Scientific Reasoning and Communication

Instructor: 
Alexander Stewart
Meeting Days/Times: 
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.

For the first time in human history, we are living in a world immersed in scientific communication.  More and more information (in all media) is based on science—from natural and human disasters and climate to deciding on your first home and a bottled water of choice.  In order to be a well-informed citizen, you should be competent in critically and scientifically examining information (and disinformation) that is pouring through these media (e.g., radio, TV, internet).  In this seminar, we will develop your scientific reasoning and communications skills, which will make you a critical, quantitative thinker.  The best way to turn your qualitative, interpretative and subjective mind into a science mind is to practice thinking, speaking and writing like a scientist—quantitatively (with numbers), descriptively (the what, not how) and objectively (without bias).  For example, you will stop seeing a cue ball; instead, you will see a white (#FFFFFF) sphere of phenol formaldehyde resin, 57.15 (±0.127) millimeters in diameter, weighing 158 (±2) grams!  With this foundation, you will hold the key to unlocking scientific rhetoric.  In this FYS, we will use physical science examples (i.e., geology, biology, chemistry and physics) during lectures, which are supported by practical exercises, on-campus field excursions and reading/writing/research exercises to begin developing a science-adept brain.