General Objective of the curricular unit:
? Expose fundamental aspects related to the history of physics.
? Show a comprehensive approach to nature of science and changes in scientific thinking.
? Analyze the dynamics of epistemological and cultural factors that contribute to changes in science.
? Promote an understanding of the interaction and complementarity between different fields of physics.
? Promote a better understanding of the nature of science, and physics in particular.
? Analyze the development of physics in the sociocultural, economic and political context.
? Encourage an attitude of openness of knowledge to other fields of human activity.
Develop generic skills:
? Analysis and synthesis;
? Oral and written communication;
? Working Group;
? Valuing of diversity and multiculturalism;
? Critical thinking;
? Communication with people who are not experts in the field;
? Autonomous Learning;
1 - Introduction: Nature of science.
2 - Remote origins of Science: Ionians Philosophers; Science in Ancient Greece; Science from the Hellenistic period to the Middle Ages
3 ? Knowledge in the Middle Ages: Arab influence; Scholastic philosophy and the revitalization of the knowledge; Precursors of modernity.
4 - Scientific revolution and birth of the Modern Science: New science and quantification of natural phenomena; Importance of mathematics and scientific instruments
5 - Galileo and the foundations of modern science: Controversy about the heliocentrism; Scientific method; Two new sciences.
6 - Newton and the establishment of new scientific paradigm: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Newtonian Physics and Astronomy.
7 - Achievements and limitations of Classical Physics: Celestial mechanics; New areas of physics in the 19th century; Discoveries at the end of the 19th century and the need for a new physics.
General Physics, Modern Physics Fundamentals, Classic Mechanics I, Quantum mechanics I, Electromagnetism I, Termodynamics.
Generic skills to reach
. Competence in analysis and synthesis; . Competence in oral and written communication; . Knowledge of a foreign language; . Critical thinking; . Competence in autonomous learning; . Using the internet as a communication medium and information source; . Competence for working in group; . Valuing diversity and multiculturalism; . Competence to communicate with people who are not experts in the field; . Creativity; (by decreasing order of importance)
Teaching hours per semester
total of teaching hours
Sseminar or study visit
Laboratory or field work
Synthesis work thesis
Bibliography of reference
COHEN, I. B. (1985). Revolution in Science. Cambridge. Harvard University Press.
HEILBRON, J. L. (1982). Elements of Early Modern Physics. Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press.
HOLTON, G. (1974). Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought. Havard: Havard Univ. Press.
HOLTON, G. (1985) Physics, the human adventure : from copernicus to Einstein and Beyond. London : Rutger University Press.
GRANT, E. (1971). Physical science in the midle ages. New York : John Wiley.
KOYRÉ, A. (1990). Do Mundo Fechado ao Universo Infinito. Lisboa: Gradiva.
MOTZ, L.; WEAVER, J. H. (1988). The concepts of science : from newton to Einstein. New York : Plenum Press,
TATON, R. (ed), (1983). Histoire Generale des Sciences, P.U.F, Paris.
WEAVER, J. H. (1987). The world of physics : a small library of the literature of physics from antiquity to the present : 3 vols. New York : Simon and Schuster.
WEART, S. R., PHILLIPS, M. (eds). (1985). History of physics. New York : American Institute of Physics.
The teaching methods are based on the division into modules corresponding to historical periods defined in the syllabus, in which there will be presentations by the teacher, opening problems and requesting the interventions of students with reference to bibliographic elements previously distributed. The initiation of the students in the History of Physics requires the introduction of basic epistemological concepts and tools as well as an overview of the evolution of scientific thought. The lecture method shall be applied, as the encouragement of bibliographic research using diverse resources.