• Summer School : The History of Scientific Experimentation
  • Update Time: 2014-02-26

September 2-19, 2013, Dr. Friedrich Steinle was invited to the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences to give a three-week summer school named “The History of Scientific Experimentation”. Prof. Steinle focused on the experiments in History and Philosophy of Science. The summer school consisted of 10 lectures and 8 student’s presentations by reading the related texts. Most of the students participated in this summer school are at PhD level majored in diversity fields.

As we know, in the last decades, experiment has found new attention both in History and Philosophy of Science. However, the ‘New Experimentalism’ is far from being uniform: the questions posed, the approaches taken, and the answers given, differ widely and are not always compatible. Aspects of materiality, tacit knowledge, rhetorics, discipline, social constellations, replicability, theory-ladeness, exploration, and others, are brought forward from philosophy, sociology, and history of science. Perhaps the most common baseline to that variety is a focus on research practice. Prof. Steinle pulled together that variety and giving an overview of the various strands of the discussion.

At first, Prof. Steinle started with a summary of the new insights into the history of experiment that are apt to seriously put in question historical stereotypes about the development of experimental research and the characteristics of the so-called Scientific revolution. And hereby provide a solid and up-to-date foundation for the general historical and philosophical discussions.

Then, Prof. Steinle profiled a specific strand within the recent discussion that has started in the 1990s and finds increasing attention: the question of exploratory experimentation and concomitant concept formation. Detailed historical case studies and general discussion, and encompass diverse fields, from 19th ct. physical science to recent genetics were contained in this summer school.


The Group photo of the summer school(Left: Fu Lei, Liu Yexin, Li Meng, Su Zhan, Zhang Baichun, Friedrich Steinle, Liu Jinyan, Gao Lu, Fang Yibing, Wang Guoqiang)