History of the Ideas in Physics - EFQ

Ano letivo: 2014-2015
Specification sheet

Specific details
course codecycle os studiesacademic semestercredits ECTSteaching language
2003257213.0pt *)

*) N.B.  if there are students who do not speak Portuguese the language is English.

Learning goals

This course aims to give an overview of the evolution of ideas in physics in its fundamental aspects, its organization, and to promote critical thinking about scientific development and its connection to the present.

Students who successfully complete the course will:

- Acquiring an effective understanding of the fundamental aspects related to the history of science and technology

- Understanding the complex dynamics of epistemological and cultural factors that contribute to changes in science.

- Know the primary and secondary sources of the History of Ideas in Physics

- Knowing the different means of dissemination of scientific ideas

- Relate the scientific with the social and technological aspects

- Use diverse resources of the History of Science in teaching strategies / learning

- Relate the development of ideas in physics with the evolution of teaching

- Treat historical documents and use them in an educational context


1. The Genesis of Science in Antiquity

2. Aspects of the development of ideas in physics in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

3. Physical sciences in Portugal in the seventeenth century

4. The ideas in physics in scientific literature in the century of the Enlightenment

5. The Physical Mathematical Sciences in the context of education in the eighteenth and nineteenth

6. The evolution of scientific instruments in the eighteenth and nineteenth

7. Physics in Portugal in the eighteenth and nineteenth


Training in Physics at the 1st cycle of studies.

Generic skills to reach
. Competence in analysis and synthesis;
. Competence in oral and written communication;
. Competence in information management;
. Competence in autonomous learning;
. Research skills;
. Competence in organization and planning;
. Competence for working in group;
. Competence to communicate with people who are not experts in the field;
. Quality concerns;
. Competence in applying theoretical knowledge in practice;
(by decreasing order of importance)
Teaching hours per semester
total of teaching hours30

Synthesis work thesis30 %
Research work30 %
Exam40 %
assessment implementation in 20142015
Assessment Synthesis work: 30.0%
Research work: 30.0%
Exam: 40.0%

Bibliography of reference

Jefferson Hane Weaver: The world of physics: a small library of the literature of physics from antiquity to the present: 3 vols. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.

Lloyd Motz and Jefferson Hane Weaver. The concepts of science: from newton to Einstein. New York: Plenum Press, 1988.

Spencer R. Weart, Melba Phillips (eds).: History of physics. New York : American Institute of Physics, 1985.

Gerald Holton: Thematic origins of scientific thought : Kepler to Einstein. Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1988

Gerald Holton: Physics, the human adventure : from copernicus to Einstein and Beyond / Gerald Holton, Stephen G. Brush. London : Rutger University Press, 1985.

Taton, R. (ed), Histoire Generale des Sciences, P.U.F, Paris, 1983.

Arthur Berry: A short history of astronomy, from earliest times through the nineteenth century. New York : Dover Publications, 1961.

Edward Grant: Physical science in the midle ages. New York : John Wiley, 1971.

Teaching method

The History of Ideas in Physics is presented as a human endeavor, resulting from the contribution of individual and scientific communities also reflect social and ethical concerns of a particular era.

We will analyze some aspects of the development of instruments and experimental techniques ddos seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Through research activities result in the presentation of written and oral presentations. This strategy will foster interpersonal relationships and teamwork.

Resources used
Para a concretização do programa de ensino serão necessários meios audiovisuais e computadores.
Recorrer-se-á também à colecção de instrumentos de Física dos séculos XVIII e XIX, bem como ao fundo bibliográfico antigo pertencentes ao Departamento de Física da Universidade de Coimbra.