From Thales to Augustine
It's hard to believe we are closing in on our last week of class. We have certainly covered a lot of ground over the past fourteen weeks. About 40 centuries in fact! We began the semester discussing the early civilizations of the Sumerians, Egyptians, and Babylonians and their quest to understand the origins of the world around them, and we have concluded our journey through the history of science with a discussion of St. Augustine's search for truth by integrating the work of ancient scientists and philosophers with religious beliefs. Augustine's insights helped keep Christianity open to the ideas of modern science which would emerge later.
In class this week, students were each assigned 2-3 of the scientists/philosophers whose work we have studied this semester. They were asked to use their texts to review the ideas and accomplishments of these individuals, as they relate to the development of scientific thinking, and to create a statement, or quote, for each scientist that sums up that individuals primary contribution to the development of science. During our journey through 40 centuries of history, using Joy Hakim's text, we met over twenty influential scientists and philosophers, so students had their work cut out for them keeping track of all of those names and associated accomplishments! This assignment was meant as both a review of the material we have covered this semester, and also to help students appreciate the breadth of scientific discovery they have witnessed. We reviewed each statement that the students created, and they then wrote their final quotes on graphics which I will be assembling on a tri-fold board for display at our science fair next Monday.
We almost made it through the entire text this spring....but not quite! There are five chapters remaining which we were unable to cover in class. I have encouraged students to finish reading the book in the coming weeks so that they don't miss out on the exciting work of Fibonacci, Thomas Aquinas, Gutenberg, and Magellan! For those students who have enjoyed this history of science book, you may want to continue reading Joy Hakim's story of science series.