04462 - History of science and technology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course provides an introduction to the history of science and technology and aims at reconstructing the main material, intellectual and institutional factors of the development of science since Renaissance Europe

Course contents

Course title: "Science, culture and political life in Italy between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries"

The course aims to follow the evolution of modern and contemporary scientific knowledge in its relations with the civil, economic and political reality In Italy after the political unification, , with special regard to the history of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, examined through scientific and cultural activity of some of its presidents,  form 1873 to 1946, and based on archival and library sources.

Participation in the lessons is strongly recommended. Non-attending students will be able to recover what was said in class using the texts in the program and the material uploaded on the digital platform. The program for non-attending students is the same.

On the first day of class the teacher will verify that this program has been read and understood in all its parts. Students are advised to obtain teaching materials before classes start.

Main topics(for each topic about 120 minutes of lesson):

  • The Accademia dei Lincei from its origins to the Unification of Italy 
  • The "third" Rome: scientists and Italian Risorgimento
  • The chairman of the engineer and mineralogist Quintino Sella; The new house of Lincei: Palazzo Corsini 
  • The class of physical, mathematical and natural sciences and that of moral, historical and philological knowledge
  • The presidency of the mathematician and engineer Francesco Brioschi
  • The presidency of the physicist Pietro Blaserna; Academy, museums and universities: The Physics Institute of Via Panisperna
  • The presidency of the economist Angelo Messedaglia
  • The First World War and the end of scientific cosmopolitanism
  • The presidency of the mathematician Vito Volterra
  • The Academy of Italy vs the antifascist Academy of the Lincei; the racial laws and the suppression of the Lincei by the regime.
  • Reconstruction and resumption of activity: for a science of man. The role of Benedetto Croce and Guido Castelnuovo
  • Archival heritage Linceo

Reception: During the period of the lessons the teacher receives, by appointment to be fixed by writing to the address sandra.linguerri@unibo.it, on Wednesday from 15 to 16 at Palazzo Verdi, Via Pasolini, Ravenna. 

In other periods by appointment by writing to sandra.linguerri@unibo.it, Monday from 10 to 11, Via zamboni 38, Bologna, IV floor

Period: II semester

Schedules, classrooms, start date of lessons: The course follows the educational calendar of the School of Arts and Cultural Heritage. Beginning of the course, schedules and classrooms will be published by the Educational Office of the School

It is strongly recommended that you look assiduously at the notices that the teacher puts on his site to report any changes to the calendar.



The following textbooks are indicated as reference study material, that is, they constitute the teaching material. The texts are on the market or available from the Oriani and Classense libraries. Students must take care of these texts before the beginning of the lessons.


Institutional part:

A. Guerraggio, P. Nastasi, L'Italia degli scienziati. 150 anni di storia nazionale, Mondadori, 2010.

I. Porciani, Stato e nazione: l'immagine debole dell'Italia, in Fare gli italiani. Scuola e cultura nell'Italia contemporanea, a cura di S. Soldati, G. Turi, vol. I, Il Mulino, Bologna1993, pp. 385-428.

Monographic Part

M. Guardo, Nel solco della tradizione: da Federico Cesi a Quintino Sella, in Quintino Sella Linceo, Roma, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 2012, pp. 63-79.

G. Paoloni, Quintino Sella (1874-1884), in Scienziati, patrioti, presidenti. L'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (1874-1926), Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2012, pp. 5-41.

C.G. Lacaita, Francesco Brioschi (1884-1898), in Scienziati, patrioti, presidenti, cit., pp. 45-78.

S. Linguerri, Angelo Messedaglia (1900-1901), in Umanisti e presidenti. L'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (1900-1933), a cura di R. Simili, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2017, pp. 5-36

S. Linguerri, Pietro Blaserna (1904-1916), in Scienziati, patrioti, presidenti, cit., pp. 101-141.

R. Simili, Vito Volterra (1923-1926), in Scienziati, patrioti, presidenti, cit., pp. 145-186.

M. Guardo, La "sceltissima biblioteca" e il "grandioso palazzo": libri e luoghi della biblioteca cortigiana, in La collezione del Principe da Leonardo a Goya. Disegni e stampe della raccolta Corsini, a cura di E. Antetomaso, G. Mariani, Roma, 2004, p. 2-15.

Section of documents

A selection of archival documents will be available on the digital platform

Siti internet http://archivi.lincei.it/

Readings will be indicated during the course and will be available on the digital platform

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons.

Active participation is encouraged, including asking questions and discussing issues to be expanded on. Lectures will alternate with seminars; students will have the opportunity to attend conferences given by experts, to watch videos and explore websites, and to visit museums and/or libraries. At the end of each lesson, 15 minutes will be dedicated to questions, requests for clarification, etc.

Attending students will be required to write a short dissertation on a topic assigned by the lecturer and which will be discussed during lectures, and will count towards (maximum 3 points) the final grade.

Assessment methods

Oral exam of the duration of 30-40 minutes approximately.

The oral examination aims to evaluate the critical and methodological abilites developed by the student.

The exam will be structured in 2 parts: 1) Some brief notional questions, to check the careful reading and the knowledge of the exam texts; 2) Two / three open questions of more general-interpretative cutting.

The assignment will be marked on the basis of the student’s ability to gather and select the appropriate information to be able to effectively illustrate and link topics and issues

Specifically :

The achievement of an organic and articulate view, the detailed knowledge of the sources, the ability to critically analyze the arguments put forward and the appropriate use of language will result in excellent marks (28-30L). A correct knowledge of the sources, but no critical analysis, and an appropriate use of the language, but at times imprecise, will result in a good mark (25-27). Mnemonic learning of the subject, ability to synthesize but inability to critically elaborate on the topic, appropriate use of language but no use of specific language will result in a fair mark (22-24). Minimal knowledge of the course and/or inappropriate use of language will result in low marks (18-21). Severe lack of knowledge, severely inappropriate use of language and lack of critical thinking and organization skills will result in a fail.

The use of textbooks, notes or any electronic device is not allowed during the examination.

Teaching tools

PowerPoint (they constitute an aid to the lesson and not educational material and therefore will not be distributed. The teaching material is the one indicated under the heading Texts / Bibliography and the one made available on the digital platform), DVD and scientific documentaries, website.

Office hours

See the website of Sandra Linguerri