250. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (SS).
Section 001 – THE DISCOVERY OF THE UNIVERSE. The purpose of this seminar is to discuss a very important topic in the history of science: the processes by which astronomers came to suspect, investigate, and then describe accurately the universe. We will begin with the work of a German musician, William Herschel, in the eighteenth century, and end with the work of a Missouri lawyer, Edwin Hubble, in the 1920s. Readings and student projects will be based on primary sources (published and manuscript) and work by historians of science. I do not expect prospective students to have a science background beyond, say, a course in high school science. This is NOT a science course; it is, instead, an opportunity for us to study the ways in which scientific knowledge advances and the human nature of scientific work. Cost:2 WL:3 (Lindner)
Section 002. CHOLERA PANDEMICS: MODEL SYSTEMS FOR EVALUATING SOCIETAL ATTITUDES. Cholera pandemics provide model systems for retrospectively correlating societal attitudes with the methods used in eventually providing a solution to a large-scale social problem. The main text will be THE CHOLERA YEARS by C.E. Rosenberg. WL:3 (Whitehouse)
Section 003 – INTEGRATION, SEGREGATION, PLURALISM, AND DIVERSITY IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICA. The highly vocal themes of ethnic pluralism and diversity in contemporary American society have drawn nearly equal numbers of supporters and detractors in recent years. On the one hand, advocates of ethnic pluralism and diversity argue that a robust American polity must come to grips with the palpable reality of ethnic diversity if the society is to exist as a genuinely inclusive democracy. On the other hand, critics of the recent "fever of ethnicity" argue that such advocacy too often degenerates into a romantic, uncritical "celebration of diversity for its own sake, without due regard for the positive aspects of support for the historic ideal of a common culture. The contending voices of this lively debate are perhaps helping lay the groundwork for a new conceptualization of this perennial conflict between "the one and the many." This seminar proposes looking, first, at the contemporary ethnic revival as one form of an "associative reaction" generated by the socio-cultural dislocations of modernity. In this view the contemporary emphasis on "ethnicity" by Americans of all racial and national backgrounds has come to function as a coping mechanism, a psychological anchor for those who feel themselves swept up in the homogenizing maelstrom of rapidly changing times. The seminar will explore this phenomenon through an intensive reading of historical and contemporary documents and source materials. The course will then extend its inquiry into the phenomenon by examining the various responses to it by such writers as Suzanne Langer, Isaiah Berlin, Peter Berger, Ali Mazrui, John Higham, Diane Ravitch, and Ralph Ellison. There will be intense critical readings and discussion, two short (five-seven pages) papers and one final paper of approximately 10-15 pages. WL:3 (B.Allen)
252. Sophomore Seminar. Open to Honors students. (3). (NS).
Section 001 – NUMBERS, REASONS, AND DATA. Scientists in a great variety of fields now spend most of their effort analyzing large collections of numbers. What drives this pervasive symbolism of "data," and how does it relate to scientific inference and discovery? This seminar will consider the different ways in which numbers are claimed to be realistic. We will see if there is anything in common, such as the notion of "precision," underlying the many disciplinary tactics for the measurement of extended systems and processes. Readings will range widely throughout the natural and social sciences. Although students need not have background in statistics or advanced math, it will be helpful to have struggled at length to measure something. THIS COURSE IS BY INVITATION ONLY. Applications available in the Honors office, 1210 Angell Hall. (Bookstein)
Section 002 – THE NATURE OF EVIDENCE IN NATURAL SCIENCE. Seminar discussions will cover some current and classical controversies in science, using examples from exhibited material in the Exhibit Museum. Aspects examined will be human interactions in the search for truth and professional stature, tests of truth and of hypotheses, reliability and independence of "evidence," and ethics, morality, and honesty in science and education. No special background is required, but an interest in scientific method is recommended. No text is required. Evaluations will be based on papers or projects selected jointly between instructor and students. (Moore)
Section 003 – THE PHYSIOLOGY OF HOST RESPONSE TO INFECTIOUS DISEASE. We live in a world surrounded by microbes, yet we are usually not ill. Why not? And, even when we are unfortunate enough to become infected, the pathogens are generally killed within a short time. What adaptations have evolved that decrease the likelihood of infection? What are the defense responses that result in minimal damage once the host is infected? What happens when the host over-reacts to a pathogen? Course objectives include providing students with a basic understanding of the physiology of host resistance to infection, opportunities to develop their skills in reading and critically analyzing scientific literature, and practice in public speaking. Prerequisite: one course in biology. WL:3 (Kluger)
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