History Department
History Department

Van A. Herd


LecturerPh.D.,

Van A. Herd

Contact

  • Phone: 512-692-9310
  • Office Hours: Summer 2018: M, T, W, TH 2:30-3:30pm
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000

Interests


Neurophysiology, Baroque Science, and Jacob Boehme

Courses


HIS 366N • Newton's Principia

38876 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLM 7.112
(also listed as CTI 375, PHY 341)

The heart of this course will be a close reading of key sections of Newton's Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis. The publication of Newton's Principia in 1687 marks a seminal moment in the history of science. In this course, not only will we follow step-by-step the extraordinary course of Newton's "central argument;" we will throughout the semester discuss such philosophical and historical questions as: the nature of motion, the fundamental differences between ancient and modern mathematics, the changing meaning of "physics" from Aristotle to Galileo to Newton, the mathematical uses of infinity and infinitesimals, the ideas of "laws of nature," "hypotheses," "causes," "rules of philosophizing," the concepts of space, force, inertia, instantaneous velocity, etc., and the problem of action at a distance. By the end of this course you will have mastered the fundamental ideas and methods of one of the greatest minds in the history of Western thought.

HIS S322M • History Of Modern Science

82075 • Summer 2019
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM RLM 7.114
Few fields of human activity are more associated with the rise of the modern world, specifically the modern Western world, than science. This course examines the development of science in the West from the ancient Greeks to the present, with special emphasis of the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries.  This course also surveys the history of engineering and technology, using as its lens the history of mathematics and the history of mechanics because of their centrality to that which became known as modern science and technology.   
 
The course, divided chronologically, also examines the history of medicine as well as the history of science in key non-Western cultures, such as the Needham Hypothesis as applied to Asia, and the archaeoastronomy pertaining to the Towers of Zimbabwe.  In addition, formative cultural sociological forces in science will be examined, especially the role of women and gender in science and science studies.

Grading:
 
Evaluation will be based on a combination of written and oral reports and lab exercises (including the recreation of significant historical lab experiments) designed to foster critical thinking and synthesis of course concepts.  Case studies of key figures in modern science figure prominently in the class activities each day in the class room. These studies are used extensively we examine the marriage of science and technology in the post-Newtonian portion of the course and the prodromal scientific events that heralded the beginning of the 20th century and are the basis for the daily class and lab activity grades.

HIS F322M • History Of Modern Science

82877 • Summer 2018
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM RLM 7.114

Few fields of human activity are more associated with the rise of the modern world, specifically the modern Western world, than science. This course examines the development of science in the West from the Scientific Revolution in the 16th century to  the current day. While this course tracks major scientific and technological advances since 1700, its lens will be the history of mathematics and the history of quantum mechanics and their centrality to modern science and technology. The history of modern science in the Anglophone world begins with Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), who was by many standards the most important figure in the development of modern science. Many credit him and Einstein as the most original thinkers in that development.

Newton's accomplishments were of astonishingly broad scope. For example, as a sidelight to his fundamental contributions in physics and astronomy, he (in parallel with Leibniz) invented the mathematical discipline of calculus, so if you have to take both physics and calculus courses, you have Newton to blame! The poet Alexander Pope was moved to pen the lines:

Nature and Nature's laws,lay hid in night; God said,Let Newton be! and all was light.

Subsequently, we shall employ case studies of key figures in modern science each day in the class room. This will be of especial help as we examine the marriage of science and technology in the post-Newtonian era and the prodromal scientific events that heralded the beginning of the 20th century.

As time permits, we shall also examine briefly the history of medicine as well as the history of science in key non-Western cultures, such as the Needham Hypothesis as applied to Asia, and the archaeoastronomy pertaining to the Towers of Zimbabwe.

Grading:

Evaluation will be based on a combination of written and oral reports and lab exercises designed to foster critical thinking and synthesis of course concepts.

HIS S322M • History Of Modern Science

83635 • Summer 2016
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM WRW 113

In this course, we will survey the development of modern science from the time of Isaac Newton to the present, and will examine the growth of scientific ideas and institutions and their changing place in Western society.

Texts:

Thomas L. Hankins, Science and the Enlightenment,

Charles Darwin, Evolutionary Writings (ed. James Secord),

Bruce J. Hunt, Pursuing Power and Light: Technology and Physics from James Watt to Albert Einstein,

James D. Watson, The Double Helix (Norton Critical Ed., ed. G. S. Stent),

plus a packet of xeroxed readings.

Grading:

Grades will be based on three essay exams (25% each) and a short paper on a topic to be assigned (25%).

