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The Historiography of Science: a course on the history of the history of science

By: Navya Thakkar

Inspired by the discussion in Week 3: How Does Social Culture Impact Science? this graphic advertises a fictional course called The Historiography of Science. Often, current students working to have careers in the realm of science graduate without learning more about the sociological, philosophical, or historical perspectives of science. Therefore, while they are amazing at discussing the importance of scientific concepts, there is a stark absence of critical thinking about the development of science itself. It is important for students to learn to not only understand the methods and principles of science, but how to improve them moving forward. Thus, courses like this will arm the future scientists with perspectives that they can use to further science and its frameworks.

My hope for this graphic is to show how essential it is for educational systems to have a holistic approach to teaching STEAM courses. The history of the history of science (or the historiography of science) includes perspectives that provide a backstory to the origin of science, and the methods it is built on. Therefore, it would not only include the scientific concepts that are essential to humanity, but also how they were discovered. Additionally, it will include examples of malpractice in scientific discoveries, and how they continue to occur event today. It would teach them about progress and foundation of concepts rather than the traditional “Eureka!” moment. It will give them room to understand that not everything praised in the framework should be continued today, and how to identify the principles that are morally wrong. Using, sociological, ethical and philosophical perspectives, the students are taught that science is, in itself, an institution that is being built for centuries. While it provides many discoveries that help humankind, it should also be evaluated and improved constantly. Science and its frameworks must evolve with society for it to be able to serve humanity well.

I hoped to convey this message in the graphic, but in a concise manner. Using a bright complementary palette, I tried to make the poster pleasing to look at, but also not overwhelming. I wanted to intrigue people and make them more curious about the course, but still give them a brief description of what it was. Additionally, I used shapes and a variety of fonts to create a well-flowing graphic. Circular shapes are always something that catch people’s attention, so I used two semi-circles to write the phrase “the history of the history of science.” Therefore, the colors and pictures catch a viewer’s eye, and the shapes draw their eyes and keep their attention while they read the words. Moreover, I decided to the phrase “the history of the history of science” as a catchphrase, since I didn’t think “the historiography of science” would have the same effect. Using both, I tried to have a hook with the word repetition. Using 3 different fonts, I tried to give depth to each phrase according to their importance on the poster. For the twitter graphic, I shortened the poster into the top half and just the important details. This was my thought process behind the creation of this series of graphics!

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