Discovery Residential College

Learn how science has changed the world.

Participate in hands-on activities. Visit places where breakthroughs have occurred. Appreciate science through the lenses of other disciplines, including history, philosophy and education.

Foundation Seminar Course Choices

Course Details

Sequence Society & Self

In this seminar, students will gain a greater understanding of the role of science in society and begin to appreciate how science influences our understanding of the universe around us. 

The Human Genome Project was a 13-year endeavor that cost the federal government approximately $4 billion. We will use the Human Genome Project as a lens to answer questions about how science functions in Western society and how the genome sequence can be used to better understand ourselves as individuals and as a society. Has the HGP changed my life? Will I want to have my genome sequenced?  Who gets to know my genetic make-up? Will I want to screen potential partners or embryos based on their genetic make-up? Who were the Denisovans?  When we have the ability to sequence everyone's genome will we change the way we define ourselves and act as a society?

Students will read texts about the genome and genome project; literature that explores the basis of human nature, investigate human genes of interest and participate in the annotation (mapping) of a bacterial genome.

The Universal Machine

We are all aware of the extremely rapid developments in recent years that have led to the technology driven digital age that we live in. But what were the big conceptual ideas and discoveries that paved the way for these fairly recent advances?

This course peers back through history in an attempt to pinpoint the major intellectual strides in the art and science of computing. Who were the individuals responsible, and what provided the impetus for their work? As the title of the course suggests, our principal focus will be the Universal Machine, a theoretical innovation of Alan Turing whose profound influence on our world today is difficult to overstate. (If you have seen the recent movie, The Imitation Game, you have some sense of this already.) Our journey begins, more or less, in the 17th Century, lingers for a while in the 19th Century, and reaches its exciting climax in the twenty or so years either side of the Second World War. We will pause for some literary reflection on the age of machines, and to take a glimpse into the arcane world of cryptology.

World-Changing Discoveries

In this seminar, students will gain a greater understanding of the role of science in society and begin to appreciate how science influences our understanding of the universe around us.

Our discussions will be sparked by watching and performing "cool science tricks" and working toward understanding the related scientific phenomena. Students will consider some of the most important scientific discoveries in materials science, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, and geology through a variety of lenses including the history and philosophy of science. Students will tackle big questions such as "when does an observation become new knowledge?" and "is scientific advancement always a good thing?" as they explore the fascinating connections between research, ethics, and societal development. This seminar does not require prior knowledge of science or engineering concepts and students of all backgrounds and interests are welcome. 

Extreme Discoveries

The farthest galaxy, the smallest particle, the coldest temperature, the fastest computer, the most precisely tested theory, the most complex system – the human brain... ... all of these scales are made accessible to us thanks to generations of researchers advancing theories, inventing technologies and forging collaborations.

Using cutting-edge discoveries as a backdrop, this foundation seminar integrates reading, writing and quantitative reasoning through weekly-themed topics. Students will learn to analyze each topic of its theoretical framework, technological support, significance to society, and public reception, thus develop a deeper appreciation for the importance of a well-rounded education as well as interdisciplinary collaborations.

Discovery College Student Staff

Abigail Kreznor, Junior Fellow

Abigail Kreznor

Hometown:  Woodstock, IL
Major: chemistry

"The Discovery Residential College was a great place for me and many other first years at Bucknell. I loved the family feeling that developed while we explored science together. It's a great place to get connected with other students who share a similar passion for science and make friends that will last a lifetime. I can't wait to continue to be a part of it again for the upcoming year!" 

Eileen McAuley, Junior Fellow

Eileen McAuley

Hometown:  Glen Ridge, NJ
Major: cell biology and biochemistry

"I believe the Discovery program shaped my Bucknell experience and is a huge reason why I have fallen in love with Bucknell. The friendships formed, the knowledge gained, and the experiences I will never forget through the Discovery program makes me want to stay a freshman forever."

Mitchell Petrimoulx, Junior Fellow

Mitchell Petrimoulx

Hometown:  Clarkston, MI
Major: electrical engineering and management for engineers

"Disco gave me an immediate group of friends that always had my back this year, and made adjusting to college life a breeze. I have learned so much from being on a hall that is diverse in people, majors and everything else, but still has the common connection of wanting to see what's around the next corner. From the trip to Philly to the variety of class options to common hour, Disco gives you a place to be yourself and do what you love: try new things and Discover!"

Hannah Rickertsen, Junior Fellow

Hannah Rickertsen

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Major:  Civil Engineering

"Being a part of Discovery made my first year of college better than I thought it could ever be. Doing everything from visiting Philadelphia to stargazing with people from Discovery gave me a great foundation to make the best of my first year. From awesome friends, to building solid relationships with Discovery professors, to gaining new and exciting knowledge, Discovery gave me a great place to go and discover."

Maggie Graves, Resident Fellow

Maggie Graves

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Major: chemical engineering

"Discovery first appealed to me during my first year living experience on the Disco hall. Everyone had a passion for science that connected the living experience with my classes in a way I had never expected. Returning to staff for my junior year holds all sorts of new experiences and surprises. My job this coming year will be to continue to create an environment that promotes a love of science and a passion for Discovery in sophomores who were involved in the Residential College last year."


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