HIS 329U • Perspectives On Science & Math

38460-38465 • Fall 2015
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM PAI 4.18
Wr SB

This course explores a selection of topics and episodes in the history of science and mathematics. It has four interlocking goals: to provide an overview of the history of science and math (for general education and to better comprehend subjects that you may eventually teach); to enable you to put these historical perspectives and context to work in pedagogy; to sharpen your independence of thought; and to improve your writing skills.

 

Students will design and prepare Two 5E Lesson Plans (each having a minimum length of 1200 words). Detailed instructions will be distributed separately. You will select the subject of these lesson plans from a variety of options. Once graded, you will incorporate corrections into your lesson plan, to electronically post the revised product, which will improve your grade. There will be several quizzes and writing assignments. All students will take a Midterm Exam, designed to test the extent to which you have followed, engaged, and learned from the topics discussed in class and in the readings. Furthermore, you will have to do a Presentation of one of your lesson plans to a group of peers. (You will also write Comments on other presentations.) Finally, all students will have to take a Final Essay Exam (about 800 words) in the classroom during Finals Week.

 

NOTE: this course involves a weekly discussion session with the Teaching Assistant from the History Department. You are required to attend one such session per week, to carry out work for the course.

 

This is an upper-division history course. The assigned readings vary in length, and we encourage you to read thoughtfully rather than waste your time skimming and forgetting. Some of the readings will be from primary sources (such as writings by prominent scientists), other readings will be from secondary texts (such as by historians). You will also be required to do additional research and reading for the lesson plans; so keep this in mind when budgeting your time for this course. Classes will be conducted as a mixture of lecture and discussion. Accordingly, attendance and participation are important, as you can also see from the grading distributions below. Attendance will be taken daily, and will be used in evaluating your overall grade for class participation. You are welcome to speak up at any time.

 

Texts:

There is a required Course Packet, available for purchase only at Jenn’s Copies on 2518 Guadalupe at Dean Keaton. Also, additional readings are available online, on Blackboard.

 

Grading:

This course is listed as having a Substantial Writing Component; therefore, much of your final grade will be based on written expression. The grading breakdown is as follows:

Class participation 10% (for speaking; minus absences, see below)

Quizzes and Assignments    16%

First Lesson Plan    16%

Midterm Exam    16% (in class)

Second Lesson Plan 16%

Presentation    10%

Final Exam    16% (in a classroom, during Finals Week)

 

HIS 329U • Perspectives On Science & Math

38470-38475 • Fall 2015
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM PAI 4.18
Wr SB

This course explores a selection of topics and episodes in the history of science and mathematics. It has four interlocking goals: to provide an overview of the history of science and math (for general education and to better comprehend subjects that you may eventually teach); to enable you to put these historical perspectives and context to work in pedagogy; to sharpen your independence of thought; and to improve your writing skills.

 

Students will design and prepare Two 5E Lesson Plans (each having a minimum length of 1200 words). Detailed instructions will be distributed separately. You will select the subject of these lesson plans from a variety of options. Once graded, you will incorporate corrections into your lesson plan, to electronically post the revised product, which will improve your grade. There will be several quizzes and writing assignments. All students will take a Midterm Exam, designed to test the extent to which you have followed, engaged, and learned from the topics discussed in class and in the readings. Furthermore, you will have to do a Presentation of one of your lesson plans to a group of peers. (You will also write Comments on other presentations.) Finally, all students will have to take a Final Essay Exam (about 800 words) in the classroom during Finals Week.

 

NOTE: this course involves a weekly discussion session with the Teaching Assistant from the History Department. You are required to attend one such session per week, to carry out work for the course.

 

This is an upper-division history course. The assigned readings vary in length, and we encourage you to read thoughtfully rather than waste your time skimming and forgetting. Some of the readings will be from primary sources (such as writings by prominent scientists), other readings will be from secondary texts (such as by historians). You will also be required to do additional research and reading for the lesson plans; so keep this in mind when budgeting your time for this course. Classes will be conducted as a mixture of lecture and discussion. Accordingly, attendance and participation are important, as you can also see from the grading distributions below. Attendance will be taken daily, and will be used in evaluating your overall grade for class participation. You are welcome to speak up at any time.

 

Texts:

There is a required Course Packet, available for purchase only at Jenn’s Copies on 2518 Guadalupe at Dean Keaton. Also, additional readings are available online, on Blackboard.

