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Indiana University Bloomington

HPSC Area Certificate

This program is intended to address the current crisis in American science education arising from increasing specialization and compartmentalization within the sciences, on the one hand, and general technical and scientific illiteracy outside the sciences, on the other. By developing a new interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary program open to both undergraduates majoring in the sciences and undergraduates majoring in the humanities we aim to give all undergraduates at Indiana University a unique opportunity to bridge the ever widening gap between the notorious "two cultures." The program is organized and administered within the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, but it also involves a wide spectrum of other units across the university, such as the Departments of Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, English, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Religious Studies, and Sociology; and the Schools of Business, Education, Informatics, Journalism, and Public and Environmental Affairs.

The program involves several different tracks that integrate the sciences and the humanities in a variety of ways:

  1. Life Sciences
  2. Physics, Computation, and Cognition
  3. Science, Society, and Culture
  4. The Nature of Science

These tracks have been developed in consultation with a variety of units at IU. They represent the areas where we perceive the greatest student need and demand, and at the same time, they cover the wide-ranging interests of the HPSC faculty.

Students must complete 25–27 credit hours —24 credit hours of course work divided into eight 3 credit courses, with 1-3 extra credit hours given for a capstone research project. Admission to the program is open to all students enrolled at IU. Four of the courses, totaling 12 credit hours, will be in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, and the remaining four, also totaling 12 credit hours, will be spread across the other curricular units involved in the program in accordance with the chosen track. Those electing track (1) in life sciences, for example, may count designated courses in History, Philosophy, or Religious Studies, as well as designated courses taught in Biology and/or Chemistry; those electing track (2) in physics, computation, and cognition may count designated courses in Physics, Computer Science, and Cognitive Science; and so on. Not more than one of the courses counted for a student's major will also be eligible to count within the area certificate. The HPSC Director of Undergraduate Studies is responsible for advising and mentoring the students through the system of tracks and monitoring their progress.

In the Department of History and Philosophy of Science the core of the program consists of a thematic introduction to the History of Science and Medicine, required for all students participating in the program. A 100–level core course in history and philosophy of science is required for all students in the program. Students may select either the introductory survey course offered every semester under the course number X102 or the Topics course relevant for their chosen track (Track 1) E104 Genetics, Eugenics & Biotechnology, E105 The Science of Animal Minds; Track 2) E103 Quantum Mysteries for Everyone, E105 The Science of Animal Minds, or E 105 Rational Decision Making, Track 3) E104 Evolution, Religion and Society or E104 Occult in Western Civilization or E104 Eyes, Optics, Light & Color, Track 4) E104 "What is Science? And, Who Cares?", E105 The Scientific Revolution, or E 105 Rational Decision Making).

The certificate program within the Department will thus consist of the core Introduction to the History of Science and Medicine (specially designed X102 or Topics course), and three other courses, one of which must be at least at the 300 level. The core course will focus on selected themes in the history of science and medicine from antiquity through the modern period. These will include crucial episodes ranging from the birth of Hippocratic medicine and preSocratic natural philosophy to the origin of nuclear physics and the human genome project. Four courses from other relevant units, adapted to the particular track elected by the student in question, will then complete the program. In the non-HPSC courses, we require, once again, that at least one be at the 300 level or above. Overall, moreover, we require that at least four courses (including both HPSC and non-HPSC courses) will be at the 300/400 level. The main criterion in the selection of the courses for each track is intellectual coherence.

Recommended HPSC courses (offered regularly)

Track 1. Life Sciences

  • Memoirs of Madness (S103)
  • Environmental History (X223)
  • The Origins of Darwinism (X226)
  • History of Physiology from the 18 to the 20th centuries (X226)
  • History of Medicine: From Galen to Harvey and Microscopy (X323)
  • Anatomy and Physiology on William Harvey and His Century (X326)
  • History of Biology (X308)
  • Human Nature (X320)
  • History and Philosophy of Medicine (X320)
  • Philosophy of Medicine (X320)
  • Perception and Observation (X323)

Track 2. Physics, Computation, and Cognition

  • Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science (COGS-Q240)
  • Technology and Culture (X210)
  • History and Philosophy of Physics (X226)
  • Philosophy of Physics (X220)
  • Philosophy of Images and Metaphors in Science (X320)
  • Computer LTD: Logical and Physical Limits on Computation (X326)
  • Quantum Paradoxes: Joy of Entanglement (X326)
  • Relativity Theory (X323)

Track 3. Science, Society, and Culture

  • The Origins of Darwinism (X226)
  • Environmental History (X223)
  • The Art of Science: History and Philosophy of the Use of Images in Science (X326)
  • Anatomy and Physiology: William Harvey and His Century (X326)
  • Cultural History of Astrology (X320)
  • Science and Gender (X370)
  • Victorian Science, Philosophy, and Culture (X420)

Track 4. The Nature of Science

  • History of Science before 1750 (X406)
  • Scientists at Work: Frankenstein to Einstein (X110)
  • Modern Philosophy (X452)
  • Scientific Understanding (X451)
  • History of Science since 1750 (X407)
  • Perception and Observation (X323)
  • Instruments and Experiments (X326)
  • The Art of Science: History and Philosophy of the Use of Images in Science (X326)

All courses taught in HPSC will automatically be eligible for credit within the area certificate, in accordance with the requirements outlined above, and conditional upon their acceptance by the HPSC Certificate Program Director. Some courses in other departments may be taken to fulfill the non-HPSC part of a student's track. The precise courses to be counted for credit will be determined in consultation with the HPSC Director of Undergraduate Studies in accordance with the above model.