Over the past year, ancient Greek and Roman technology has become a visible presence in Classics' Denny Hall offices. Professor Sarah Stroup has been exploring STEM in Antiquity in Classics 314, her popular new course for undergraduates. Students from across the university study the ancient practioners of science and the ancient history of technological innovation across the fields of science, engineering, technology, mathematics and medicine.
In addition, over the course of the term students work in teams in the CoMotion MakerSpace in UW's Fluke Hall to create a piece of technology: recent teams have produced writing systems, irrigation infrastructure, catapaults, and a gear system to track the lunar calendar. Throughout, students' work in the course emphasizes the social and ethical context of ancient technological developments. As one student, Ishan Narula, wrote, "The course taught me what it was like to be a Greek philosopher/scientist living more than 2000 years ago, trying to understand why the world functions in the way that it does. Additionally, it exposed me to the ethical implications of ancient technological progress and how these implications continue to affect us in the modern world." Professor Stroup has offered the course through the Early Fall Start program as well as during the academic year and looks forward to continuing to work with students in this area. She adds, “I adore this class—I get to work with a wonderful group of students from across the university, and we’ll go from reading Aeschylus and Aristotle and Euclid in the first part of the week, to power tools, laser cutters, and 3D printers when we hit MakerSpace. It’s been a steep learning curve—and so worth it!”