History of Science and Technology in Portugal


The objectives of the course can be summarized in the following points: 

(1) Plan of the learning/knowledge acquisition: 

 • Understanding the internal structure of the Portuguese scientific and technological universe in economic, political, social, and cultural contexts; 

 • Dominating fundamental concepts for understanding the production and dissemination of scientific and technological knowledge in Portugal over time; 

• Studying a selected set of system modifications Portuguese scientific and technological development in the fundamental matrix of civilization of the country. 

(2) Plan of acquisition of skills: 

• To develop historically the evolution of history of science and technology in the Portuguese case; 

• To assess critically what is taught, thought and took place in Portugal in the general domain of science and technology, taking into account the European and international context;

◦ Promote a cultural dimension closely related to the role that science and technology and has should play in the context of economic and social development in Portugal; 

◦ Understanding the nature of the current debates within the history of science and technology in Portugal.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Maria da Silva Pereira Amaral


Weekly - 2

Total - 84

Teaching language





  • Ana Carneiro; Teresa Salomé Mota; Vanda Leitão, O Chão que Pisamos. A Geologia ao Serviço do Estado (1848-1974), Lisboa: Edições Colibri, 2014
  • Francisco Malta Romeiras, Os jesuítas em Portugal depois de Pombal. História ilustrada, Lisboa: Lucerna, 2018.
  • Henrique Leitão. Os Descobrimentos Portugueses e a Ciência Europeia (2009). Alêtheia: Lisboa.
  • Isabel Amaral, A Emergência da Bioquímica em Portugal: As Escolas de Investigação de Marck Athias e de Kurt Jacobsohn, Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa, 2006.
  • Maria Paula  Diogo; Isabel Amaral (coord.). A outra face do Império - Ciência, Tecnologia e Medicina (Sécs. XIX-XX), Lisboa: Edições Colibri, 2012.
  • Marta Macedo, Projectar e Construir a Nação — Engenheiros, Ciência e Território em Portugal no séc. XIX, Lisboa: ICS, 2012.
  • Sérgio Campos de Matos; Jorge Ramos do, Ó (eds), A Universidade de Lisboa nos séculos XIX e XX, Lisboa: Tinta da China, 2013.

Teaching method

The classes involve a combination of theory and practice. The lecturer will provide introductions to the main themes of the course and sessions of discussion and debate from several bibliographic sources by the students. All the materials (articles, books, PowerPoint slides) will be available online to the students in the course page in Moodle.

Evaluation method

Evaluation includes:

1. Oral presentation of a scientific article about a specific program theme (40%);

2. Elaboration of a critical book review concerning one of the topics of the discipline (60%)

Subject matter

1. The History of Science and History of Technology as historical disciplines 

2. The Past of the History of Science and Technology in Portugal 

• Nautical Science Discoveries 

• The internationalization of science and technology in the century. XVII: the Society of Jesus 

• The "estrangeirados" worldview and scientific and technical 

• Around and beyond the reform of Pombal 

• Routes of specialization: Army School and Polytechnics 

• The policy of "promotion material" 

• Science, technology, and colonial territories 

• The twentieth century and the scientific and technical expertise 

3. The recognition of the History of Science and Technology in Portugal

  • The transition from a descriptive to an analytical register 
  • The creation of research groups 
  • The main areas of research in History of Science and Technology in Portugal 


3. The current state of the History of Science and Technology in Portugal

  • The history of science and political discourse; The history of science and science education, the history of science and promotion of scientific culture.


Programs where the course is taught: