Course Code

CHES2107/ UGEA2433

Course Name



Thursday 6:30-9:30pm





Teaching Assistant


Course Description

Science and technology in China from antiquity to the present is surveyed through the study of selected topics in some depth. Particular emphasis is given to science and technology as a window to appreciate certain aspects of Chinese culture and history. Two important questions are explored through contrasting China with the West: the conditions for the development of modern science and the central role of science and technology in modernization.

Specific topics include the following: (1) history of science and technology in the west as background; (2) scientific thought and concepts of nature in ancient China; (3) traditional Chinese mathematics; (4) traditional Chinese astronomy; (5) Chinese medicine: history, philosophy, theory and practice; (6) innovation and progress in pre-modern Chinese technology; (7) early introduction of western science by missionaries and the Needham question; (8) science and technology in the Self-Strengthening Movement and the May Fourth Movement (‘Mr Science’); (9) science and technology from 1949 to the 1980s; (10) innovation and technology since the 1980s.

Course Outline

Detailed Course Outline is available on Blackboard.

Topics for each week are as follows. 

  1. Logistics, overview, ancient philosophical traditions
  2. Early inventions
  3. History of science and technology in the West
  4. Scientific thought and concepts of Nature in ancient China
  5. Traditional Chinese mathematics
  6. Traditional Chinese astronomy
  7. Chinese medicine: history, philosophy, basic theory and its practice
  8. Innovation and progress in pre-modern Chinese technology
  9. Early introduction of Western science by missionaries; the Needham question
  10. Science and technology in the Self-Strengthening Movement and the May Fourth movement
  11. Science and technology from 1949 to the 1980s
  12. Innovation and technology since the 1980s
  13. Discussions/ presentations

Assessment & Assignments

50% Term Paper

25% Quiz

25% Class Discussion

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.