Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Creation and Circulation of Knowledge. How Did Edison and Newton Know – and How do You?

Overall Course Objectives

What counts as knowledge? How has knowledge been created, circulated, valued, and used historically? And how do the answers to these questions differ through history and across disciplines?

That is some of the questions we will discuss in the course with the aim of seeing both our own knowledge and the knowledge of others in a critical light. What do we know – and how do we know it?

Generally, the aim is to develop skills in critical thinking, cross-disciplinary teamwork, and communication.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify, analyze, and evaluate different knowledge cultures, forms of knowledge and ways of knowing, including the use of different knowledge forms and traditions in different professions.
  • Identify and reflect on different forms of visualisation of knowledge, their history and impact (maps, diagrams, models etc.).
  • Reflect on the historical construction of classifications, standards and units and their impact (ex. the metre and other SI units).
  • Analyse the relationship between knowledge, language, practice and materiality (objects and places).
  • Identify, ‘defamiliarize’ and evaluate own beliefs and assumptions regarding what counts as true knowledge.
  • Argue for own knowledge and ways of knowing in cross-disciplinary milieus, where some people may represent other assumptions about what count as true knowledge (other knowledge cultures).
  • Assess strong and weak points in arguments brought forward by people from other professions representing different ways of knowing.
  • Communicate own knowledge, both orally and in writing, including following academic referencing standards and other knowledge conventions in academia.
  • Reflect on the relationship between power and knowledge and the role of the expert over time.

Course Content

Tycho Brahe used astrology, a field only few associate with real knowledge today. Lord Kelvin thought knowledge should be something measurable you can express in numbers. And today we use eg. statistics, the periodic table, the meter, and advanced measuring devices without thinking much about them being relatively new tools.

In the course, we use these and a lot of other examples from the sociology and history of technology, science and knowledge to discuss and reflect on the following core elements:

• What is knowledge?
• Knowledge creation and circulation in different times and places
• The history of concepts, classifications, units and standards
• Visualisations of knowledge and their history (maps, drawings, diagrams, models etc.)
• Knowledge objects and places (books, instruments, laboratories, libraries, the Internet etc.)
• Communication and argumentation.

We will evaluate our own knowledge. What do we know – and how do we actually know it and how can our knowledge be so very different?

Recommended prerequisites

Min. 2 years of study or 42610/42611 Theory of Science in Engineering (Ingeniørfagets videnskabsteori) or equivalent course.
In particular, the course is recommended for students preparing their bachelor, master, or PhD project.

Teaching Method

Lectures, presentations, excursions, experiments, and project work.



This course requires students to work with complicated arguments, long texts, and produce advanced presentations both orally and in writing. It is only recommended to students with (1) a good command of the English language or (2) a good command of Danish and the ability to understand written or orally presented English.

Limited number of seats

Minimum: 8, Maximum: 30.

Please be aware that this course has a minimum requirement for the number of participants needed, in order for it to be held. If these requirements are not met, then the course will not be held. Furthermore, there is a limited number of seats available. If there are too many applicants, a pool will be created for the remainder of the qualified applicants, and they will be selected at random. You will be informed 8 days before the start of the course, whether you have been allocated a spot.

See course in the course database.





3 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 10603
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 23
Semester end Week 26
Days Mon-fri 8:00-17:00

7.500,00 DKK

Please note that this course has participants limitation. Read more