History of Science - Academic Study

Academic Study

Main article: History of science and technology

As an academic field, history of science began with the publication of William Whewell's History of the Inductive Sciences (first published in 1837). A more formal study of the history of science as an independent discipline was launched by George Sarton's publications, Introduction to the History of Science (1927) and the Isis journal (founded in 1912). Sarton exemplified the early 20th century view of the history of science as the history of great men and great ideas. He shared with many of his contemporaries a Whiggish belief in history as a record of the advances and delays in the march of progress. The history of science was not a recognized subfield of American history in this period, and most of the work was carried out by interested scientists and physicians rather than professional historians. With the work of I. Bernard Cohen at Harvard, the history of science became an established subdiscipline of history after 1945.

The history of mathematics, history of technology, and history of philosophy are distinct areas of research and are covered in other articles. Mathematics is closely related to but distinct from natural science (at least in the modern conception). Technology is likewise closely related to but clearly differs from the search for empirical truth.

History of science is an academic discipline, with an international community of specialists. Main professional organizations for this field include the History of Science Society, the British Society for the History of Science, and the European Society for the History of Science.

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