History of Technology

History of Technology

Code: 51076
ECTS: 4.0
Lecturers in charge: doc. dr. sc. Tihomir Vukelja - Lectures
Lecturers: Tihomir Vukelja - Seminar
Take exam: Studomat

1. komponenta

Lecture typeTotal
Lectures 30
Seminar 15
* Load is given in academic hour (1 academic hour = 45 minutes)
COURSE GOALS: The objective of the course is to introduce students briefly with the development of technology within wider historical context and to teach them how to use particular historical episodes for a more successful teaching. The course offers basic insight into changes of the nature and the scope of technology, into dependence of the development of technology on social circumstances, into everyday technology and the highest technological achievements of different historical periods and civilizations, into economic consequences and political consequences of the development of technology, as also into the changes of relationship between science and technology. By doing this, technology is considered from the time perspective, as a human achievement shaped by efforts of many generations, which consequently enables its more complete understanding. Programme devotes more attention to technology in prehistory, antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, in order to familiarise students with the material culture of these times, regarding the fact that many aspects and details of the development of modern technology are analysed in other courses.

This course helps students to be able, upon completing the degree, to:
1.3. demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of basic concepts in techniques
1.8. integrate physics, informatics and technology content knowledge with knowledge of pedagogy, psychology, didactics and teaching methods courses

2.2. identify and describe important aspects of techniques and their applications
2.8. create a learning environment that encourages active engagement in learning and promotes continuing development of pupils' skills and knowledge
3.1. develop a critical scientific attitude towards research in general, and in particular by learning to critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data
3.5. demonstrate professional integrity and ethical behavior in work with pupils and colleagues
4.2. present complex ideas clearly and concisely
4.3. present their own research results at education or scientific meetings
4.4. use the written and oral English language communication skills that are essential for pursuing a career in physics and education
5.1. search for and use professional literature as well as any other sources of relevant information
5.2. develop a personal sense of responsibility for their professional advancement and development

On completion of this course successful student will be able to outline and critically analyse:
1. the main characteristics of technology in different historical periods;
2. the impact of social factors on development of technology;
3. the role of technology in the global economic changes and political changes;
4. the everyday technology and the highest technological achievements of different civilizations;
5. changes in the relationship between science and technology.

Introduction: technology as a historical phenomenon, the main views on the nature of technology, the main models of the development of technology.
Paleolithic technology: early hominids and tools, Oldowan tools, Acheulean tools, Mousterian tools, the tools of Upper Paleolithic.
Neolithic technology: the Neolithic Revolution and agriculture, pottery, woven textiles, metalworking. The social consequences of the Neolithic Revolution.
The Urban Revolution. Technology of pristine civilizations: irrigation agriculture, metalworking and mining, architecture, transportation, military technology. New materials and tools. The nature of technology.
Technology and philosophy: views of ancient philosophers and historians on technology. Alexandrian mechanical tradition.
Ancient mechanics and Roman technology: treatises on technology and achievements of ancient mechanics. The development and diffusion of technology in antiquity.
Technology of Chinese civilization: the Sung dynasties and the flowering of Chinese technology - paper, block printing, porcelain, silk, metalworking, gunpowder, magnetic compass, shipbuilding industry, mechanics, architecture. The nature of Chinese science and the status of engineers, industry and technology in society.
Medieval Europe and technology: the nature and status of technology in the Middle Ages. The Medieval agricultural revolution and its consequences. The everyday technology and the highest technological achievements of the Middle Ages.
The transformation of European civilization: the role of technology in economic changes and political changes in the 15th century, firearms and shipbuilding industry and their political consequences; movable type and consequences.
Technology and modern science: the new attitude toward technology, Mechanical philosophy, the role of technology in the creation of modern physics.
The Industrial revolution: metallurgy, steam engines and railroads, the textile industry. Science and the Industrial Revolution.
The development of industrial civilization: the expansion of industrial civilization and mass production. Modern technology and science.
Technology in the 19th century: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, architecture.
Technology in the 20th century and its role in the contemporary society.

Students are required to regularly attend classes, read the weekly texts and prepare for the seminar discussion topics in advance and write a seminar paper.

The exam is oral, at the end of the course. A student is evaluated on the basis of the knowledge demonstrated at the lecture and seminar discussions, knowledge demonstrated at the exam, and on the basis of the seminar paper grade.
  1. Tihomir Vukelja, Povijest tehnike: bilješke za nastavu (http://www.pmf.unizg.hr/_download/repository/Povijest_tehnike.pdf)
  2. Cardwell, D., Wheels, Cloks, and Rockets-A History of Technology, W. W. Norton & Company, London, 2001.
  3. Gies, F. i J. Gies, Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel-Technology and Invention in Middle Ages, HarperCollins, New York, 1994.
  4. Janković, I. i I. Karavanić, Osvit čovječanstva-Početci našega biološkog i kulturnog razvoja, Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 2009.
  5. Kirby, R. S., S. Withington, A. B. Darling i F. G. Kilgour, Engineering in History, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1956.
  6. McClellan, J. E. III i H. Dorn, Science and Technology in World History-An Introduction, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1999.
  7. Wenke R. J. i D. I. Olszewski, Patterns in Prehistory-Humankind's First Three Million Years, 5. izdanje, Oxford University Press, New York, 2007.
7. semester
Mandatory course - Mandatory studij - Physics and Technology Education
Consultations schedule:


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