History of Science and Technology

Franklin, Newton, Einstein

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Core Research Databases

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Publication coverage: 1954 - present
Access restricted to the Queen's community (6 user limit)
Citations and some abstracts to journal articles, dissertations, and book and media reviews on United States and Canadian history from prehistory to the present. Covers all historical topics and a variety of disciplines including popular culture, gender studies, anthropology, literature and folklore, etc.
Publication coverage: 1954 - present
Access restricted to the Queen's community (6 user limit)
Citations and some abstracts of journal articles, books, and dissertations on world history from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada). It covers all historical topics and a variety of disciplines including religion, gender studies, anthropology, political science, etc.
1913-
Critical bibliography of the history of science and its cultural influences
Publication coverage: Pre-1925
Largest resource for historical research prior to 1925. Brings together over 60 subject indexes, including Math, Physics, Mechanics, to: Periodicals, Newspapers, Books, US Congressional Record, US and UK Government Documents, US Patents
Online 1998-
Print: v.1-36 (1960-1995) - T1 .T19

Article Indexes & Databases

Core Research Databases

  You are connecting from off-campus. You will be prompted to enter your NetID and password before connecting to a Queen's-only database.
Publication coverage: 1954 - present
Access restricted to the Queen's community (6 user limit)
Citations and some abstracts to journal articles, dissertations, and book and media reviews on United States and Canadian history from prehistory to the present. Covers all historical topics and a variety of disciplines including popular culture, gender studies, anthropology, literature and folklore, etc.
Publication coverage: 1954 - present
Access restricted to the Queen's community (6 user limit)
Citations and some abstracts of journal articles, books, and dissertations on world history from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada). It covers all historical topics and a variety of disciplines including religion, gender studies, anthropology, political science, etc.
1913-
Critical bibliography of the history of science and its cultural influences
Publication coverage: Pre-1925
Largest resource for historical research prior to 1925. Brings together over 60 subject indexes, including Math, Physics, Mechanics, to: Periodicals, Newspapers, Books, US Congressional Record, US and UK Government Documents, US Patents
Online 1998-
Print: v.1-36 (1960-1995) - T1 .T19

Encyclopedias, Dictionaries & Bibliographies

Encyclopedias

Dictionaries

  • Larousse Dictionary of Scientists
    Ref Q141 L36 1994
  • Cambridge dictionary of scientists
    Ref Q141 .C128 1996t
  • Dictionary of the history of science
    Ref Q124.8 .S43 2001t

Bibliographies

  • Information sources in the history of science and medicine
    Ref Z6660.8 .I5 1983t
  • ISIS cumulative bibliography 1966-1975, 1976-1985, 1986-1995 : a bibliography of the history of science formed from ISIS critical bibliographies
    Z7405 .H6 I2 suppl.1-3 (Shelved on 4s - books)
  • A bibliography of the history of Canadian science and technology
    Ref Z7407 .C2 R66 1995t (WD Jordan Special Collections - Lorne Pierce)
  • Medieval science and technology : a selected, annotated bibliography
    Z7405 .H6 K74 1985 (Shelved on 4s - books)

Biographies

To find more titles search QCAT

Search by Subject (for example):

scientists - biography
engineers - biography
scientists - biography - dictionary

Search by Keyword (for example):

scientists and biography
engineers and biography
scientists and biography and dictionary

Chronologies

To find more titles search QCAT

Search by Subject (for example):

Technology - chronology
Science - chronology

Search by Keyword (for example):

Technology and chronology
Science and chronology

Books

Science History

To find more titles search QCAT

Search by Subject (i.e. science - history)
Search by Keyword (i.e. science and history)

or browse the shelves under call numbers Q124.7 - Q127.2

Illustrated Histories of Science

To find more titles search QCAT

Search by Subject (i.e. scientific illustration - history)
Search by Keyword (i.e. "scientific illustration" and history)

History of Biology

To find more titles search QCAT

Search by Subject (i.e. biology - history) or
Keyword (i.e. biology and history)

History of Chemistry

To find more titles search QCAT

Search by Subject (i.e. chemistry - history)
Search by Keyword (i.e. chemistry and history)

History of Mathematics

see Mathematics and Statistics Guide

History of Technology

To find more titles search QCAT

Search by Subject (i.e. technology - history)

Search by Keyword (i.e. technology and history)

History of Western Science

History of Western Science - Reading List

All books are in the Engineering and Science Library unless otherwise indicated.

