Science & Technology in Society

Science and Technology in Society courses explore scientific and technological ideas and practices in their social and historical contexts, providing a foundation to assess their promise and perils. STS courses engage students in the practice of science, not just the study of scientific findings.

In STS courses, students  do one or more of the following: 

  • Engage in scientific methods of inquiry, such as theoretical framing, structured observation or experimentation, and quantitative analysis.
  • Examine the influence of social, economic, cultural, and political factors on science and engineering.
  • Analyze the ethical, social, and political implications of scientific and technological ideas and practices, including their potential and risks.

The following courses fulfill the Science & Technology in Society requirement 

The Science of Happiness (Gen Ed 1154)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2019

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Jason P. Mitchell

Recent research in the cognitive sciences—especially psychology, economics, and neuroscience—has begun to examine the factors that promote personal well-being and happiness. One surprising, but consistent, observation has been that many of the things that are widely believed to be crucial for our happiness—wealth, material possessions, “not missing out”, even good grades—not only fail to make many people happy but can actively undermine the sense of well-being.... Read more about The Science of Happiness (Gen Ed 1154)

Understanding Darwinism (Gen Ed 1004)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

How has our understanding of evolution evolved since Darwin?

 

Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with textScience & Technology in Society icon with text

Andrew Berry and Janet Browne

How does scientific knowledge develop, how is it shaped by history, and what effect does it have on society? An interdisciplinary exploration of Darwin's ideas and their impact on science and society, this course links the history of Darwin's ideas with the key features of modern evolutionary biology. We review the development of the main elements of the theory of evolution, highlighting the areas in which Darwin's ideas have proved remarkably robust and areas in which subsequent developments have significantly modified the theory.... Read more about Understanding Darwinism (Gen Ed 1004)

Vaccines: History, Science, Policy (Gen Ed 1175)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

Can vaccines solve the problem of infectious global pandemics?

 

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Galit Alter, Allan M. Brandt, and Ingrid Katz

Vaccination is among the oldest and most effective of medical interventions, yet paradoxically, it is also one of the most controversial. In its modern form, it has been used for centuries to prevent some of the most virulent infectious scourges of our time. Today, immunization is one of the most successful and effective interventions available to medicine and public health, reducing morbidity and mortality across the world.... Read more about Vaccines: History, Science, Policy (Gen Ed 1175)

What is Life? From Quarks to Consciousness (Gen Ed 1029)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2020


Are we — wonderful, human us — really nothing more than complex constellations of interacting atoms?

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Logan S. McCarty and Andrew Berry

This course views life through multiple lenses. Quantum physics involves uncertainty and randomness, and yet paradoxically it explains the stability of molecules, such as DNA, that encode information and are critical to life. Thermodynamics is about the universe's ever increasing disorder, and yet living systems remain ordered and intact.... Read more about What is Life? From Quarks to Consciousness (Gen Ed 1029)

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Cares? Reimagining Global Health (Gen Ed 1093)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

How can health care systems be restructured to provide high quality care even to the poorest and most vulnerable people on our planet?
 

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Arthur Kleinman, Anne Becker, and Salmaan Keshavjee

If you are sick or hurt, whether you live or die depends not only on biological factors, but social ones: who you are and where you are, what sort of healthcare system is available to help you survive, and what kind of care is available to help you recover, if society believes you deserve it. The global coronavirus pandemic illustrates with dramatic urgency the role social forces play in patterning health inequities and determining individual fates. The vulnerabilties of those most likely to get sick and die from COVID-19 stem from the ongoing effects of systemic racism on racialized subjects, the devaluation of eldercare and precarity of low-paid work under neoliberal forms of governance, and material effects of colonial-era power structures that render health care systems dangerously weak or inaccessible for many communities. Now, as ever, it is imperative to develop frameworks and methodologies to identify and to intervene effectively in harmful social configurations that cause illness and suffering.

... Read more about Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Cares? Reimagining Global Health (Gen Ed 1093)

Why Is There No Cure for Health? (Gen Ed 1079)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2022

Given all our technological advances, why are we still not able to prevent preventable diseases, provide affordable healthcare for millions of people, and deliver cures for curable diseases?

