This course, which has been given at another institution for the past five years, uses a seminar discussion format to examine the relationship between science and society from numerous perspectives, using examples from many fields of science, mostly biology and medicine, including the Covid-19 pandemic. We welcome undergraduates from all classes who are concentrating in any field of sciences, humanities, or the arts; there are no prerequisites, other than an interest in how the scientific enterprise works. The course addresses a wide array of topics: why do people choose a scientific career; why do governments and other funders support scientific work; how does science fail; why is there widespread skepticism about science; how is it represented in the arts; how are results disseminated, evaluated, and legally protected; and many other subjects. Assignments---mainly short articles (from newspapers and journals) and book chapters, but also a few films and novels ---will be provided for each class, and every student will undertake a term project of their own choosing, after consultations with the instructor.
Department of Biological Sciences
500 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2401
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027