of nature, life and human nature, new technologies, gender aspects of science, racism, elitism, educational theories, you name it.

Social Studies of Science (SSS)
An International Review of Research in the Social Dimensions of Science and Technology

(Quarterly; Sage.) Devoted mainly to the results of original research, whether empirical or theoretical, which bring fresh light to bear on the concepts, processes, development, mediations and consequences of modern science and technology, and on the analysis of their social nature. Covers a diverse range of topics, publishing important papers on new concepts, new methods and new research results. The journal is a vital, responsive and continuing resource for all academics in the field, and for a wide range of readers interested in the analysis of modern society. Multidisciplinary, publishing work from a range of fields including political science, sociology, economics; history, philosophy, psychology; social anthropology, legal and educational disciplines.


Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science

British Society for the History of Science (BSHS)

Brings together people with a common interest in all aspects of the history of science.

Division of History of Science of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science (DHS/IUHPS)

Site organized as an introduction to the Division and its activities, but also as a general introduction to the field of history of science. Offers an overview of the discipline through references to the web sites of national societies, research centers, science museums, scientific journals, the most relevant bibliographical tools and the main discussion groups.

European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) (1981—)

Stimulates communcation, exchange and collaboration in the field of studies of science and technology. Europe in a larger sense evinces a variety of scholarly, cultural, linguistic and political styles, which EASST aims to bridge by providing a forum for discussion, as well as cooperative efforts in research and teaching.

EASST is an interdisciplinary scholarly society, which reflects the closeness of history, philosophy, psychology and sociology of science in recent years. It also welcomes a policy perspective on science and technology. Cross-disciplinary interaction and cross-fertilization between humanistic and policy-oriented studies are important aims. These aims are furthered through the EASST general conference, held every other year, workshops, and the EASST Review.

Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (Germany)

History of Science Society (HSS) (1924— ) (USA)

The world's largest society dedicated to understanding science, technology, medicine, and their interactions with society in their historical context, and the oldest such society. Through its publications and other activities, provides scholars, decisions makers and the public with historical perspectives on science policy and on the potentials, achievements, and the limitations of basic and applied science.

Has members in university, college, and high-school, departments of history and science, in museums of science and technology, in government agencies, in archives, libraries, and foundations, in the medical, scientific, and engineering professions, and among interested amateurs. Today it is both a learned society and a professional association serving over 3,700 individual members and institutions around the world.

Publications enable the Society to carry out its primary role of advancing research and teaching in the history of science. The Society was incorporated in 1924 to secure the future of Isis. The Guide to the History of Science is issued periodically to all members of HSS. Since 1971, the Society has also circulated a quarterly Newsletter, which provides not only news of the Society, but also information on professional meetings, announcements of fellowships, prizes, and awards, a list of books received by Isis, and notices of employment opportunities. In 1985, the Society revived its research journal Osiris. The Society also publishes or sponsors other research and teaching tools in the field such as the Isis Cumulative Bibliography, the Dictionary of Scientific Bibliography, and Topical Essays for Teachers.

The regular, formal set of communications is complemented by the Society's meetings. In recent years the annual meeting has involved eight concurrent sets of sessions, spread over two and a half days, on topics from ancient times to the present, from the pharmacopoeia of Galen to the politics of space science in the 1990s. The elected Council of the Society holds a regular sessions in conjunction with each annual meeting.

The Society is an international organization with nearly thirty-five percent of its regular members residing outside of the United States. It also represents North American historians of science in various ways: it fosters cooperation with government agencies and private foundations concerned with science and the role of science in society both directly and through affiliation with the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and its members serve on the U.S. National Committee of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science.

Österreichische Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (ÖGW) (1992— )

Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) (1958— )

An interdisciplinary organization, SHOT is concerned not only with the history of technological devices and processes, but also with the relations of technology to science, politics, social change, the arts and humanities, and economics.

Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) (1975— )

A nonprofit, professional association. The main purpose is to bring together those interested in understanding science and technology, including the way they develop and interact with their social contexts.

Institutes and Libraries

Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University (Israel)

A research and graduate teaching institute within the framework of the School of History of Tel Aviv University. Established in 1983 by Professor Yehuda Elkana and the late Professor Amos Funkenstein. Professor Sabetai Unguru was Director of the Institute for six years between 1991-1997. In 1989 the Institute was endowed by Barbara and Bertram J. Cohn. The proceeds of the initial endowment, additional contributions from the Cohn family and donations for scholarships and for specific projects from other supporters, have enabled the Institute to operate semi-independently of university budgets and to develop extra-curricular activities and projects that would have been financially inconceivable otherwise. The Institute is the largest and most dynamic center for the History of Science and the Social Studies of Knowledge in the country and one of the five to six most active in the world. The Institute is steered by Academic and Executive Committees, composed of senior academics of Israeli and foreign institutes of research and higher learning.

The Institute has three affiliated Chairs: The Simon P. Silverman Chair for Visiting Professors in the History and Philosophy of Science; The Bertram J. and Barbara Cohn Chair for the History and Philosophy of Science; The Joseph and Ceil Mazer Chair for the History and Philosophy of Science. Currently the Institute has a staff of 11 permanent and 4-5 junior and temporary scholars and a student body of approximately 100 M.A. and 40 Ph.D. candidates.

Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology
(Cambridge, MA, USA)

An international center for advanced research in the history of science and technology. Located at MIT, the Institute each year hosts senior, post-doctoral and graduate student fellows, as well as symposia, conferences, lectures and workshops.

Institute and Museum of History of Science (IMSS) (Florence, Italy)

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (1994— ) (Berlin, Germany)

Its research is primarily devoted to a theoretically oriented history of science, principally of the natural sciences, but with methodological perspectives drawn from the cognitive sciences and from cultural history. All three departments of the Institute aim at the construction of a 'historical epistemology' of the sciences.

Historical epistemology deals with the historical development of knowledge and the technical, social, intellectual, and cultural processes surrounding the acquisition of knowledge in context. Building upon detailed studies from the history of particular sciences, historical epistemology investigates the emergence and evolution of key concepts such as 'number', 'force', 'motion', 'gene', 'organism', and 'field', as well as central categories and practices like 'representation', 'probability', 'causality', 'experiment', 'deduction', 'determinism', and 'objectivity'. The combination of highly specific historical inquiries within this more global framework of inquiry permits comparisons and generalizations spanning numerous disciplines.

Research into the historical development of scientific thought is supported by new methods of documentation and text-processing for sources, for example through electronic archives on CD-ROM and websites, which also make rare or inaccessible historical materials available to a wider circle of scholars.

Smithsonian Institution (1846— ) (USA)

An independent trust instrumentality of the United States holding more than 140 million artifacts and specimens in its trust for "the increase and diffusion of knowledge". The Institution is also a center for research dedicated to public education, national service, and scholarship in the arts, sciences, and history. The Smithsonian is composed of sixteen museums and galleries and the National Zoo and numerous research facilities in the United States and abroad. Nine Smithsonian museums are located on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the

Capitol. Five other museums and the Zoo are elsewhere in Washington, D.C., and both the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian Heye Center are in New York City.

Departments and programs

Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago (USA)

Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Harvard University (USA)

Department of the History of Science and Technology, Open University (USA)

History of Science @ Princeton (USA)

Institute for History and Foundations of Mathematics and the Natural Sciences, Utrecht University (Netherlands)