The History and Theory of Science Group (GHTC) was created in 1991 by Roberto de Andrade Martins, from the Department of Cosmic Rays and Chronology, at the “Gleb Wataghin” Physics Institute, at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP).
Professor Roberto Martins contributed in many different ways to the development of the History of Science in Brazil. He participated in the foundation of the Association of Philosophy and History of Science of the Southern Cone (AFHIC) in 2000 and the Brazilian Association of Philosophy and History of Biology (ABFHiB) in 2006. Both scientific associations maintain an expressive role in the area and have a clear path into the future in Latin America.
His vast production of books and articles, especially in the history of physics and biology, contributed to highlighting the history of science produced in Brazil internationally. More importantly, his work supported the training of professional historians of science in the country, coming from different academic fields. Part of the professionals trained by Prof. Martins integrates the GHTC.
The GHTC increasingly focused on developing the historical approach in science teaching in elementary and higher schools. For this reason, in 2010, the group changed its name to the History, Theory and Science Teaching Group, keeping the acronym GHTC. The characteristics of the group’s work in this interface are its strong interdisciplinarity and methodological plurality.
Over its 30 years, the GHTC has sought to understand the history of science in its various dimensions, using multiple methods and approaches. The group’s expansion made it possible to explore a broader range of research topics. In addition to the history of physics, biology, cultural astronomy, and their inclusion into science education, the group deals with historiographical studies, gender and race studies, among others.
The GHTC has been reaping the fruits of the work developed by its participants. The expansion in the training of professionals in the History of Science occurred by undergraduate and graduate courses in several university units in the country. The group’s formative actions reach students from five universities, in seven different campuses, distributed in three states of Brazil, two from the South and one from the Northeast: São Carlos Institute of Physics (IFSC-USP), Institute of Biosciences in the city of São Paulo campus (IB-USP), Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters in Ribeirão Preto campus (FFCLRP-USP), Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) in Diadema campus, Federal University of ABC (UFABC) in Santo André campus, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) in Natal.
As the members’ curricula show, among the research actions, the group interacts with the specialized public in the area’s congresses, in Brazil and abroad. In addition, they publish a large number of articles and books on the history of science and its interfaces in Portuguese and English.
Outreach and dissemination actions translate into dialogue with a growing audience, with the participation in curriculum public policies, production of educational materials, production of television programs with the Ministry of Education and interviews.
From the close collaboration between the members of the GHTC, the interaction between the current approximately 40 undergraduate and graduate students stands out. They actively participate in monthly seminars, coincidentally initiated with the Covid-19 pandemic and its distance classes, in March 2020. Through a virtual platform, the workshops enable the analysis and discussion of relevant topics in the history of science and their interfaces with science education, fostering dialogue, exchange of experiences, and collaboration in research projects among all members.
The group’s research seeks to offer contributions to the demands of today’s society, mainly promoting scientific literacy as a means of confronting the anti-scientific movements that spread across several countries in the first decades of the 21st century.