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The centre > Origin

The Centre for the History of Science is the result of a long process of consolidating the discipline at the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, alongside the establishment of academic agreements with other institutions devoted to the history of science in Barcelona, a city with a long tradition in the study of Arabian science. Its direct antecedent is the Seminar for the History of Science at the UAB, founded in 1983. Manuel García Doncel was the driving force behind the creation of the Seminar. He was then a professor in theoretical physics and had taught the optional course in History and Epistemology of Physics on the Physical Sciences degree since 1976.

The Seminar brought together the UAB lecturers devoted to the history of science, and soon widened its research and teaching tasks to faculties other than the Faculty of Science where it was established. In 1986, it provided additional impetus to the Interdepartamental PhD in History of science.

Contacts with other institutions began in 1987, when some members of the Department of Logic, History and Philosophy of Science at the Universitat de Barcelona, and from the Department of History of Science at the  Institució Milà i Fontanals-CSIC, began to participate in the postgraduate programme at the UAB. This collaboration led to an agreement with the Universitat de Barcelona in 2000, under which both universities would jointly offer a PhD in History of Science. The new programme integrated the former PhD at the UAB with those on History of Arabic Science and on Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, at the Universitat de Barcelona. From 2004 to 2005 the Universitat Pompeu Fabra also participated in the programme.

During the first few years, the PhD was not under the cover of a research institute for the history of science at the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona. This aim was achieved in 1995, with the creation of the Centre for the Study of the History of Science. Since 2008, the centre has been an official Centre of Study and Research (CIR) at the UAB, under the current name of Centre for the History of Science.

Although at the beginning of the Seminar for the History of Science the main research lines were the history of contemporary physics, history of modern mathematics and history of chemistry from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, nowadays researchers are focused on the history of contemporary physics, scientific popularization, public health, medicine and psychology. There is also a generic line on history of science, technology and medicine in which much PhD research has been accomplished on a wide variety of subjects, historical periods and geographical areas.

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