The Department of the History of Science is a lively interdisciplinary community of scholars and students who seek to advance understanding of science, technology, and medicine in their historical and social contexts. 

Our faculty and students come from diverse backgrounds and employ diverse approaches. We examine the past and present workings of science, technology, and medicine, the basis of their authority, the ethical and political dimensions of their regulation and applications, and the relationships among them and larger intellectual, cultural, social, and political trends and changes. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are fundamental to the Department’s mission and identity, not only as moral and social goods, but because they make possible the advancement of knowledge central to our understanding of history and the world about us. 



"No More America" debates 18th century ideas of slavery & "natural law"

October 31, 2017
No More, America,” depicts an 18th-century Harvard debate about whether slavery was compatible with natural law. The 14-minute film, on view in the Harvard Art Museums’ Lightbox Gallery, was developed by Professor Peter Galison in conjunction with “The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766-1820,” an exhibit highlighting the diverse teaching methods and fine art for which the Harvard Hall room was known.... Read more about "No More America" debates 18th century ideas of slavery & "natural law"

CHSI “Search & Rescue” Story Outlined in Harvard Magazine

October 18, 2017
bruce lenses"Eye on the Cosmos" examines the recent work of Dr. Sara Schechner, David P. Wheatland Curator, and her husband Kenneth Launie, as they rediscovered the lenses and cells of the Bruce Telescope at the Harvard's Oak Ridge Observatory, closed since the early 2000s. Sara and the CHSI have been working hard on salvaging the best telescopes and objects from that research observatory built in the 1930s.