Sac State releases new programs in history and philosophy of science

Elizabeth Zelidon

Sacramento State joined the ranks of top universities offering History and Philosophy of Science programs this fall. The initiative that launched in fall 2014 is expected to achieve official curricular program status by the end of the academic year.

The Center for Philosophy and Natural Sciences, in connection with the College of Natural Science and Mathematics at Sac State and the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Athens, Greece, participates in research and scholarships to contribute to a bridge that scientific and philosophical concepts that may not only be cross-joined but mutually supported.

“The idea is to take faculty research and channel it into stuff for students.” Said Michael Epperson, founding director of CPNS and research professor. “The culture here generally is nobody really does much research. Everyone in humanities just focuses on teaching and this is a way of breaking down the inaccurate view of what happens at Sac State. There are lots of people doing research at Sac State and what we want to do is take that research and connect it with what students need and what they are interested in.”

Sac State’s initiative includes two new courses offered in the Department of History. The first is the history of physical science (HIST 107) which is the study of the conceptual foundations of modern physics. This includes the special and general theories of relativity and the latest interpretations of quantum mechanics. The course will trace the evolution of the origins of natural philosophy up to present day.

The second course is The History of Ancient Sciences, which will be available in spring semester. The course is an examination of the historical foundations and evolution of ancient science, from the natural philosophy of the Presocratics to post-Aristotelian thought. The course is taught with an emphasis on issues relating to Greek physics, medicine, and mathematics.

Other courses that will be available include: history of medieval and early modern science, history of modern science – from the 17th century to the present, gender issues in science and technology amongst others.

Lori Banker, sociology major and a student in Epperson’s HIST 107 course said “I’m loving the class. From a student who has never taken a science class and I’m learning about the history of science. Now when people say it’s scientific I know it doesn’t mean anything.”

Other aspects of the program include a visiting scholar from NASA, a faculty-moderated student discussion group and a series of guest speakers.

The most recent guest speaker is Timothy Eastman, Physicist from NASA. Eastman spoke about the Cosmic Agnosticism: Alternative Perspectives on Cosmology.

“My punchline is whenever you get into a complex topic like this do your own research, do your own investigations and think for yourself. Said Eastman

For more information about the CPNS program visit or contact Professor Michael Epperson at [email protected] .