Terms:  Autumn and Spring
Duration: 20 hours (11 lectures, 10 seminars)

Course Description

The aim of this module is to provide an overview of science and technology in the German-speaking countries. This module will introduce students to German scientific discoveries that have had a major impact in the fields of chemistry, physics and biology particularly from the 19th century to the present day alongside the main technical and industrial developments that have occurred in Germany, Austria or Switzerland since the middle of the 19th century. The development of technical education and of the main research institutions in German speaking countries will also be discussed. By the end of the course students will have acquired a clear understanding and knowledge of the various events, processes and ideas that have governed the scientific research and culture in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and have led to its present technological and industrial developments. The language medium will be German and students will be trained in the vocabulary and idiom appropriate to the discussion of scientific and technical topics. In term 2, guest speakers will be invited from research and industry. The module provides one 1-hour lecture/seminar per week and requires a minimum of 1 hour private study per week. Students will be provided with a variety of up-to-date written and audio-visual documentation in German. In addition, they will be provided with a list of recommended reading material.


  • In-class writing task - 25%
  • 4000 word project to be submitted at the start of term 3 - 50%
  • 30-min viva (to be arranged after the submission of the project) - 25%


Term 1

  •  Science before the 19th century
  • Establishment of scientific institutions
  • Universities, researchers and scholars
  • Developments up to the 2ndworld war
  • Responsibilities of scientists

Term 2

  • Scientific institutions,educationand funding
  • Science in Germany after unification
  • What is Biology/Chemistry? Examples: Long-term experiments and other scientific topics of students’ choice
  • Humanization of technology through technical progress
  • Opening science to the public


Mason, St.F. , Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften in der Entwicklung ihrer Denkweise, Stuttgart: Verlag für Geschichte der naturwissenschaften und Technik, 1991. ISBN-10: 3928186000
Buchheim, Gisela und Sonnemann Rolf (Hg.), Geschichte der Technik-wissenschaften, Leipzig Edition: Leipzig, 1990.
Radkau, J., Technik in Deutschland vom 18. Jh. bis heute, Campus Verlag, 1. Auflage 2008. ISBN 3593386895
Goran, Morris.the Story of Fritz Haber. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967. ISBN/EAN: 0806107561
Braun, H.-J., Die 101 wichtigsten Erfindungen der Weltgeschichte, C.H.Beck, München 2005 (in Library)
Mayr, Ernst, Das ist Biologie: Die Wissenschaft des Lebens. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg/Berlin. 2000 (in Library)
Wissenschaft und Technik: gestern , heute und morgen (Variationen 4: Kursbuch, Materialienbuch, Thema 7) Milton Keynes: The Open University, 1999.

Recommended Reading

Jahn, Ilse, Geschichte der Biologie. Spektrum Verlag, 3rdedition, ISBN 38 27 41 0231Junker, T. Geschichte der Biologie: Die Wissenschaft vom Leben,Beck Verlag, 1. Auflage, 2004. ISBN 3406508340
Duden, Was jeder wissen muss. Verlag Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim, ISBN 3411711132
Loa, Ingo, Allgemeinbildung –Naturwissenschaften: Das muss man wissen. Arena Verlag, Januar 2008. ISBN 340150021
XFoucault, M., Suhrkamp Taschenbücher der Wissenschaft, Nr. 39, Wahnsinn und Gesellschaft: Eine Geschichte des Wahns im Zeitalter der Vernunft. . ISBN 3518276395
Szöllösi-Janze, M. Fritz Haber, 1868-1934, Eine Biographie, C.H. Beck Verlag