Department of History of Science, Technology and Medicine Introduction
The Department of History of Science, Technology and Medicine of Peking University was established in November 2018, and officially unveiled in April 2019. With the establishment of the CAST-PKU Joint Institute for Science Culture, the Department integrated the units of the History of Science and Technology and the History of Medicine, and formed a basic teaching and research unit. Prof. HAN Qide, who is also academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), is the founding director of the Department
The Department offers general education courses and minor courses for the undergraduate, and postgraduate courses in the History of Science. It trains graduate students, guiding students to explore the influence of contemporary leading-edge science and technology on society and culture from the perspective of history and culture, inspiring students to contemplate on the scientific spirit, the value of science itself and its humanistic value, and providing references for the solutions of modern problems.
In terms of disciplinary construction, the Department has formed a scientific and professional layout based on the history of science, technology and medicine at both modern Chinese and global levels, and has developed a research style for the History of Science with Peking University characteristics. It has been enhancing its overall strength as a degree-conferring spot of first-level disciplines in the History of Science, committing to constructing itself to be one of the most important worldwide research platforms for the discipline.
Peking University has a long history of developing its subject of the History of Science and Technology. In 1925, Peking University Press publishedA General Examination of History of Chemistryby DING Xuxian from the Department of Chemistry, which was the very first textbook of the History of Science in modern China. Li Tao, a faculty member of what is now the Peking University Health Science Center (PUHSC) in 1937, was entrusted by the Chinese Society of Medical History to compile and publish theHistory of Medicineas a textbook for all national medical colleges in 1940. In 1946, Li founded the "Discipline of Medical History" in PUHSC, which is the earliest teaching and research institution for the History of Medicine in China. In 1952, the Department of Physics of Peking University recruited modern China's first graduate student for the History of Physics. In 1956, PUHSC and the China Academy of Chinese Medical Science jointly hosted the National Medical History Senior Teacher Workshop for the Chinese Ministry of Health, and trained the first batch of teachers in the History of Medicine in China. In 1977, the Department of Philosophy of Peking University offered the course of the History of Science and Technology for the whole university. In 1978, PUHSC was authorized to confer master degree in the History of Medicine. In 1983, the Department of Chemistry of Peking University enrolled the first cohort of graduate students in the History of Chemistry. In 1986, Peking University got authorized to confer master degree in the History of Natural Sciences (History of Physics and History of Chemistry), and opened an era in many aspects related to research outcome and personnel training. In 1990, PUHSC received the conferring authorization for doctoral degree in the History of Medicine, which is the only doctoral degree conferring spot in the History of Medicine within the country. In 2004, PUHSC integrated all the teaching resources in the History of Science and Technology, and was authorized as a doctoral degree conferring spot of first-level disciplines in the History of Science and Technology.
In November 2018, Peking University officially approved the establishment of the Department of History of Science, Technology and Medicine as well as the CAST-PKU Joint Institute for Science Culture, opening up a new chapter in the integration of resources for the discipline development of the History of Science and Technology and the History of Medicine. In this journey in the new era, the Department will regard the History of Science as the disciplinary basis, and regard Science Culture research as the research platform, so to enhance an up-to-date understanding of science, contemporary society and culture, to promote the integration of scientific spirit and humanistic spirit, and to explore the path of harmonious development of science and society through focusing on the past, present and future of human activities in relation to science, medicine and technology.