UMAIE - JT 1998
Directed by
Joseph Brom and Frank Rioux

The purpose of this study/travel course is to examine the evolution of scientific thought by visiting those locations where science first took root. Our study will take us to famous museums, venerable universities, important laboratories, and other sites of interest in:

Milan Jan. 07/08
Venice Jan. 08/10
Florence Jan. 11/13
Rome Jan. 14/16
Paris Jan. 17/20
London Jan. 21/27

In addition to these main sites, we will make day excursions to Cambridge, Greenwich and Padua.

It is, of course, impossible to thoroughly explore the history of science in three weeks. However, it is possible to highlight its most important stages and impress upon the interested observer the important developments of each period. Einstein has said, "The basis of all real education is the visual impression." Thus by actually visiting those places which were important in the rise of modern science, the strength of impression will make up for the shortness of exposure.

The locations we have chosen for this course are rich in their offerings. Science and the arts have flourished together, so this study-travel course offers a unique opportunity for a comprehensive cultural experience. In addition to examining the scientific treasures of Western Europe, we will also visit cathedrals, art galleries and the theater. Further details on what we will see and do in each city are provided in detail below.


The Ascent of Man, Bronowski, Little,Brown, 1973.
The Scientific Traveler, Tanford and Reynolds, John Wiley, 1992.


The Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Charles C. Gillispie, Editor, 1970.

Course Structure:

The academic component of this course will consist of the following: required readings, lectures, biographical sketches, out-of-class activities which support material presented in the required readings and the lectures, and a final exam.

The lectures by the instructors will summarize and illuminate the material presented in the required readings and prepare the participants for the required out-of-class activities. The biographical sketches will be student presentations on scientists who made pivotal contributions to the development of modern science. Each student participant will be assigned a particular scientist and will prepare a biographical summary (approximately 10 type-written pages) which will be presented at the appropriate time during the course. Out-of-class activities will include visits to universities, museums and important laboratories. The final exam will consist of a number of essay questions which will be distributed on the first day of class so that the participants have the entire journey to ponder the answers.

Class will be held every day for two hours, except on those days for which a major excursion is planned or which involve inter-city travel. Ample free time will be scheduled to allow an opportunity for independent exploration. In the determination of the final course grade, attendence and classroom participation will count 30%, the required biographical sketch 30%, and the final exam 40%.


Jan 6. Minneapolis departure.

Early afternoon departure from the Twin Cities on American Airlines.

Jan 7-8. Milan Click here to go to Milan

Milan was founded in 400 B.C. by the Celts and today is the economic capital of Italy and a bustling modern city leading its country in banking, commerce, and transportation. However, there is also much evidence of the past and of its famous citizens. For example, the cathedral of Milan, begun in 1386, is the third largest church in the world and is still considered to be the center of the city.

Lecture emphasis:

We begin our study of the history of science by considering the achievements of Leonardo da Vinci, the brilliant 16th Century artist, scientist and engineer. While many of the scientists we will consider in this course have made greater contributions to the advancement of science, none can match Leonardo in breadth of achievement. We will visit the highly regarded museum of science and industry named after him and also see his famous mural, The Last Supper, which is nearby in the monestary of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Milan's other science museum is dedicated to natural history and has many excellent exhibits.

Out-of-Class activities:

Introductory Tour of Milan,* Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology,* Museum of Natural History,* Piazza del Duomo, Palazzo Reale, Teatro alla Scala, S. Maria delle Grazie, Castello Sforzesco, Pinacoteca di Brera.

*Designates a required group activity. The other out-of-class activities are highly recommended.

Jan 9-11. Venice Click here to go to Venice

Venice is one of the world's most enchanting and unusual cities. Threatened continuously by the Adriatic Sea, it is a collection of 120 islands built on wooden piles in a salt water lagoon. In Venice canals replace streets, and gondolas, motor boats and barges provide the means of transportation. Its golden age was the period immediately before the discovery of the new world, when it served as the maritime crossroads of the world. It was at the campanile of the Basilica di San Marco that Galileo demonstrated to the Venetian Doge the practical commercial uses of the telescope that he used in his brilliant astronomical observations.

Lecture emphasis:

We continue our study of the rise of modern science during the Renaissance with a consideration of the achievements of Copernicus, Galileo, and Harvey. While in Venice we will travel to nearby Padua to visit the famous university where Galileo taught and where so many important advances were made in the fields of anatomy, astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and physics during the 16th and 17th centuries. Thus, Venice will be an appropriate city at which to begin a study of the origin of the universities.

Out-of-Class activities:

Walking guided tour of Venice,* Piazza and Basilica di San Marco*, Doge's Palace, Grand Canal. Excursion to the University of Padua*.

Jan 11-13. Florence Click here to go to Florence

During the Renaissance, art and science flourished side by side in Florence. Michelangelo and Galileo , artist and scientist, are two of Florence's most famous citizens. Their works are enshrined in the city's elegant museums, churches, and public buildings. Among Florence's treasurers is the Museo di Storia della Scienza, the most famous history of science museum in the world.

