Dr Elizabethanne Boran, Edward Worth Library ‘Science in Trinity College Dublin in the seventeenth century’
Online, 1 March, 15.00-16.00hrs
Abstract: This paper examines the teaching of science at Trinity College, Dublin in the seventeenth century. It focuses on three periods: from the foundation of the University of Dublin in 1592 to the 1641 rebellion; Cromwellian innovations of the 1650s; and the impact of the new science in the later seventeenth century. By reconstructing the college’s early library collections, in conjunction with staff and student notebooks, it explores the factors affecting the teaching of the scientific curriculum up to 1641, focusing in particular on the dominance of Ramism. The impact members of the reformist circle of Samuel Hartlib (1600- 82), such as Miles Symner (d. 1686), in attempting, in the 1650s, to implement a Baconian-inspired agenda devoted to experimental and applied learning, is likewise investigated. Finally, by using the Loan Books for the college library in the 1680s and 1690s, and the papers of the Dublin Philosophical Society from the 1680s onwards, the paper illustrates the availability and access to works of the new science, and outlines the dominant themes and favoured authors of books borrowed by members of Trinity College Dublin’s. The paper ends with an analysis of official attitudes to the relationship between science and religion in the last decade of the seventeenth century.
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