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RESC 098 16 CRN: 16834
Revolutions in Science
Prof. Matthew Slater, Philosophy

Fulfills the following requirements:
Engineering Humanities, Writing Level 1

In this seminar, part of the Discovery Residential College, we examine the historical development of science with a particular focus on the concept of a scientific revolution and the role that science has played in developing our understanding of persons and our place in the universe. Karl Popper, an influential philosopher and historian of science proposed that "Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths." From this perspective, we can trace the historical origin of science back to creation stories and the metaphysics of ancient philosophy. But how did science as we know it today emerge from this myth-infused origin? Is science a special or privileged way of expanding our knowledge of the world? What makes a theory "scientific"? What propels scientific revolutions? In addressing these questions, course will contest a common (if unspoken) myth about science: that it has no creation story, that it had to be the way it is. Our attention to the history and philosophy of science will focus on the themes of the role of science in society and in the development of our conception of ourselves in relation to nature.

 

RESC 098 19 CRN: 16941
Shoulders of Giants
Prof. Peter Brooksbank, Mathematics

Fulfills the following requirements:
Writing Level 1

This seminar, part of the Discovery Residential College, takes a (necessarily selective) tour through the history of scientific and mathematical discovery. The course title derives from a famous quote attributed to Isaac Newton from his 1676 letter to Hooke: "...If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." Avoiding speculation about its intent, this poetic sentiment captures a good deal about the setting for our seminar: scientific progress through the ages. In the course we will study major scientific advances and the individuals that contributed to them. We will also examine the external factors that have helped or hindered progress, and assess the impact particular advances have had on scientific method, and on society. Our goal is to cultivate a heightened awareness of the role of science in society and a better understanding of how it influences our connection to the universe around us.

 

RESC 098 20 CRN: 16876
How'd they make that?
Prof. Karen Castle, Chemistry


Fulfills the Following Requirements:
Writing Level 1

In this seminar, part of the Discovery Residential College, we will explore the historical development of science with a particular focus on materials. By thinking about some of the major advances in materials research and how they came about, 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 discovery of new materials has made possible things that used to be impossible. The quest for certain naturally-occurring substances has directed exploration, influenced wars, and altered environments. This course will challenge students to think critically about some of the big discoveries in the interdisciplinary field of materials science throughout history. They will learn about the role of scientific research in discovering and creating new materials and will explore some fascinating connections between the discovery of new materials and the development of societies.

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