The course provides an overview of developments in physics during the 20th century with an emphasis on the cultural dimension of the discipline, i.e., the values, signs, beliefs, and practices that have contributed to its evolution and structuring in both its unity and diversity. After a historiographical introduction presenting the cultural turn in the history of science, in-depth seminars on selected topics will develop specific aspects related to modern physics. Particular attention will be paid to local contexts (e.g., United States, Europe, Soviet Union, Japan...), dynamics (e.g., institutionalization, dissidence, Big science...) and instruments (e.g., particle detectors, computers...). No specific knowledge in physics is required to participate in the course.
Dear, P. (1995). Cultural History of Science: An Overview with Reflections. Science, Technology, & Human Values 20(2), 150–170. Forman P. (1971). Weimar Culture, Causality, and Quantum Theory, 1918-1927: Adaptation by German Physicists and Mathematicians to a Hostile Intellectual Environment, Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences 3, 1–115.