Great Issues in Science: 8 Big Ideas that Shaped Science

HSP 124   CRN 2163
1:10 – 2:00pm
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Dr. Mark Bollman

This course will examine eight major scientific ideas, each one of which has had a revolutionary impact on a particular area of science.

  • Astronomy: Big Bang theory
  • Biochemistry: DNA structure
  • Biology: Evolution
  • Chemistry: Periodic Law
  • Computer science: Information theory
  • Geology: Plate tectonics
  • Mathematics: Non-Euclidean geometry
  • Physics: Atomic structure

In several cases, students will read the original papers that reported the discovery. Laboratory work with Geometer's Sketchpad will be used to explore the world of hyperbolic geometry.  Evaluation will be based on a sequence of short papers, a collection of laboratory reports from Sketchpad, and a substantial final project.

The reading list will include:

  • The Discoveries, Lightman
  • The Canon, Angier
  • A Well-Ordered Thing, Gordin
  • The Non-Euclidean Revolution, Trudeau
  • The Double Helix, Watson
  • The Origin Of Species, Darwin
  • The Origin Of Continents And Oceans, Wegener