Great Issues in Humanities

HSP 131     CRN 2367
10:10am – Noon
Tuesday & Thursday
Dr. Gene Cline

We focus on discourse about crucial value issues, including the meaning of life, our framing of life-and-death decisions (Who should live and who should die? Who decides? How should we talk about it?), how we talk about the "ultimate" value of human life in a world of finite resources that mandates trade-offs, whether it is better to develop a logic of comparison for answering value questions or whether it is better to insure that our values and actions simply "fit" our reflectively acceptable lives, and the like.  Students are encouraged to develop their own philosophy of valuation, comparison, or action on topics of our mutual choosing. The professor is expected to be open to related topics from each student's areas of interest.

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

More Articles ...