 

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David M. Cutler

Around the world, billions of dollars are spent on health care treatments, public health initiatives, and pharmaceutical research and development. So why are we still not able to prevent preventable diseases, provide affordable healthcare for millions of people, and deliver cures for curable diseases? And what are the best ways to address these issues? Because these questions are so large, we will focus our discussion around questions like: What steps should be taken to address epidemics? How should the United States reform its health care system? And how should prescription drugs be produced and sold?... Read more about Why Is There No Cure for Health? (Gen Ed 1079)

Why You Hear What You Hear: The Science of Music and Sound (Gen Ed 1106)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

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Eric Heller

Sound and music are integral parts of all human cultures, and play critical roles in communications and social interactions. In this course, we study the production, transmission, and perception of sound, with the aim of expanding communication, musical, and artistic horizons. The course includes many class demos and hands on tools for students to explore. Psychoacoustics (the study of how we perceive and interpret sound) is a central theme of the course, providing a lens through which we can better understand the generation, propagation, and analysis of sound.... Read more about Why You Hear What You Hear: The Science of Music and Sound (Gen Ed 1106)

World Health: Challenges and Opportunities (Gen Ed 1063)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2023

How do we analyze the health of global populations in a time of unprecedented crisis, and create new policies that address the social, political, economic, and environmental dimensions of health in an increasingly interdependent world?

 

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Sue Goldie

Extraordinary changes in the world present both risks and opportunities to health—unprecedented interconnections across borders, rapidly shifting global demographics, and changing patterns of diseases and injuries. This course will challenge your assumptions about the world’s populations, as you discover surprising similarities and unexpected differences between and within countries.... Read more about World Health: Challenges and Opportunities (Gen Ed 1063)

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Gen Ed Categories

Aesthetics & Culture icon
 

Aesthetics & Culture

Aesthetics & Culture courses foster critical engagement with diverse artistic and creative endeavors and traditions across history and geographical locations, helping students situate themselves and others as participants in and products of art and culture. 

In A&C courses, students do one or more of the following:

  • Explore how aesthetic objects and practices affect our senses, emotions, and thoughts, and invite our interpretations.
  • Engage directly with aesthetic objects, practices, and texts, broadly conceived, to develop students’ skills of close reading, listening, and observation and to support analysis of the production and reception of these objects in their cultural contexts.
  • Engage in critical analysis of artistic and cultural production from a variety of approaches, including art-making, hands-on, or participatory/experiential assignments.
  • Examine the roles that artistic and creative endeavors play in shaping and reshaping societies.

 

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Ethics & Civics

Ethics & Civics courses examine the dilemmas that individuals, communities, and societies face as they explore questions of virtue, justice, equity, inclusion, and the greater good. 

In E&C courses, students do one or more of the following:

  • Analyze the foundations and ramifications of diverse modes of ethical inquiry and practice.
  • Situate ideas about ethics and civic engagement in their historical, cultural, and social contexts.
  • Explore real-world ethical questions, ranging from problems in individual lives to the challenges of meeting civic responsibility at local, national, and global levels.

 

Histories, Societies, Individuals icon
 

Histories, Societies, Individuals

Histories, Societies, Individuals courses explore the dynamic relationships between individuals and larger social, economic and political structures, both historically and in the present moment. 

In HSI courses, students do one or more of the following:

  • Examine change over time to understand the historical origins of the contemporary world.
  • Analyze the interplay between individuals, groups, and larger social, economic, and political structures in the making of the modern world.
  • Compare societies across time and space to broaden students’ understandings of the complexities of global experiences.
Science & Technology in Society icon
 

Science & Technology in Society

Science & Technology in Society courses explore scientific and technological ideas and practices in their social and historical contexts, providing a foundation to assess their promise and perils. STS courses engage students in the practice of science, not just the study of scientific findings.

In STS courses, students  do one or more of the following: 

  • Engage in scientific methods of inquiry, such as theoretical framing, structured observation or experimentation, and quantitative analysis.
  • Examine the influence of social, economic, cultural, and political factors on science and engineering.
  • Analyze the ethical, social, and political implications of scientific and technological ideas and practices, including their potential and risks.

 

Courses by Semester

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