History of science and technology

Research projects:

Science and technology in the 20th century

Description: The project studies the history of science and technology in the 20th century, discussing and researching the creation and dissemination of new theories and results along with their impacts on the economy and society. The emphasis is in Brazil, especially in the meaning of C&T in the so-called development (traditional and sustained).

Professor in charge: Shozo Motoyama (chcienca@usp.br)


From micro-electronics to biotechnology: history and implications in the configuration of society and contemporary politics

Description: The 20th century witnessed the emergence of what was named new technologies (such as nuclear, electronics, informatics, data processing, fine chemicals, biotechnology, nanotechnology). However, the technology that most contributed to the setting of the post-war world, for its omnipresence in almost all sectors (industrial, military, leisure etc.), was electronics or microelectronics, basis of informatics, telecommunication, Internet etc. We will discuss in a historical perspective and envisioning what was shimmered as to the role of electronics in the configuration of the society in the 20th century, which many people evaluate as the revolution of the 21st century, the biotechnological revolution, which could configure or not our post-human future, an expression that is the title of the new work by the acclaimed author of The End of History and the Last Man [our post-history future?], Francis Fukuyama.

Professor in charge: Francisco Assis de Queiroz (frantota@uol.com.br)


Study Group on Technology, Science, and Progress (GEPTEC)

Description: The lines of investigation of the GEPTEC aim to promote discussions around historical trajectories of science and technology, evidenced as a process of continuous and growing construction knowledge. The intention is to assemble studies that dialogue with the increase of human knowledge in science history, techniques, and technologies, entering several lines of ideas and social and economic historiography. In an interdisciplinary way, these issues are related to philosophy and humanities, to discuss and understand historically the issues arising, especially regarding - though not restricted - to its insertion in the context of the Brazilian society and, more widely, of Latin America. Research lines intend to gather varied interests in a convergent dialogue with the theoretical and methodological traditions that are present in History and Epistemology, involving studies that dialogue with the ideas of progress. For this purpose we may include: diverse sciences, techniques and technologies, their representations and social and cultural interactions; institutions and other places of production and communication of scientific and technical knowledge, including those related to their public disclosure; and scientific and technological policies. Research for science education at various levels is also included, featuring the presentation of the scientific effort as a process of knowledge shrouded in controversy and doubts, but progressive and continually under construction.

Professor in charge: Gildo Magalhães dos Santos Filho (gildomsantos@hotmail.com)


History of science and scientific thinking in Brazil

Description: This project aims to develop the field of History of Science, with emphasis on History of Science in Brazil, focusing on its dialogue with the Institutional History and the institutionalisation of scientific areas in different social contexts. In addition to research conducted on medical activities in São Paulo in the early Republican period, research on the implementation of different scientific areas is included – microbiology and public health, psychiatry and neurology, anthropology, genetics, and alternative energies – in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Still for Brazil, interfaces between science and literature in Euclides da Cunha will be analysed; while for the United States of America, the implementation analysis of the political economy in the post-World War period will be the focus.

Professor in charge: Maria Amelia Mascarenhas Dantes (mamdantes@usp.br)


History of science and technology

Description: This project aims to study science and technology in different ideological and cultural contexts, the different lines of theory and historiography of science and technology, institutions and places of production and communication of scientific and technical knowledge as well as scientific and technological policies.

Professor in charge: Gildo Magalhães dos Santos Filho (gildomsantos@hotmail.com)


History of medicine and health: institutional spaces and actors

Description: The project aims to achieve historical studies on the process of institutionalisation of the medicine and health in Brazil and in Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries. The institutionalisation is understood not only as the history of the institutions, of their genesis and their organisational structure, but central spaces for the construction process of a technique and scientific discourses. The institutional spaces considered are not only well-known scientific institutions, such as research institutes, but they also include other instances of realisation and disclosure of scientific activities. We aim to analyse the trajectories of the institutions as spaces of specific activities in the scientific field and their cultural and social role. This perspective includes studies of educational institutions, research institutions, scientific societies, scientific congresses, governmental agencies, and hospitals. Methodologically, it proposes the development of studies in a comparative perspective, embracing, more carefully, both general aspects and singularities that exist in the units under study.

Professor in charge: Márcia Regina Barros da Silva (marciabarrossilva@usp.br)


Steel mill technology in Brazil in the 19th century: a story of iron and fire (the case of the iron factory São João do Ipanema)

Description: The project aims to perform a historiographical and historical analysis on the Iron Factory São João do Ipanema, looking for the explanations that were given for its downfall regarding the scientific and technological aspects – considering the conditions of the steel mill industry at the time –, as was perceived by contemporaries and to reconstruct historically the relationship networks with the Brazilian State, the society, and technicians and scientists of the time.

Professor in charge: Francisco Assis de Queiroz (frantota@uol.com.br)