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IDS 200H - Scientific Thought and Data Analysis, Honors (Spring D 2018)

 Terry Thompson

Terry Thompson

Professor of Biological Science
410-572-8722
Department:
Mathematics and Science
Building:
Henson Hall
Room Number:
HH 205
Course Description:
This course explores and applies the methods of modern science in the context of the cultural issues that define the present day workings and future of human beings. It focuses on modern science as a powerful and often controlling societal force, as seen through its influence in politics, business, health, industry and technology. The primary focus of this course is the seminar discussion of readings and theory. To support the connection between theory and practice, a portion of the course each week is devoted to experimentation and data analysis. This course is one of two core courses in the honors program and is required for honors program graduates. Hours: 39 lecture and 1 field trip. Prerequisites: Honors program eligibility and MTH 092 or an acceptable mathematics placement test score. Materials fee: $40. Usually offered in the spring.

What Makes This an Honors Course?

What is the process that goes on in a scientist’s mind as they try to understand how life, the universe and everything works (apologies to Douglas Adams)? What is the link between creative and critical thinking in solving problems? What is the role of mathematics and metaphor in science? Can you guess already that asking questions will be an important part of this class?

In this honors class, we will explore together the history and foundation of science as well as the interaction of scientific literacy with social and ethical issues. We will be doing this by reading the scientists’ own words in classical original source references, including Aristotle and Einstein. Then by discussing, reflecting, and writing about the ideas and the scientific process, each student will develop their own critical thinking skills. This approach will involve independent study and inter-dependent exploration.

Within this framework, students will also explore topics of personal interest to share with the class. In addition to oral presentations, students will conduct peer-reviews of scientific analysis essays. In this way, beyond the original reading list, together we can explore life on all scales, from the Higgs particle to the edge of the universe, and from the perspective of multiple scientific disciplines.

Are you ready to challenge yourself to think deeply about the study of life and take a journey together? Welcome to IDS 200H.

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