Science to the People! DIY Science & Society

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FIG 46
Jessica Lehman
Science to the People! DIY Science & Society
Lecture 1, 9:30–10:45 TR
Philosophy and the Sciences
Lecture 1, 1:00–2:15 TR; Discussion 302, 9:55–10:45 M
General Chemistry I
Lecture 3, 3:30–4:20 MWF; Discussion 353, 3:30–4:20 TR; Lab 653, 7:45–10:45 W

Science & Technology Studies 201: “Science to the People! DIY Science & Society” investigates the intersection between society and “science from below,” or “non-expert” science. These efforts include the DIY Science movement, and citizen-driven science that is designed to serve social and environmental justice concerns.

The course spends the first few weeks on some basic questions drawn from Science and Technology Studies, environmental justice, and related fields:

  • Why would we want science from below?
  • What are the power structures of science?
  • Who does it serve and who should it serve?
  • What is “good” science?
  • How do we define scientific expertise, and who gets to claim it?

The course then asks these questions in relation to a variety of contemporary and historical case studies, which could include indigenous perspectives on science, citizen pollution sensing (for example in Flint, Michigan), local climate knowledge, and patient-driven medical research (such as early AIDS activism). The final group project will ask students to consider the potential role of experts in science from below by developing a hypothetical research proposal that responds to an existing issue of interest to non-experts and considers their own potential role in addressing it.

Philosophy 220: “Philosophy and the Sciences” — This is a first course in the philosophy of science, aimed at undergraduates who are interested in science. The emphasis will be on understanding the logic of scientific reasoning. Students will learn the ABCs of deductive logic and probability reasoning, and will learn how to apply these to various central questions in philosophy of science, such as: How are causation and correlation different? What distinguishes science from pseudo-science, religion, and technology? What is a scientific explanation, and what makes one explanation better than another? How do moral issues arise in scientific research and how are they related to the question of whether a theory should be accepted? Philosophical consequences of scientific theories may also be discussed.

Chemistry 103: “General Chemistry I” — Introduction to stoichiometry and the mole concept; the behavior of gases, liquids, and solids; thermochemistry; electronic structure of atoms and chemical bonding; descriptive chemistry of selected elements and compounds; and intermolecular forces.