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Historical Resources on Science, Technology, & Medicine

Though we all understand how important the roles of medicine, science, and technology are in our lives and our world, we rarely think about their history. Each field has come leaps and bounds since their beginnings. This resource guide will help you on your journey of uncovering and exploring the roots of these vital fields.

History of ScienceHistory of TechnologyHistory of Medicine

History of Science

  • 4000 Years of Women in Science: The University of Alabama hosts this website celebrating women’s role in science over the past 4,000 years. You can read through their biographies and look at their photographs.
  • A Science Odyssey: PBS published this fun site that takes the reader through the past 100 years of science. Topics covered include medicine, physics, astronomy, and earth and life sciences.
  • Leonardo: The Museum of Science of Boston presents this free online exhibit on all things Leonardo da Vinci. You can read his biography, explore some of his inventions, or utilize the multimedia link.
  • Royal Society of Chemistry Timeline: This society offers a visual timeline of major scientific events throughout time, with a special emphasis on chemistry. It can be viewed with HTML or flash.
  • Thall’s History of Quantum Mechanics: This historical timeline takes you through 12 major players in the field of quantum mechanics. Each scientist’s biography is accompanied with a photo.
  • The American Institute of Physics: The Center for the History of Physics is a virtual online library host to visual archives and historical collections related to physics and astronomy. Their mission is to preserve the historical accuracy of modern physics.
  • The British Society for the History of Science: This is another organization that serves those interested in understanding science, medicine, and technology from a historical perspective. They offer two scholarly journals as well as host regular conferences.
  • The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online: This site is a great resource for Darwin fans. Aside from his well-known publications, other manuscripts and supplementary works are also available.
  • The Galileo Project: Here you will find an extensive biography of Galileo’s life and discoveries, as well as information regarding other influential scientists in his era. It is maintained by Rice University.
  • The History of Science Society: This 95-year-old institute promotes analyzing science within the frame of history. It is the world’s biggest organization of its kind.

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History of Technology

  • A Brief History of Technology: Along with a brief summary, this site features other interesting topics to explore, including technological philosophers, technology’s neutrality, and the dilemma relating to technology. It’s published by Regent University.
  • A Walk Through Time: Here you will find a fascinating look at the evolution of time measurement. Categories covered include ancient calendars, the first clocks, and the atomic age. It is maintained by the The National Institute of Standards and Technology.
  • Computers: From the Past to the Present: Michelle A. Hoyle offers this visual lecture on the history of computing. The presentation starts at the Shamanistic tradition and ends with servers and clients.
  • Historical Periods in Television Technology: Though the FCC is notorious for its sensitive censorship guidelines, on this site it offers a look at TV’s evolution. The summaries are divided up into four major time periods.
  • Internet History: The Computer History Museum presents an online exhibit on the history of the internet from 1962. Pictures of founders and old computers are accompanied with descriptive text.
  • Introduction to the History of Technology: The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San Jose State University presents information on technological contributions of specific cultures. The site covers the history of technology in Islamic Spain, Chinese contributions, and technology in the Middle Ages.
  • The History of Computing: Virginia Tech hosts this extensive resource list of links related to the history of computing. Links are divided into people and pioneers, corporations, computer history organizations and museums, and more.
  • The History of Recording Technology: Ever wondered how our method of listening to, transmitting, and creating sound has evolved? This site offers a comprehensive timeline, with subjects divided into technology, culture, and industry.
  • The Origins of Writing: The Metropolitan Museum of Art explores the history of writing systems throughout the world with timelines and maps. There are also 13 thematic essays available to browse.
  • The Society for the History of Technology: SHOT is committed to analyzing technology from a historical standpoint. This society produces a scholarly journal called Technology and Culture as well as a quarterly newsletter and booklet series.

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History of Medicine

  • American Association for the History of Medicine: Members of this historical society receive access to a number of benefits, like job listings, grant opportunities, and more. The AAHM offers a scholarly journal and a newsletter.
  • Classics in Family Medicine: In partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Center for the History of Family Medicine lists 44 of the best articles on family medicine of all time. All articles are available in PDF format.
  • Classics in the History of Psychology: This far-reaching electronic library has a ton of historical psychological literature to sort through. Search your favorite author or browse by topic.
  • Countercultural Healing: A Brief History of Alternative Medicine in America: Dr. James Whorton wrote this comprehensive piece on the explosion of alternative medicine in the United States. It was written for PBS.
  • History of Medicine: The National Institute of Health offers a number of resources on the history of medicine. Digital collections include medicine in the Americas, Islamic manuscripts, and anatomies.
  • The Five Most Influential Nurses in History: These five medical professionals made their mark on history, and the site presents brief descriptions of each. One on the list might surprise you.
  • The History of Cancer: For those wanting to trace the roots of cancer, this is the place to start. The American Society of Cancer organizes this disease into several categories, depending on subtopic of interest.
  • The History of Diseases: Brought to you by the Medical Library Association, here you will find online resources to a wide variety of diseases, both old and recent. Ailments include lupus, typhoid, and epilepsy.
  • The Origin of HIV and the First Cases of AIDS: AVERT is an international organization dedicated to education, treatment, and care of HIV and AIDS. Here they present a comprehensive history on AIDS and HIV.
  • Webtreats: History of Medicine: Thanks to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, this long resource list is available to those looking for historical information of medicine. Links include URLs to museum collections, university pages, and more.

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