1. REFERENCE WORKS

Hypatia's Heritage: A History of Women in Science from Antiquity Through the Nineteenth Century / Alic, Margaret, Beacon Press, 1986. A collection of relatively brief biographies, indispensable for its scope and completeness. Shows, in considerable detail, that there's more to the subject than Marie Curie and Rachel Carson.
Q130 .A48 1986 (Education Library)

Dictionary of the History of Science / Bynum, W. F., E, J. Browne, and Roy Porter, Princeton UP, 1984. Seven hundred articles dealing with the history of specific scientific ideas and concepts. Extensive cross-referencing, indexing, and bibliographies make this a useful supplement to individual- and event-oriented works.
Q124.8 .S43 2001t

Dictionary of Scientific Biography / Gillispie, Charles Coulston, ed., 16 volumes. Scribners, 1970-80. Easily the most complete history-of-science reference source available. Multi-page entries on major scientists are frequently the best work available on their subjects, and can serve as useful introductions to major periods and subjects.
Q141 .D5 1970

Companion to the History of Modern Science / Olby, R. C., et al., Routledge, 1990. Not a reference book in the conventional sense, but a collection of sixty-seven authoritative essays on the methods and contents of the history of science. The essays are grouped into six broad sections: Neighboring Disciplines, Analytical Perspectives, Philosophical Problems, Turning Points, Topics and Interpretations, and Themes.
Q125 .C565 1990 (Education Library)

2. GENERAL WORKS AND OVERVIEWS

Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery / Asimov, Isaac, updated edition. Harper Collins, 1994. Scientific and technological breakthroughs from antiquity to the present, narrated in Asimov's characteristic (learned, breezy, accessible) style. Treats discoveries in social and cultural context.
Q125 .A765 1989 (Education Library - Reference)

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions / Kuhn, Thomas S. , 2nd ed. U. of Chicago Press, 1970. Landmark theoretical study of how scientific communities function and how new scientific ideas become accepted. Among the most influential history-of-science studies ever written.
Q175 .K96 1970

Science and the Making of the Modern World / Marks, John M., Heinemann, 1984. Focuses, as its title suggests, on the social dimensions of science, mostly after 1650. Designed as an undergraduate textbook, offering broad introductions to many science-and-society topics treated in greater depth by others.
Q125 .M334 1983

A History of the Sciences. MacMillan / Mason, Stephen F., 1962. [older editions titled: Main Currents of Scientific Thought] Nuts-and-bolts history of science emphasizing theories, data, and experiments at the expense of social context. Concise text and broad coverage compensates for dry writing style and sometimes dated interpretation.
Q125 .M39 1962

The Architecture of Matter / Toulmin, Stephen, and June Goodfield. , U of Chicago Press, 1982 [1961]. History of ideas about the nature of matter, animate and inanimate, from the ancient Greeks to the 20th century. Selective, rather than comprehensive, with an emphasis on recurring themes.
Q125 .T65

The Fabric of the Heavens / Toulmin, Stephen, and June Goodfield, London, Hutchinson, 1961. Survey of astronomy, physics, and their relationship from the Babylonians (c. 1700 BC) to Isaac Newton (c. 1700 AD).
QB981 .T7

3. CLASSICAL SCIENCE (TO 1500 AD)

Grant, Edward. Physical Science in the Middle Ages. Wiley, 1971. Covers the origins of medieval science and its institutions [treated in more depth in Grant (1996)] and basic medieval ideas about the motion of celestial and terrestrial bodies.
Q125 .G76 1971

Grant, Edward. The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages: Their Religious, Institutional, and Intellectual Contexts. Cambridge UP, 1996. Traces the rediscovery, translation, and transformation of ancient Greek science by medieval scholars, and the intersection of Aristotelian and Christian thought.
Q124.97 .G68 1996

Lindberg, David. The Beginnings of Western Science. U. of Chicago Press, 1992. The best, most comprehensive introduction to the history of science in the ancient and medieval West. Aimed at undergraduates and non-specialists, with careful explanations of ideas and the social contexts in which they evolved.
Q124.95 .L55 1992

Lloyd, G. E. R. Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle and Greek Science After Aristotle. Chatto and Windus, 1970. Compact, wide-ranging surveys of ancient Greek scientific ideas from their origins in the 6th century BC to their absorption by the Romans.
Q127 .G7 L57 1970

Neugebauer, Otto. The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, Originally published in 1957, and still among the best surveys of ancient mathematics, physics, and astronomy.
QA22 .N36 1957

