You will be acquainted with some “Great Scientists” that made history and made our world what it is today. They are builders that allow you to delve deeper into the mysteries of science and who will guide you to a deeper understanding of not only your own, but to your colleague’s, understanding of science. They come from different periods and disciplines so every aspect of science is covered. These quartile’s choices are Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton.

Of each of them, you will study a relevant text, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and Newton’s Principia. Besides, you will study the historic contexts and question how relevant the ideas are today. Moreover, you will ask yourself: “why was this scientist great?” and “is he great, anyway?” However, no matter what you ask yourself, at the basis of this module lies the idea of creativity, and it is up to you to make that work out fine.

General information

This course will take place in the third quartile of your first year. It will be given by Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis.


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Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis

Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis studied applied mathematics and philosophy of science, technology, and society, and graduated in 1992 on a scientific-historical study on the Traite de la Lumiere from Christiaan Huygens. Afterwards, he obtained his qualification to teach senior secondary pupils in both mathematics and social studies, and for a while worked in secondary education.

Later, he became assistant research fellow at the research group of history at the University of Twente, where he promoted in 1999 on his thesis on 'Christiaan Huygens and the mathematical science of optics in the seventeenth century'. Besides working on his promotion, he co-authored a teaching method in mathematics for the higher secondary education. Moreover, for a while he worked as research employee at the Museum Boerhaave in Leiden, where he organized an exposition on robots and automatons. Afterwards, he was appointed lecturer in the history of science at the University of Twente, for which he lectures on the history of technology and science, and was responsible for the establishment of a minor in history. In addition, he was responsible for the retraining of teachers in secondary education for the newly introduced course of Algemene Natuurwetenschappen.


In 2006, he obtained a VIDI grant for a project on 'The Uses of Mathematics in the Dutch Republic', for which he co-operates with two PhD students on research towards the way in which mathematics and mathematicians in science and technology where trend-setting in the seventeenth century. He does so from a culture historical perspective, whereby he makes use of the developments in the (then) Dutch Republic. His professional interests goes to the development and meaning of mathematical science in the genesis of modern society, where he combines his knowledge of history with insights from philosophy and science studies.



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