Neurobiology and Behavior 2004

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The Brain - is wider than the Sky -

For - put them side by side -

The one the other will contain

With ease - and You - beside-

Welcome to the home page of Biology 202 at Bryn Mawr College. Pleased to have you here. I'm looking forward to an interesting,enjoyable, productive semester of "getting it progressively less wrong", and hope you are too. Let's have some fun, and see what we can all make out of it together.

Students (and visitors) should be aware that this is a "non-traditional" science course in several respects (see A Vision of Science (and Science Education) in the 21st Century for further background).

The course is organized in relation to the following general presumptions (see syllabus for specifics):

  • Neurobiology, like all science, is an ongoing process of trying to make sense of the world and one's relation to it by a recursive and unending process of making observations, summarizing the observations, and using the summaries to motivate new observations.

  • Neurobiology is of interest and is accessible to everyone, and is an essential tool in the repertoire of anyone who is themself trying to make sense of who they are and how they relate to the world around them.

  • Neurobiology, like all science, is best assimilated by a process in which students themselves work through in their own minds and in relation to their own experiences and understandings relevant observations and the summaries of those observations suggested by others. Education, like science, should be an ongoing process of making observations, summarizing the observations, and using the summaries to motivate new observations.

  • Neurobiology, like all science, is a social process, one in which the observations and tentative summaries are shared among individuals, so that each can benefit from the ongoing inquiries of others. For this reason, students (like faculty) will be expected to actively engage in all aspects of the course, including making thoughts in progress available not only to other students in the course but to the world at large by way of an on-line forum and web papers.

Some course starting points:

From literature - Emily Dickinson (1830-1886):
The Brain - is wider than the Sky -
For - put them side by side -
The one the other will contain
With ease - and You - beside-

The Brain is deeper than the sea -
For - hold them - Blue to Bue -
The one the other will absorb -
As sponges - Buckets - do

The Brain is just the weight of God -
For - Heft them - Pound for Pound -
And they will differ - if they do -
As syllable from Sound -

 

And from history:

Mind and Body: Rene Descartes to William James

Course announcements

Browse around. Get a sense of what's here, and how it does (or doesn't) relate to things you might be interested in. Think about what you think you know about brain and behavior, and why, and what puzzles you, and why. And expect to be wrong, over and over again. That's the best starting place ... for any kind of scientific inquiry.

Second web paper comments emailed to seniors. Rest by the end of this week.

Final web papers due for seniors 5 pm, Friday, 7 May, for others 5 pm, Friday, 14 May, in box outside Room 106.

Please make one last visit to the course forum, reread your thoughts at the beginning of the semester, reflect on what has/has not changed in your ideas about the relationship between behavior and the nervous system.

Please be sure to complete the course evaluation form. If you haven't done so already, please turn it in when you turn in your final paper.

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