 

Grading:

This course is listed as having a Substantial Writing Component; therefore, much of your final grade will be based on written expression. The grading breakdown is as follows:

Class participation 10% (for speaking; minus absences, see below)

Quizzes and Assignments    16%

First Lesson Plan    16%

Midterm Exam    16% (in class)

Second Lesson Plan 16%

Presentation    10%

Final Exam    16% (in a classroom, during Finals Week)

 

HIS S322M • History Of Modern Science

84340 • Summer 2015
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM WRW 113

Few fields of human activity are more associated with the rise of the modern world, specifically the modern Western world, than science. This course examines the development of science in the West from the Scientific Revolution in the 16th century to  the current day. While this course tracks major scientific and technological advances since 1700, its lens will be the history of mathematics and the history of quantum mechanics and their centrality to modern science and technology. The history of modern science in the Anglophone world begins with Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), who was by many standards the most important figure in the development of modern science. Many credit him and Einstein as the most original thinkers in that development.

Newton's accomplishments were of astonishingly broad scope. For example, as a sidelight to his fundamental contributions in physics and astronomy, he (in parallel with Leibniz) invented the mathematical discipline of calculus, so if you have to take both physics and calculus courses, you have Newton to blame! The poet Alexander Pope was moved to pen the lines:

Nature and Nature's laws,lay hid in night; God said,Let Newton be! and all was light.

Subsequently, we shall employ case studies of key figures in modern science each day in the class room. This will be of especial help as we examine the marriage of science and technology in the post-Newtonian era and the prodromal scientific events that heralded the beginning of the 20th century.

As time permits, we shall also examine briefly the history of medicine as well as the history of science in key non-Western cultures, such as the Needham Hypothesis as applied to Asia, and the archaeoastronomy pertaining to the Towers of Zimbabwe.

Texts:

1. Dobbs, Betty Jo Teeter, and Margaret Jacob. Newton and the Culture ofNewtonianism. New York: Humanity Books, 1994. ISBN-10: 1573925454 andISBN-13: 978-1573925457.

2. Gribbin, John. The Scientists: A History of Science Told through the Lives of ItsGreatest Inventors. New York: Random House, 2004. ISBN: 9780812967883.Also available in Kindle.™

3. Hawking, Stephen. The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of: The Most Astounding Papersof Quantum Physics and How They Shook the Scientific World. New York:Running Press, 2011. ISBN-10: 0762434341 and  ISBN-13: 978-0762434343.

4. Jungk, Robert. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the AtomicScientists New York: Harcourt Brace, 1958. ISBN-10: 0156141507 and ISBN-13:978-0156141505. Please note that any edition is just fine for the purposes of thecourse.

5. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 4th edition. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 2012. ISBN-10: 0226458121 and ISBN-13: 978-0226458120. Also available in Kindle.™ Please note that any edition is just finefor the purposes of the course.Grading:

Evaluation will be based on a combination of written and oral reports and exercisesdesigned to foster critical thinking and synthesis of course concepts.

HIS S322M • History Of Modern Science

85145 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM WEL 2.256

Few fields of human activity are more associated with the rise of the modern world, specifically the modern Western world, than science. This course examines the development of science in the West from the Scientific Revolution in the 16th century to  the current day. While this course tracks major scientific and technological advances since 1700, its lens will be the history of mathematics and the history of quantum mechanics and their centrality to modern science and technology. The history of modern science in the Anglophone world begins with Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), who was by many standards the most important figure in the development of modern science. Many credit him and Einstein as the most original thinkers in that development.

Newton's accomplishments were of astonishingly broad scope. For example, as a sidelight to his fundamental contributions in physics and astronomy, he (in parallel with Leibniz) invented the mathematical discipline of calculus, so if you have to take both physics and calculus courses, you have Newton to blame! The poet Alexander Pope was moved to pen the lines:

Nature and Nature's laws,lay hid in night; God said,Let Newton be! and all was light.

Subsequently, we shall employ case studies of key figures in modern science each day in the class room. This will be of especial help as we examine the marriage of science and technology in the post-Newtonian era and the prodromal scientific events that heralded the beginning of the 20th century.

As time permits, we shall also examine briefly the history of medicine as well as the history of science in key non-Western cultures, such as the Needham Hypothesis as applied to Asia, and the archaeoastronomy pertaining to the Towers of Zimbabwe.

Texts:

1. Dobbs, Betty Jo Teeter, and Margaret Jacob. Newton and the Culture ofNewtonianism. New York: Humanity Books, 1994. ISBN-10: 1573925454 andISBN-13: 978-1573925457.

2. Gribbin, John. The Scientists: A History of Science Told through the Lives of ItsGreatest Inventors. New York: Random House, 2004. ISBN: 9780812967883.Also available in Kindle.™

3. Hawking, Stephen. The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of: The Most Astounding Papersof Quantum Physics and How They Shook the Scientific World. New York:Running Press, 2011. ISBN-10: 0762434341 and  ISBN-13: 978-0762434343.

