Teaching

A list of courses I developed and taught:

Early Modern Science and the Uses of Antiquity – Technische Universität Berlin, Wintersemester 2018/2019

This class introduces students to the different ways in which early modern authors and natural philosophers approached antiquity and ancient sources, from Renaissance revivals to the antiquarian tradition. A focus of the course will be on “prisca sapientia,” the notion that the ancients possessed full knowledge of the natural world. The class will also consider the several early modern philosophical attempts to “recover the science of Adam.”

Early Modern Experiment and its Communities – Technische Universität Berlin, Wintersemester 2017/2018

Early modern experimentation took place in a wide variety of disciplines, traditions, and communities. The goal of this seminar is to investigate and describe some of the various environments where the rise of early modern experimental culture took place, specifically focusing on how these groups shaped experimental practices and the notion of experiment.

The Origins of Early Modern Experiment – Technische Universität Berlin, Wintersemester 2015/2016

Who was experimenting before the Scientific Revolution? Where did experimental culture originate? In which traditions and environments? Why did it become sopopular? This seminar considers the “prehistory” of experimentation. During antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, testing was not the preferred way to investigate the natural world. We will look at disciplines in which experimental ideas took shape, including medicine, natural philosophy, the mathematical sciences, natural magic, and the mechanical arts.

The History of Western Alchemy – Technische Universität Berlin, Sommersemester 2015

In this course, we will consider the extraordinary and surprising history of western alchemy, from its origins in Hellenized Egypt, in the first centuries of the Christian era, through its development in the Arabic world and its transfer to Medieval and early modern Europe. Finally, we will study the period of its maximum expansion, that is to say, the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth-century, when the likes of Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle were among the greatest alchemists of their time.

Introduction to the History of Science, Technology and Medicine – Indiana University Bloomington, Fall 2003

 This course will analyze past worldviews and significant changes in the history of science, technology and medicine from antiquity to modern times. It will consist of lectures, readings and discussions. In class, we will analyze a wide variety of sources, including original scientific texts, literary works (like selected passages from the Homeric poems, or Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver Travels) and significant illustrations from the visual arts. Most of all, we will consider science and technology as fundamental components of past and present human creativity and culture.