C. DyerAdvances in Science and Engineering in the Italian RenaissanceWinter 2005

Instructor: Professor Chuck Dyer

  E-mail:       dyer@cs.wisc.edu
  Office Hours: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Tuesdays and 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Thursdays in the Faculty Office, and by appointment
  Telephone:	055 442987 (apartment)
  		340 4962637 (mobile)

Course Description

There are two main goals of this course: (1) to learn about some of the scientific, engineering, and technological advances made during the Italian Renaissance, and (2) to learn about digital video production to create your own mini-documentaries about some aspect of science and engineering in Italy today. Study about the use of experiments involving detailed observation and quantitative measurement of nature combined with the use of mathematics as a tool for describing and analyzing the natural world. Topics will include Brunelleschi's invention of linear perspective and its use in art; the invention of mechanical devices for building construction and used in erecting the dome of the Florence cathedral; Leonardo da Vinci's machines; and Galileo's discovery of the laws of motion and his development and use of the telescope to advance astronomy. Teams of students will use provided video equipment to make their own mini-documentaries. No prior experience will be assumed in terms of science or math background or using video equipment or editing software.



Other Readings

Some other readings will be available on the web in the Readings on Reserve list. Use the login name dyer and the password given in class. Other readings will be put in the course folder My Documents -> Dyer - Science in Renaissance on the villa computers.


Attendance Policy

Attendance at all classes and required site visits is mandatory. Absences will affect your final grade.

Academic Integrity

Cheating and plagiarism will be dealt with in accordance with university procedures (see the Academic Misconduct Guide). Be sure to cite any sources you use including web pages. If you have any questions on this, ask the instructor before you act.


This course could not have been developed without the generous help from many people. In particular, powerpoint slides and other course materials have been made available to me by Marc Levoy (Stanford), Bill Warren (Brown), and Chris Anderson (Wisconsin). Others whose materials have been a source for my course's development include Antonio Criminisi (Microsoft) and Steve Seitz (Washington).

Web Page


Documentary Video Projects

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The Villa Corsi-Salviati Choir
by Katie Carrico, Angela Corradin, Jason Dobkowski, Linda Nguyen and Josh Swenson
(6 minutes; 11 MB)

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Pilfered Panettone
by Amanda Fales, Josh Kalscheur, Myssi Kao, Kristin Kronberg, Rachel Schloss and Stacy Weber
(7 minutes; 13 MB)

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Gelato: The Flavor of Italy
by Jason Dobkowski, Myssi Kao, Kristin Kronberg and Stacy Weber
(11 minutes; 20 MB)

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Maintaining the Beauty of the Ages
by Angela Corradin, Josh Kalscheur and Rachel Schloss
(12 minutes; 22 MB)

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Wine and the Cork
by Katie Carrico, Amanda Fales, Linda Nguyen and Josh Swenson
(10 minutes; 18 MB)

Class Field Trip to the Cupola of the Duomo

Class Field Trip to the History of Science Museum (and Galileo's finger)