2023-2024 / SPAT0050-1

History of sciences of the universe


15h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in ancient and modern languages and literatures5 crédits 
 Bachelor in ancient languages and literatures : classics5 crédits 
 Bachelor in information and communication5 crédits 
 Bachelor in modern languages and literatures : German, Dutch and English5 crédits 
 Bachelor in history of art and archaeology : general5 crédits 
 Bachelor in history5 crédits 
 Bachelor in modern languages and literatures : general5 crédits 
 Bachelor in history of art and archaeology : musicology5 crédits 
 Bachelor in ancient languages and literatures : Oriental studies (Registrations are closed)5 crédits 
 Bachelor in philosophy5 crédits 
 Bachelor in French and Romance languages and literatures : general5 crédits 


Marc-Antoine Dupret

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

In these lectures, key moments in the history of universe science are discussed. To fix the ideas, we begin with a description of the apparent motion of the Sun, stars and planets on the celestial sphere, as well as other basic astronomical phenomenons (seasons, eclipses, moon phases).

Next, we show how a first paradigm in the representation of the universe emerges during the antiquity: "the 2 spheres Universe". After a brief presentation of the contribution of Mesopotamians and Egyptians, a particular attention is given to the central contribution and influence of greeks (Pythagore, Anaxagore, Plato, Aristote, Hipparcos, Aristarque, Ptolemeus, ...). We try to understand why this paradigm survives for nearly two millenaries.

Finally, we arrive to the copernician revolution. We emphasize the contribution of precursories,
and we discuss in details the role of key figures of these times: Copernic, Tycho, Kepler, Galileo and finally Newton.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The objective is double. First,we give a precise explanation and geometrical representation of our universe and basic astronomical phenomenons (apparent motions, seasons, ...).

Second, we intend to lead students into a reflection about the evolution of the human vision of the universe. The technics progressively developed to "question" the nature are emphasized, as well as the non negligible influence of the philosophical, political and religious context on the adopted approach.

A strong interaction with the students is sought during the courses, with the aim of creating a bridge between "exact" sciences and human sciences.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

The number, duration and times of classes are determined in consultation with the students for a total duration of 15 hours.

Recommended or required readings

Documentation closely related to the lectures is proposed.

Any session :

- In-person

written exam

- Remote

written work

- If evaluation in "hybrid"

preferred remote

Additional information:

A work related to the subjects considered in the lectures is presented orally (with participation of the whole class) and written. The assessment is based on this work.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Marc-Antoine Dupret
email: MA.Dupret@ulg.ac.be
address: Institut d'Astrophysique et Géophysique, bât. B5c, +1
Tél: 04 366 97 32

Association of one or more MOOCs