C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures, 1959If the natural sciences can be successfully united with the social sciences and the humanities, the liberal arts in higher education will be revitalized ... The future of the liberal arts lies ... in addressing the fundamental questions of human existence head on, without embarrassment or fear, taking them from the top down in easily understandable language, and progressively rearranging them into domains of inquiry that unite the best of science and the humanities at each level of organization in turn.
E.O. Wilson, Consilience, 1998
My personal view of science for many years was, well, summed up with one word, "Yuck!"; in primary school it was undistinguishable from the morass of general information we learned from uninspiring textbooks and well-meaning, but insipid teachers. Middle school was worse: sterile classrooms in which science was lectured at us, and labs were limited to teacher demonstrations with very little student-centered learning ... Along with college pretty much came the exit of science from my life.
High School Teacher, 2000
We want to give our students the tools they need to be political actors in the world. Failing to teach them that, we are failing the traditional political mission of women's studies programs ... Contextualizing science is also essential for our science majors, failing to address ethical issues raised by the practice of science is to fail as science educators. Social questions are not just "hooks" to "real science", but rather deeply inform the way science is done".
A Conversation About Gender and Science, 2002
At the beginning of the term, I resisted the "cube of applied logic," secretly favoring the multi-colored "sphere of intuitive knowledge." ... The bold colors of logic and critical thinking suggested limitation, and a lack of mental "freedom." Reasoning represented an often cumbersome, painful process requiring patience and discipline. However ... Gradually I found that the exploration of various models of thinking could be interesting and even exciting. I discovered that intuitive thinkers like myself need not fear theoretical models of applied logic. Theoretical models are simply different glasses through which to observe and interpret the world. While I have been busy learning to "think" in new ways, it seems that I have been revising my attitude towards thinking, as well. I have learned that exploring new models or frameworks encourages a certain fluidity of thinking and keeps the mind reaching for new understandings.
Freshman Bryn Mawr student, 2001
The last thing in my life which inspired me was love. So perhaps by learning about it I could somehow rekindle that inspiration ... The first thing that emerged was my training as a chemist ... I was going to define system at question and then study it. My advisor ... called this "intellectual schizophrenia". I definitely had two sides to my inquiries. One had to do with what I thought was proper science, the inquiry concerned with the "right" answer. That is, anything a scientist sayts should be possible to rephrase as a summary of well-defined observations. The other part of me was concerned with concepts that mattered to me. These were abstract concepts such as love and philosophy. What I had to do for the first time in my life is to try to put the two together.
Senior Bryn Mawr chemistry student, 2001
|"--- you don't reach Serendib by plotting a course for it. You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings ... serendipitously." (John Barth, The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor)|
I'm going to spend less time worrying about whether other people think I'm doing my job right, and more time thinking. And I'm going to tell my students that that's what they should be doing too, whether or not they or anybody else think that's what I'm supposed to be telling them. And I'm going to tell my kids to stop trying to get everything right on their worksheets, and instead every once in a while to try something different, to do something differently, just for the hell of it and to see what happens.
Paul Grobstein, 1991
Biology 103 syllabus, 1993
Science and life are both processes not of becoming "right" but rather of becoming "less wrong." Briefly discuss why this is an important distinction, and illustrate it using whatever concrete "less wrong" understanding about biology you acquired and were most impressed by during this semester.
Biology 101 final examination question, 1993
Teach science as the open-ended, enjoyable process it is (should be)
Teach science in terms of the exploratory inclinations
No assigned textbook ... recommended readings/web resources
No examinations ... web papers as both engagement and assessment