History of science: is it possible to be pop without being whig?

Author: Juan Meléndez.
Date of publication: 20 January 2015.

Juan Meléndez, is Senior Associate Professor at the department of Physics of the University Carlos III of Madrid, where he has more than 20 years of experience professor. He studied Theoretical Physics at the University of Salamanca and did his thesis PhD, on superlattice lasers and quantum wells, at the Centro Nacional de Microelectrónica - CSIC (1993). He belongs to the laboratory Infrared Lab (LIR-Infrared Lab) of the Carlos III University, where he researches on hyperspectral imaging and applications of infrared thermography to non-invasive analysis. Interested in the scientific knowledge dissemination , he has recently published the book "From Thales to Newton: Science for Smart People" and is the author of the blog detalesanewton.wordpress.com

summaryThe history of science, as an academic discipline , has undergone a tremendous evolution in the 20th century. Authors such as Duhem, Koyré or Kuhn have long since overcome the old inductivist historiography that painted a linear progress from the "dark ages" and anachronistically judged past theories in terms of current ones. However, this "whig history", as Sir Herbert Butterfield christened it, still prevails in the books of knowledge dissemination, sometimes turned into a tale of good guys and bad guys. This popular image distorts, in particular, the perception of the relationship between science and faith. It is therefore appropriate to ask whether it is possible to have a history of science that is popular and at the same time up to the standards of contemporary historiography.