Science and Society
Fall 2022
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Days of the Week: 
4:10pm - 6:40pm
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Course Description: 

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.

Business Office

Department of Biological Sciences
500 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2401
Columbia University
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Academic Office

Department of Biological Sciences
600 Fairchild Center
Mail Code 2402
Columbia University
1212 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
[email protected]
212 854-4581