Biology in Society Seminar, fall 2010
Biology in Society Senior Seminar
Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2010
A discussion of the nature of biology, and science in general, and of their reciprocal relationships to broader social and cultural activities. In addition to in class conversation, students will participate in on-line forum discussion of papers on this general subject, lead discussions and write web papers on topics of particular interest to themselves, and write a senior paper on one such topic that will also appear on-line. Others are welcome to join in the conversation by way of background readings and on-line forums.
- To acquire greater ability to engage in productive public discussion of biological research and its practical and conceptual significance for enhancing an understanding of life, human and otherwise.
- To achieve critical and synthetic in-depth understandings of selected issues at the biology/society interface and make them available in a form that is engaging and useful to others.
- To further develop skills of co-constructive inquiry
- The two plaintiffs at center of the ban on stem cell use
- The other side of science
- Spinal fluid test is found to predict Alzheimers
- Years later, no magic bullet against Alzheimers disease
- Scientists worry machines may outsmart man
- Scientists cite fastest case of human evolution
- British panel clears scientists
- Grant system leads cancer researchers to play it safe
- Survey shows gaps between scientists and the public
- Harvard puts tighter limits on medical faculty
- Scientists criticize study on genetics of old age
- Harvard researcher may have fabricated data
Things to consider in relation to possible topics
- Are scientific observations/perspectives distinctively relevant for this topic? If so, why? How should they be presented?
- Is there something to be learned from this topic about science and its engagement with the culture in which it is embedded? If so, what?
- Presentations/papers should reflect both awareness of existing observations/perspectives and a distinctive critical/synthetic perspective of one's own. They should not only outline a problem or controversy, but provide one's own creative thoughts about what can be learned from it and/or how best to move beyond it.
- Regular participation in class discussion and in subsequent on-line forum conversation
- Preparation of summary of in-class discussion
- Background material preparation and facilitation of in-class discussion
- A five page paper on a topic of your choice
- A twenty or so page senior research paper on a topic of your choice
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|30 August||Science and culture/values: the need for a scientific code of conduct?||Grobstein|
|2 September||Science and culture/values: the need for a scientific code of conduct?, con||Grobstein|
|13 September||Sex/gender: cultural and biological considerations||Grobstein|
|11 October||FALL BREAK (five page paper due 18 October)|
|8 November||Writing workshop; conclusions|
Draft of senior paper due
Senior presentation rehearsals
Departmental course evaluations:
|8 - 10 December||Final senior paper due|