BIOCH 399 - Honors Seminar: Science in Society

Because biochemistry is, by its nature, highly interdisciplinary, a biochemistry honors class is a good forum for undertaking an overview of natural science, at the level of reading about science rather than studying science directly in the usual way.

The class is for incoming honors students in any and all majors or areas of interest. It is, then, as much for an English major as for a physics or engineering major.

In the class, we will read, discuss and write about the idea of race, about evolution, about the methods (both technical and personal) used by Watson and Crick in determining the three-dimensional structure of DNA.

The class requirements focus on writing. There will be several relatively short reports or essays during the semester, but the major requirement is a term paper, to be written in two versions, the second of which will follow extensive evaluation and suggestion by classmates and instructor. There will be no exams, so a great deal of effort is expected of each student on the term paper.

We will have 4 required texts. These books were not requested to be ordered by our bookstore, so please purchase them online. (Used books are fine and are often available quite inexpensively online, especially as paperbacks.) Many of these books are available in several editions. Please purchase the one uniquely indicated by the ISBN. In addition the instructor may suggest numerous other books across a wide range of subjects.

Required texts:

The Double Helix by James Watson. Norton Critical Edition, paperback, Gunther Stent, editor. ISBN 0393950751

The Race Myth by Joseph Graves. ISBN 0452286581

The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin. Penguin Classic paperback edition, introduction by Michael Neve. ISBN 014043268X

The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould. W.W. Norton and Co., paperback, revised and expanded edition (1966). ISBN 0393314251