History and Philosophy of Science and Technology offers an academic path for students who wish to combine serious work in the sciences with the humanities and social sciences. Each program is tailored to the student's own interests: some may choose to focus on ancient mathematics or archaeoastronomy. Others may choose to work in modern physics, perhaps taking quantum physics while pursuing the philosophical questions that pushed Einstein and Heisenberg towards their theoretical work. Another possible field might be in the biological sciences, for instance, the origins and reception of Darwinism. Past students have tackled questions in Renaissance art and science and in contemporary geology. Pre-med or science students often find that history of science courses help situate their technical, biological, chemical, or mathematical work in a broader historical perspective. Historically and philosophically-minded undergraduates can tackle history of science questions regarding the roots of scientific fields, or the development of science policy issues.
The Program in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (HPST) offers graduate degrees at the doctoral level through the departments of History and Philosophy, as well as at the master's level through a variety of affiliated department and programs, principally Classics, Cultural and Social Anthropology, English, and Modern Thought and Literature. In addition, graduate students in such affiliated departments and programs may participate in the HPST program by taking selected courses (see About the Program). Its courses span the period from antiquity to the late 20th century, with special emphasis on ancient and Islamic science; Renaissance science; the scientific revolution; history of medicine and the body; history and philosophy of biology; history and philosophy of modern physics; history of the philosophy of science in the modern period; history of computers and information sciences; and gender, science, and technology. These courses are designed both for students looking for a humanistic perspective on the sciences and for students trying to understand the relationship of the sciences to humanistic knowledge.
Stanford has unique resources for the history and philosophy of science. Situated in the heart of Silicon Valley at an institution with a long and distinguished tradition in many sciences, the University is surrounded by archives for the recent history of science and technology. Stanford University Libraries has rich holdings in Special Collections for the Scientific Revolution, as well as the modern and contemporary study of science and technology. The University is in close proximity to some of the most interesting public science museums in the country: the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium, the Computer History Museum, and the Tech Museum. Graduate students can take advantage of faculty, classes, and archives at UC Berkeley through Stanford's exchange program. The core of the community is the colloquium series which brings together faculty and students several times a quarter to discuss the work of invited speakers on topics of broad concerns to science and technology studies. MORE