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The centre > Motivation

Every activity held at the Centre for the History of Science stems from the conviction that the historical perspective is an excellent tool for understanding the social role of science, technology and medicine, both in the past and in the current world, in which they occupy an increasingly important place. History of science is the natural point of convergence of science and humanities, two branches of knowledge traditionally separated in the university system. History provides analytical tools for understanding the shifting relationships between science and the contexts in which it takes place.

In both research and in undergraduate and postgraduate courses, science is understood in a broad sense, not only as an system of ideas, but as a mixture of practices and social relations in constant transformation, which influence and receive the influence of the most varied social realms. As a professional group, scientists interact with industrialists, the military, politicians, consumers, journalists, patients and citizens, among many other groups. On the other hand, science is not only the result of consensus, but many controversies take place at its very heart, which makes constant negotiation among alternative worldviews necessary.

Apart from its research and teaching tasks, the CEHIC is committed to the conservation of scientific heritage through the Servei d’Arxius de Ciència (Science Archives Service). This service is aimed at locating, conserving and popularizing documentary collections of scientists in the Catalan speaking realm. Finally, the centre considers the promotion of a scientific culture among citizens to be among its duties, assuming that only an understanding of science and its social relations can lead to truly democratic participation in debates on technical and scientific issues that affect society as a whole.