Renewed Education at the Séminaire de Québec

At the beginning of the 19th century, Abbé Jérôme Demers took over the teaching of physics and science. Drawing especially on Nollet’s influence in popularizing science in Europe, he introduced new teaching methods, with the emphasis on demonstration. His courses therefore focussed on the use of scientific instruments to demonstrate physical concepts.

This renewal of teaching methods, combined with an institutional interest in science, led to the teaching of philosophy and science as two separate courses. From having a single teacher in 1800, to teach philosophy, physics and mathematics, the Séminaire de Québec over time appointed several priests to teach the sciences. By the middle of the century, students could take courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, mineralogy, zoology and botany.

The Séminaire established a tradition among the network of French-Canadian colleges, namely, the collecting of scientific instruments and the creation of physics cabinets. In 1829, Jérôme Demers accordingly remarked to Governor Kempt that the Séminaire de Québec "has at great expense acquired all the instruments required to conduct all the experiments for an excellent course in Physics, without having to resort to suppositions."
Canadian Heritage Information Network
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Musée de la civilisation, Stewart Museum, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Museum of Health Care at Kingston, University Health Network Artifact Collection, University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments, University of Toronto Museum Studies Program, Suzanne Board, Dr. Randall C. Brooks, Sylvie Toupin, Ana-Laura Baz, Jean-François Gauvin, Betsy Little, Paola Poletto, Dr. James Low, David Kasserra, Kathryn Rumbold, David Pantalony, Dr. Thierry Ruddel, Kim Svendsen

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