History and Philosophy Of Science | History of Biology
X308 | 26408 | Jutta Schickore


History of Biology

Today, scientific investigations of life and disease take place in
big research labs. Biology, medicine, chemistry, and physics are now
inextricably intertwined in the study of normal and pathological
bodily functions. Scientists collaborate in large-scale experiments,
using highly complicated instrumentation and image-making
technologies to expose and examine molecular structures, the basis
of life processes.

All this is in fact a product of recent developments. The biomedical
sciences as we know them emerged during the past two centuries.
Indeed the very notion that life, disease, and heredity depend on
organic processes on the subvisible level, which are accessible only
though lab technology and experiment, took shape in the nineteenth
century. This course traces how the late eighteenth-century worlds
of medicine and natural history evolved into the modern biomedical
sciences. We study the key questions that occupied researchers in
the 19th and early 20th century and explore how new practices,
technologies and institutions helped shape the modern scientific
approach to life and disease. Topics include: Evolution and
morphology; the formation of the cell theory; physiology and the
rise of the laboratory; germs, hygiene, and public health; and the
life sciences on display.

Textbook: Jan Sapp (2003) Genesis. The Evolution of Biology, Oxford
University Press. Additional material will be made available on e-
reserves.