4. Jungk, Robert. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the AtomicScientists New York: Harcourt Brace, 1958. ISBN-10: 0156141507 and ISBN-13:978-0156141505. Please note that any edition is just fine for the purposes of thecourse.

5. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 4th edition. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 2012. ISBN-10: 0226458121 and ISBN-13: 978-0226458120. Also available in Kindle.™ Please note that any edition is just finefor the purposes of the course.Grading:

Evaluation will be based on a combination of written and oral reports and exercisesdesigned to foster critical thinking and synthesis of course concepts.

HIS S322M • History Of Modern Science

85450 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM PAI 4.14

Few fields of human activity are more associated with the rise of the modern world, specifically the modern Western world, than science. This course examines the development of science in the West from the Scientific Revolution in the 16th century to  the current day. While this course tracks major scientific and technological advances since 1700, its lens will be the history of mathematics and the history of quantum mechanics and their centrality to modern science and technology. The history of modern science in the Anglophone world begins with Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), who was by many standards the most important figure in the development of modern science. Many credit him and Einstein as the most original thinkers in that development.

Newton's accomplishments were of astonishingly broad scope. For example, as a sidelight to his fundamental contributions in physics and astronomy, he (in parallel with Leibniz) invented the mathematical discipline of calculus, so if you have to take both physics and calculus courses, you have Newton to blame! The poet Alexander Pope was moved to pen the lines:

Nature and Nature's laws,

lay hid in night; God said,

Let Newton be!

and all was light.

Subsequently, we shall employ case studies of key figures in modern science each day in the class room. This will be of especial help as we examine the marriage of science and technology in the post-Newtonian era and the prodromal scientific events that heralded the beginning of the 20th century.

As time permits, we shall also examine briefly the history of medicine as well as the history of science in key non-Western cultures, such as the Needham Hypothesis as applied to Asia, and the archaeoastronomy pertaining to the Towers of Zimbabwe.

Texts:

1. Dobbs, Betty Jo Teeter, and Margaret Jacob. Newton and the Culture ofNewtonianism. New York: Humanity Books, 1994. ISBN-10: 1573925454 and ISBN-13: 978-1573925457.

2. Gribbin, John. The Scientists: A History of Science Told through the Lives of ItsGreatest Inventors. New York: Random House, 2004. ISBN: 9780812967883. Also available in Kindle.™

3. Hawking, Stephen. The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of: The Most Astounding Papersof Quantum Physics and How They Shook the Scientific World. New York:Running Press, 2011. ISBN-10: 0762434341 and  ISBN-13: 978-0762434343.

4. Jungk, Robert. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the AtomicScientists New York: Harcourt Brace, 1958. ISBN-10: 0156141507 and ISBN-13:978-0156141505. Please note that any edition is just fine for the purposes of thecourse. ?

5. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 4th edition. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 2012. ISBN-10: 0226458121 and ISBN-13: 978-0226458120. Also available in Kindle.™ Please note that any edition is just finefor the purposes of the course.

Grading:

Evaluation will be based on a combination of written and oral reports and exercisesdesigned to foster critical thinking and synthesis of course concepts.

HIS S322M • History Of Modern Science

85665 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM GAR 1.126

Description.

Few fields of human activity are more associated with the rise of the modern world, specifically the modern Western world, than science. This course examines the development of science in the West from its origins in the sixteenth century to the current day. While the course tracks major scientific and technological advances since 1700, its lens will be the history of mathematics and its marriage to modern science and technology.

 

 

Required texts

1. Dobbs, Betty Jo Teeter, and Margaret Jacob.  Newton and the Culture of Newtonianism.

 

2. Gribben, John. The Scientists: A History of Science Told through the Lives of Its Greatest   Inventors, ISBN: 9780812967883.

 

3. Hawking, Stephen.  God Created the Integers: the Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History.  ISBN-10: 0762430044   ISBN-13: 978-0762430048

 

4. Jungk, Robert.  Brighter Than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists New York: Harcourt Brace, 1958.

5. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed., 1970, or 3rd ed., 1996.

 

Additional material will be distributed in class.  There are also some materials placed on physical reserve in Perry Castañeda Library.

 

Grading (tentative distribution)

            Attendence                                          20%

            Assignments                                       36%

            Class participation                              5%

            Group Assignments                            10%

            Exams                                                  29%

 

 

Curriculum Vitae


Profile Pages