The School of History and Culture of Science in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, was established on March 9th, 2012, on its predecessor, the Department of History of Science and Technology, which was found on March 9th, 1999. The School’s aim is to build important research center of History of Science and Technology and become well-known in both China and overseas. In the progress of 16 years’ development, it has formed a reasonable structure and owned a highly prestigious academic team with bold innovation spirits and outstanding works.
The School of History and Culture of Science leads the discipline construction of History of Science and Technology, by cooperating with the Qian Xuesen Library, the Li Zhengdao Library, the SJTU Press, the Archive and History Museum of SJTU, also integrating with the School of Naval Architecture, Ocean & Civil Engineering (history of shipbuilding, history of architecture, maritime history), the Department of History (history of disease, history of natural disasters), the School of Agriculture and Biology (history of agriculture), the School of Medicine (history of medicine, history of life science) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy (history of physics).
Missions and Orientations
The discipline of History of Science and Technology of SJTU is aiming to construct an excellent interdisciplinary platform between science and humanity, to make more outstanding scientific research achievements, to act more positive role in the talent cultivation, to obtain more prominent benefits in the terms of society service, and finally to form a Science-Culture School with SJTU Style, characterized by its main research branches, such as history of science, philosophy of science, science and society, and science communication. The construction of the discipline will also gather all the relative research strength within and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, to build an elite academic team, to collaborate with national and local departments, to develop an international cooperation.
Superiorities and Features
Putting academics first, the discipline of History of Science and Technology of SJTU has strong strength in traditional research areas, such as the histories of astronomy, physics and metrology, mathematics, etc. Multiple faculty members have been supported by national, provincial and ministerial programs multiple times. High academic standards are maintained in research, education and talents introduction, etc., in order to keep advanced in these areas already with advantages. We have strong research focus on ancient exchange of science and culture between China and the outside and have made substantial achievements. Approved in 2010, a Major Program funded by National Social Sciences Foundation Reorganization and Research on Historical Literature about Ancient Exchange of Science and Culture between China and the Outside, led by Jiang Xiaoyuan, became the first program acquiring rolling funding in the University. History of metrology is our featured research area, too. A Major Program funded by the same Foundation, History of Chinese Metrology, led by Guan Zengjian, was approved in 2015, with its German translation being the only academically translated program funded by this Foundation up to now of SJTU.
We also put special emphasis on systematization of academic achievements and serving relevant disciplines and social public by publishing treatises, among which over 40 were published between 2012 and 2015. For example, A Great Dictionary of Chinese Culture: Astronomy, with Jiang Xiaoyuan as chief editor, Niu Weixing and Dong Yuyu as associate editor, contributed to the national culture, made relevant disciplines using ancient historical material of astronomy more convenient. Publishing in Chinese, English and German, co-authored by Guan Zengjian and Herrmann, Kao Gong Ji(the artificers record): Translation and Comment makes it possible for modern readers home and abroad to correctly comprehend this pre-Qin literature. The 5-volumes General History of Chinese Science and Technology, with Jiang Xiaoyuan as general editor-in-chief, is the newest general history of its kind written by home scholars, has made great social influence as soon as its publication.
The discipline of History of Science and Technology of SJTU is committed to create a cultivation base for developing top talents in the history of science and technology. There are two postgraduate degrees, one is a first-level discipline master, and the other is a first-level discipline doctor. The doctor program was affiliated to the history of physics before 2014. The discipline was authorized to provide master program in 1999, and the Ph.D. program in 2000. And now, more than 30 PhD students and 40 master students have been cultivated. There are 5 professors and 12 associate professors among the graduated students, lots of them are playing the important roles in the research and teaching; some of them are in charge of scientific making decision and management in governmental organizations; and some of them have a considerable influence on the news industry and the publishing presses, among them , the president of SJTU Press has received the 'Tao Fen Publishing Award' which is the highest honor for workers in publishing industry of China. The discipline will continue to dedicate to cultivate the top talent in the history of science and technology and contribute to making the maximum impact on the development of the history of Chinese science and technology with its research.
The discipline of History of Science and Technology of SJTU will also devote to establish a teaching and research base of general education for undergraduate, with the character of interaction between science and culture. There is a course cluster in the discipline which focuses on the history of science and technology, the textbook Fifteen Lectures on History of Science and Technology is widely adopted by many universities. The videos which were recorded by the professors at the department of history of science are used to shanghai cadre training's web-learning. The History of Science and Technology course is awarded the Shanghai Excellent Course. These courses can achieve the educational goal, such as improving the knowledge structure, reinforcing the humanistic literacy, and cultivating the healthy personality.
There are five major research areas: History of Astronomy, History of Physics and Metrology, History of Mathematics, Science and Society, and History of Environment and Natural Disaster. Each of them has its own distinctive feature. The research on History of Astronomy is dedicated to the ancient Chinese astronomy and society, the communication and comparison of astronomy between China and west countries, the chronology of astronomical history, the Buddhism astronomy and so on. The research on History of Physics and Metrology is dedicated to the history of Chinese physics and metrology, contemporary history of science in China. As a pioneer of the research field, Professor Guan Zengjan established the theoretical framework and contribute the demonstration outcomes of the metrological history. The achievements in this research area are also paid close attention and affirmed by the department of General Administration of Quality Supervision. The research on History of Mathematics is dedicated to investigating the theories and characteristics of classical Chinese mathematics, and has gained substantial achievements in respect to the theory and methodology of classical mathematical astronomy, the transformation from traditional mathematics to modern mathematics, and the exchange and spreading of Eastern and Western mathematical knowledge. The research on Science and Society is dedicated to researching the basic principle of the sociology of science and its application, the communications and policies of science and technology, the ethics of science and technology and engineering ethics, etc. The research on History of Environment and Disaster is dedicated to researching the relations between historical environment change, disasters and traditional Chinese society, probing into subjects such as historical environment change, marine environment, ecological awareness, environmental protection and traditional society, epidemic disease, disaster and regional society, etc.
Domestic and International Influence
The founding of the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science of SJTU was commented by peers as an important step in, and having a demonstration effect on, the institutionalization of the discipline of history of science and technology in China. Afterwards, some domestic colleges and universities have successively established similar institutions. Through many years’ construction, the discipline of the history of science and technology of SJTU has gained certain achievements, in that it was rated as a First-Class Discipline of Shanghai Municipality (Type B) in 2012, and was ranked No.3 in the Third Round Discipline Ranking organized by the Ministry of Education.
The discipline of history of science and technology of SJTU has been attaching great emphasis on exchange and cooperation with international peers. We have maintained good cooperation and exchange relationships with renowned overseas research institutes such as, the Unit for the History and Philosophy of Science of University of Sydney, the Department of Egyptology and Assyriology of Brown University, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, etc., and have achieved pretty good results in terms of personnel exchange visits and academic cooperation. On December 25, 2011, The Framework Agreement on Academic Cooperation and Exchange between the Department for the History and Philosophy of Science of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Unit for the History and Philosophy of Science of University of Sydney was officially signed; and on October 18, 2015, The Framework Agreement on Academic Cooperation and Exchange between the School of History and Culture of Science of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science was officially signed. We have also organized several international conferences; through joint efforts with the Japanese Society of Historical Metrology, we established parallel sessions for historical metrology and held seminars in the International Congress of the History of Science for three times; and we also established parallel sessions and held seminars in a series of international conferences on the science history of China. All these activities have gained unanimous recognition and favorable comments from the academic world at home and abroad.
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