Spring 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Speck, Christopher
Discipline and Number
LIT 3334 Section 001
TR Time 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Course Title
Literature of Science

Description of Course:

This course will introduce students to various writers — including playwrights, scientists, and doctors — who have used science as a starting point for thinking about themes familiar from other types of literature. Such themes include, for example, the search for truth and the relationship between the individual and society.

Authors may include scientists such as Francis Bacon, Galileo, and Charles Darwin; writers such as H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, and Bertolt Brecht; and recent popularizers of science such as Loren Eiseley, Stephen Jay Gould, and Carl Sagan.

As this is an upper-division course, students will be asked to read the material closely and think about it for themselves. Class participation — through either discussion or optional writing assignments — will be a major part of each student’s grade. Tests will require students to write essays in which they connect their own well-founded interpretations with essay titles given by the instructor. Preparation for both class participation and tests will require that students spend time outside of class developing insightful, precise, and accurate analyses of the readings.

Required Texts:

(The following is a list of possible books.)

Paul Austin. Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER.
Bertolt Brecht. Life of Galileo. Translated by John Willett.
Loren Eiseley. The Immense Journey.
Michael Frayn. Copenhagen.
Atul Gawande. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science.
Heinar Kipphardt. In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Translated by Ruth Speirs.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

HUMA 1301, LIT 2331, LIT 2332, or LIT 2341

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