Science in Context

Are you intellectually bold and adventurous? Are you willing to rethink your current understanding of various disciplines? Is it possible that what happens in Biology is intimately connected to what happens in Economics? Or that what happens in Chemistry is linked to what happens in art? Is it possible that science is personal?

Inside the Classroom

“Science in Context” offered a unique opportunity to investigate the permeability of science and math and their boundaries.

The class studied how science and math influence other disciplines and vice-versa. What does an entire industry have to do with conception? How did a woman with no medical experience at all figure prominently in the “war on cancer?” How is it that the Director of the Human Genome Project accepted this position, in part, to show “the potential consequences for humankind’s relationship with the Creator?”

The readings and writing assignments for the course explored these seemingly unusual relationships between science and other disciplines. The academic heart of the course was an individual research project on a topic of each student's choice. The soul of the course wias the formation of a strong community of faculty and students with an interest in these topics that stretch and expand our notion of science itself, the liberal arts, and the study of science in a liberal arts frame.

Outside the Classroom

This single course offered the extraordinary opportunity to discuss these “edgy” ideas in and out of class, to explore fin-de-siècle “interdisciplinary” Vienna as a prologue to contemporary Vienna, to discover the vibrant city of Vienna as a scholar, to bring cohesiveness to “Science in Context” ideas through a research paper, and to take these ideas into the community. In particular, students traveled to Vienna, Austria to explore science in context in one of the most culturally rich cities of the world.

Research and Capstone Project

The fall semester included an opportunity to pursue sophisticated academic research related to the broad topic of the course. The spring semester offered an opportunity to take the interdisciplinary ideas of the fall into the Richmond area in the form of a community based learning project. The class as a whole created a documentary of these smaller group experiences.