Plagues, History and the Growth of Modern Science

Students who are interested in historical or scientific puzzles will learn how John Snow's amazing 'detective' work in identifying the cause of cholera led to the birth of epidemiology. Explore how diseases change history and what impact COVID 19 could have on the future?

(This course is targeted at children entering Grades 8, 9, 10 in 2020-21)

 In this course we will explore the historical roots of medical science and epidemiology. By comparing plagues like medieval Black Death, 19th century cholera epidemics to modern pandemics like Covid-19 students learn how ideas about disease have changed over time. We will start in the Middle Ages and study to become medieval doctors. Students will learn how medieval people explained disease and how they tried to treat the Black Death. They will examine a case study of cholera in 19th century London. The work of  John Snow whose astonishing map of cholera gave birth to modern epidemiology. Students will learn how pandemics can affect governments, inspire revolutions, change culture and religious beliefs. How new diseases push scientists to question established ideas about disease and inspire new fields of study like virology and epidemiology. We will ask how does disease change history? What impact Covid 19 could have on the future?   

This course is ideal for students who are interested in the sciences and want to learn more about the historical roots of medical knowledge. It will also be of interest to any student who likes historical or scientific puzzles. Understanding and tracking disease is one of the most fascinating and difficult problems of the modern age.

Read Mindy's (the course instructor's) blog post about the course here.