Lecture emphasis:

A study of renaissance science in Italy with emphasis on Galileo's scientific achievements. Also to be considered are the seminal contributions of Copernicus, Brahe and Kepler to physics and astronomy, and the relationship of their work to that of Galileo. It was at the nearby University of Pisa that Galileo began his academic and scientific careers.

Out-of-Class activities:

Walking guided tour of Florence.* History of Science Museum.* The Academia Gallery,* Uffizi Gallery. Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. Medici Chapels. Piazzale Michelangelo. Ponte Vecchio. Churches: S. Maria Novella, S. Croce and S. Maria del Fiore. Michelangelo's "David''. Piazza della Signoria.

Jan 14-16. Rome Click here to go to Rome

Rome, the Eternal City, offers evidence of the centuries like no other European capital. Here we find the ruins of the Roman Forum, the catacombs of early Christianity, the palaces and churches of the Renaissance, and many examples of the best in 20th century architecture. In addition to being the political capital of Italy, Rome is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It was here during the 17th Century that Galileo was brought to trial by the Inquisition.

Lecture emphasis:

A study of the origin of the conflict between science and religion, with special emphasis on the Galileo case. Comparison of the Galileo affair with the case of Giordano Bruno.

Out-of-class activities:

Introductory guided tour of Rome.* Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums.* The Vatican Archives and the Vatican Observatory.* Colosseum. Circus Maximus. Baths of Caracalla. Roman Forum. Catacombs. Pantheon. Piazza Navona. Trevi Fountain. Villa Borghese. Spanish Steps.

Jan 17-20. Paris Click here to go to Paris

Many consider Paris the most beautiful of the major European capitals. Like London, its excellent museums will allow us to mix science and culture. Paris is also famous for its architecture; Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. The University of Paris grew out of the cathedral schools of Chartres and Notre Dame in the early 12th Century and spawned Oxford and Cambridge universities in England.

Paris has more major science museums than any other city in the world. Of special interest to this course is the re-opening of the Natural History Museum in the Jardin des Plantes after a $80 million renovation.

Lecture emphasis:

Origin and importance of the University of Paris. The origin of scientific societies and scientific journals. Descartes and the relationship between science and philosophy. Madame Curie and the contributions of women to science. Lavoisier and the birth of modern chemistry. Pasteur's contributions to chemistry, bacteriology and medicine. Cuvier's pioneering work in paleontology. Lamarck and the rise of modern biology. Jacob and Monod and the maturation of molecular biology.

Out-of-class activities:

Introductory guided tour of Paris.* Natural History Museum at the Jardin des Plantes.* Museum of Science and Industry, Pasteur Institute.* Palais de la Decouvert. Louvre Museum. Musee d'Orsay. Rodin Museum. Napoleon's tomb. Notre Dame Cathedral. Eiffel Tower. Arc de Triomphe. Champs Elysees. Latin quarter. Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers.

Jan 21-26. London Click here to go to London

We travel from Paris to London on the new Eurostar rail service that uses the Channel Tunnel. The three and a half hour journey by train will bring us into London's Waterloo station at mid-morning.

Samuel Johnson said "When one is tired of London, one is tired of life." During the reign of Queen Victoria, London was the capital of an empire that included three-fourths of the world's population. This exciting city will offer us some of the finest art, cultural and science museums in the world, plus architectural treasures such as St. Paul's Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. During our stay in London we will visit the medieval university city of Cambridge, origin of so many important scientific achievements throughout the centuries. We will also visit the Old Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

Lecture emphasis:

Origins of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The importance of astronomy in the development of science. Newtonian science of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The relationship between science and technology. The tension between science and religion. Consideration of the scientific achievements of Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke, Edmund Halley, Isaac Newton, Joseph Priestley, Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Joseph Hooker, Charles Lyell, John Dalton, Michael Faraday, James Watson, and Francis Crick.

Out-of-class activities:

Introductory guided tour of London.* Faraday's Laboratory at the Royal Institution. Kensington Science Museum.* Natural History Museum.* Kew Gardens, The Museum of Mankind. The Old Royal Observatory* and Naval Museum at Greenwich. Cambridge University and the Cavendish Laboratory.* The British Museum. The National Gallery. The Museum of London. St. Paul's Cathedral. Westminster Abbey. Hyde Park Corner. Trafalgar Square. Houses of Parliament. Tower of London.

Jan 27. Return to Minneapolis on American Airlines.

Transfer to Heathrow Airport for the return flight to the Twin Cities via Chicago.

For those who enjoy surfing the Net there is a tremendous amount of information and a large number of digital images available through the World Wide Web. If you have access to a Web browser, such as Mosaic or Netscape, you can navigate to many cities all over the world. For example, clicking here will get you to a gateway to 150 countries. For example you can select France and then Paris to take a virtual walking tour of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You can easily use the web to create an exciting itinerary of your own.

For further information don't hesitate to contact us and click here to see a detailed day-by-day itinerary, or a month-at-a-glance calendar.)

Joseph Brom
Department of Chemistry
University of Saint Thomas
Saint Paul, MN 55105

Office: 612-962-5578
Home: 612-739-6981

Frank Rioux
Department of Chemistry Saint John's University
College of Saint Benedict
St. Joseph, MN 56374

Office: 320-363-5385
Home: 320-252-6425

Back to Frank Rioux's homepage.