4. EARLY MODERN SCIENCE (1500-1800 AD)

Cohen, I. Bernard. The Birth of a New Physics, revised edition. 1960. The origins of classical physics in the work of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Leibniz, and Newton. Aimed at undergraduates and general readers; uses math sparingly.
QC122 .C6 1960

Hall, A. Rupert. The Revolution in Science, 1500-1750, 3rd ed. Addison-Wesley, 1983. Comprehensive, densely written history of the origins of modern science, originally published in the 1950s. Focuses on ideas more than social institutions, and physical more than biological sciences.
Q125 .H28 1983

Merchant, Carolyn. The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution. Harper, 1990. Provocative re-examination of the Scientific Revolution, arguing that the rise of a mechanical worldview sanctioned the exploitation of nature and the subordination of women.
Q130 .M47 1990

Schiebinger, Londa. The Mind Has No Sex?: Women in the Origins of Modern Science. Harvard UP, 1989. Examines both the role of women in 17th and 18th century science and scientific attitudes toward women that emerged during the same period.
Q130 .S32 1989t

Shapin, Steven. The Scientific Revolution. U. of Chicago Press, 1998. Iconoclastic view of the Scientific Revolution (particularly its social dimension) which questions its existence. Divided into three sections: "What Was Known?"; "How Was It Known?"; and "What Was the Knowledge For?"
Q125 .S5166 1996

5. PHYSICAL SCIENCES SINCE 1700

Brock, William H. The Norton History of Chemistry. Norton, 1992. Chemistry gets the Norton treatment--comprehensive, balanced, and detailed enough to be useful without becoming overwhelming. The best single volume on the subject for non-specialists.
QD11 .B76 1992

Cassidy, David. Einstein and Our World. Humanities Press, 1995. Brief, non-technical survey of Einstein's ideas, scientific and otherwise, and their impact on the first half of the 20th century. A compact case study of the intersection of science and culture.
QC16 .E5 C37 1995

Cline, Barbara Lovett. Men Who Made a New Physics: Physicists and Quantum Theory. U. of Chicago Press, 1987. Biography-oriented history of one of the revolutions in 20th-century physics, written for non-specialists without a background in quantum theory.
QC15 .C4 1987 (Education Library)

Harman, P. M. Energy, Force, and Matter: The Conceptual Development of Nineteenth Century Physics. Cambridge UP, 1982. Worth seeking out for its brief but comprehensive review of a particularly innovative period in the history of physics.
QC7 .H257

Knight, David. Ideas in Chemistry. Rutgers UP, 1992. Big-picture history of chemistry from its origins in medieval alchemy through its glory days in the 18th and early 19th century to its reduced, 20th century status as a "service science." Covers key people, ideas, and experiments, but not a comprehensive "names and dates" compendium.
QD11 .K53 1992t

6. LIFE AND EARTH SCIENCES SINCE 1700

William Coleman, Biology in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge UP, 1971. Compact, wide-ranging survey of biological thought at both the macro- and microscopic levels. Densely packed, but non-technical.
QH305 .C54 1971

Bowler, Peter J. Evolution: The History of an Idea, 2nd ed. U. of California Press, 1989. Textbook-style survey of evolutionary theory, with side excursions into the history of geology and paleontology. Usefully summarizes Bowler's extensive contributions to the field.
QH361 .B69 1989t

Bowler, Peter J. The Norton History of the Environmental Sciences. Norton, 1993. Despite its title, primarily a history of ideas about the history of the Earth and of its living inhabitants, with some attention to ecology, meteorology, and oceanography. Probably the best single-volume treatment of its chosen subjects.
GE50 .B68 1993 (Education Library - Reference, and Stauffer Library)

Judson, Horace Freeland. The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology, Simon and Schuster, 1979. Long and detailed, but non-technical, history of 20th century molecular biology.
QP624 .J82

Kohn, David, ed. The Darwinian Heritage. Princeton UP, 1985. The vast literature on Darwin and Darwinism embraces a great variety of subjects and approaches. This thick collection of articles provides a representative cross-section. Its table of contents could serve as an impromptu "Who's Who" of the "Darwin Industry."
QH31 .D2 D385 1985

Magner, Lois. A History of the Life Sciences, 3rd edition. Marcel Dekker, 2002. Comprehensive history of the biological sciences from the ancient world to the present day. Divided chronologically for the period through the Renaissance, thematically thereafter.
QH305 .M196h 2002

Schiebinger, Londa. Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science. Beacon Press, 1995. Traces the role of 17th and 18th-century science, particularly Linnaean taxonomy, in establishing the European male as the paradigm of all humankind.
QP81.5 .S35 1993 (Education Library)

