History of Science and Ideas

History of Science and Ideas at the University of Oulu is the only one of its kind in Finland. The staff consists of a professor and three university lecturers. There are also 2-3 post-doctoral researchers affiliated with the department. In 2017 there are about twelve doctoral students in the discipline and ca. ten students attain their MA-degrees annually.

History of Science and Ideas has two interrelated perspectives on history. History of ideas or intellectual history focuses on beliefs, hopes and fears of past peoples – on the ways in which people have thought about society, nature and human nature. Intellectual historians also study ideologies, concepts and all kinds of “isms” or belief systems, such as liberalism, socialism and nationalism. Here in Oulu, researchers study the Enlightenment and its legacy, utopianism and a wide spectrum of political ideas from conservatism to anarchism.

History of science explores changes in the understanding of science and how scientific practices have evolved over time. Historians of science also exam how scientific data has been collected and analysed, what sort of knowledge has been considered “scientific” and how science interlinks with politics, culture and ideologies. In our department, research topics include history of medicine, psychology and psychiatry as well as the physical sciences and the scientific revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Postal address:

History of Science and Ideas,

P.O. Box 1000

FIN-90014 University of Oulu

(Image on this page is a copper plate print by Andreas Cellarius, published in Harmonia Macrocosmica [1660], a star atlas written by Cellarius and depicting the world systems of Claudius Ptolemy, Nicolaus Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. From Wikimedia Commons.)