Thrower, Norman J. W. Maps and Civilization. U. of Chicago Press, 1996. Traces the development of cartography and the social and political uses to which it was put, touching on non-Western as well as Western maps and societies.
GA201 .T47 1996t (Stauffer Library - Maps and Air Photos)

Worster, Donald. Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas. Cambridge UP, 1985. A classic history of ecological ideas and their cultural impact, by a leading figure in the study of environmental history.
QH541 .W638 1985

7. SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

Ben-David, Joseph. The Scientist's Role in Society. U. of Chicago Press, 1984. Brief, pioneering study of the historical sociology of science, which uses case studies from various Western societies to show how scientists' now-central role in society emerged.
Q147 .B45 1984

Dawkins, Richard. The blind watchmaker. New York : Norton, c1986. The title refers to Rev. William Paley's 1802 work, Natural Theology.
QH366.2 .D37 1986t

Dennett, Daniel. Darwin's dangerous idea. New York : Simon & Schuster, c1995. Dennett shows how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe.
QH375 .D45 1995

Dupree, A. Hunter. Science in the Federal Government: A History of Policies and Activities. [1957] Johns Hopkins UP, 1986. Still the standard source for the period up to World War II; comprehensive and detailed without sacrificing readability. For the post-WWII period, see Greenberg (1967).
Q127 .U6 D78 1957

Gould, Stephen J. The Mismeasure of Man. Historical and passionate critique of what Gould sees as the misuse of biology to explain and justify existing social inequalities. Case studies include intelligence testing, brain-size comparisons between races, and the vanished 19th century science of "criminal anthropology."
BF431 .G68 1996 (Education Library, earlier editions in Stauffer Library)

Greenberg, Daniel S. The Politics of Pure Science: An Inquiry into the Relationship between Science and Government in the United States. New American Library, 1967. Thirty years old and thus somewhat dated, but remains a solid introduction to the interdependency of science and the US government in the mid-20th century.
Q127 .U6 G68 1967

Jacob, Margaret. Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West. Oxford UP, 1996. Surveys the interrelations of science, industry, and society in France and, particularly, in Britain. Begins with the cultural and scientific legacies of Newton and Descartes and ends in the early stages of industrialization.
Q175.5 .J3 1997

Josephson, Paul R. Totalitarian Science and Technology. Humanities Press, 2000. Most introductory studies of modern science and technology in their cultural context focus on democratic or proto-democratic societies. This brief volume provides another view, by focusing on Germany under the Nazis and the USSR under Stalin.
Q175.52.G3 J67 2000

Paul, Diane B. Controlling Human Heredity, 1865 to the present. Humanities Press, 1995. The history of late-19th and early-20th-century attempts to create a better human race by applying scientists' emerging knowledge of genetics. Briefly links its main story to present-day concerns, but useful primarily as a brief synopsis of material covered at length by Gould (1981) and Kevles (1985).
HQ751 .P38 1995

Rhodes, Richard. The Making of the Atomic Bomb. [1987] Touchstone, 1995. Massive, prize-winning history of the design, building, testing, and aftermath of the first atomic bombs. An unmatched treatment of the biggest of all Big Science projects, coupled with a substantial history of pre-WWII nuclear physics and detailed portraits of Niels Bohr and J. Robert Oppenheimer, among others.
QC773 .R46 1986t

8. SCIENCE AND CULTURE

Brooke, John Hedley. Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives. Cambridge UP, 1991. A comprehensive narrative/analysis of the changing relationship between scientific and religious ideas, set in the context of recent history-of-science scholarship. Dense, detailed, and demanding, but written with acute insight and brilliant clarity of expression.
BL245 .B77 1991t (Stauffer Library)

Burnham, John C. How Superstition Won and Science Lost: Popularizing Science and Health in the United States. Rutgers UP, 1987. Thoughtful--if somewhat depressing--analysis of the intersection of scientific and popular understandings of the world.
Q225 .B87 1987t

Landau, Misia. Narratives of Human Evolution. Yale UP, 1991. A unique perspective on narratives of human evolution from Darwin to the present, arguing that they mirror the structure of hero-on-a-quest folktales. An elegant argument for literature's impact on science. GN281 .L354 1991t (Stauffer Library)

Levine, George. Darwin and the Novelists: Patterns of Science in Victorian Fiction. U. of Chicago Press, 1988. A pioneering study of science's influence on major literary figures, and an introduction to the rapidly growing science-and-literature field. PR878 .S34 L4 1988t (Stauffer Library)

Lindberg, David C., and Ronald L. Numbers. God and Nature: Historical Perspectives on the Encounter Between Science and Christianity. U. of California Press, 1986. A collection of essays by an all-star team of historians of science that collectively revise the old "warfare" model of science's relationship to religion. Many of the individual essays remain the best treatments of their subjects.
BL245 .G63 1986 (Stauffer Library)

Nelkin, Dorothy, and M. Susan Lindee. The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon. W. H. Freeman, 1995. Surveys the nature and impact of popular ideas about scientific issues connected with genetics, including DNA fingerprinting, the Human Genome Project, and genetic testing.
QH430 .N46 1995

Nelkin, Dorothy. Selling Science: How the Press Covers Science and Technology, revised edition. W. H. Freeman, 1995. Wide-ranging critique of the often-symbiotic relationship between scientists and the press. Treats journalists' depictions of scientists and the scientific process, as well as their handling of specific theories.
Q225 .N35 1995

Rydell, Robert. All the World's A Fair
T395.5 .U6 R93 1984
AND World of Fairs.
T395.5 .U6 R94 1993t Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, . Analyzes the American World's Fairs of, respectively, 1876-1916 and 1919-1939 as artfully constructed displays of American attitudes toward science, technology, race, gender, and cultural progress.

9. LIVES IN SCIENCE

Abir-Am, Pnina G., and Dorinda Outram. Uneasy Careers and Intimate Lives: Women in the Sciences, 1789-1979. Rutgers UP, 1987. Pioneering collection of chapter-length biographical studies of women scientists, some familiar, most not.
Q130 .U525 1987t

Brennan, Richard. Heisenberg Probably Slept Here. John Wiley, 1996. Chapter-length biographies of seven major 20th-century physicists, treating their ideas as well as their careers. Covers, in addition to the title character, Einstein, Feynmann, Planck, and others.
QC15 .B74 1997

Geison, Gerald L. The Private Science of Louis Pasteur. Princeton UP, 1995. Detailed study of Pasteur's life and work, rooted in the author's careful analysis of his laboratory notebooks. Careful and even-handed in placing Pasteur's ideas and methods in the context of his times, but topples a number of cherished Pasteur myths.
Q143 .P2 G35 1995

Hoffman, Banesh, and Helen Dukas. Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel. New American Library, 1989. Short, fond biography of Einstein by two colleagues, with dense-but-comprehensible explanations of his science interspersed with rose-colored stories of his personal life.
QC16 .E5 H64 1972

Keller, Evelyn Fox. A Feeling for the Organism. Award-winning biography of pioneer geneticist Barbara McClintock, whose studies of corn--unconventional by the standards of the time--eventually won her the Nobel Prize.
QH429.2 M38 K44 1983

Sime, Ruth Lewin. Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics. U. of California Press, 1997. Extensively detailed effort to rescue the co-discoverer of nuclear fission from the historical oblivion to which politics, sexism, and less-than-generous colleagues consigned her. Covers both Meitner's physics and her human-centered personal life.
QC774 .M4 S56 1996t

Smith, Crosbie, and M. Norton Wise. Energy and Empire: A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin. Cambridge UP, 1989. Definitive biography of one of the most influential figures in nineteenth century physics, covering his contributions to thermodynamics and other fields in considerable technical depth.
QC16 .K3 S65 1989

Reading list adapted from the History of Science Society History of Science Society

Journals

Selected Websites

History of Science and Engineering

History of Technology

Special Collections

W.D. Jordan Special Collections Library - Science Collections Library is located on the second floor of Douglas Library.

Three important science collections are housed in this library:

  • The McNicol Collection - history of telecommunications
    • The collection, which numbers approximately 1200 items, contains books, pamphlets, journals and archival resources on the experimental history and development, to World War II, of the telegraphic, telephonic and radio sciences.
  • The Riche-Covington Collection ( history of radio astronomy)
    • This collection takes up about 44 meters of shelf space -- includes correspondence, conference proceedings, technical papers by Covington and other researchers, an extensive photograph collection, scrapbooks, broadsides, as well as contemporary monographs and some very rare books on the history of optics and scientific method.
  • The Jeannie & Vero Wynne-Edwards Collection
    • This collection consists of over 1800 books, pamphlets, periodical and ephemeral pieces in the field of natural history. It was the working library of Vero C. Wynne-Edwards (1906-1997) C.B.E, F.R.S., Regis Professor of Natural History, University of Aberdeen, 1946-1974.