News at Princeton

Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014
 

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'Council on Science and Technology'



At the intersection of Princeton's roles as a research institution and a liberal arts college, the Council on Science and Technology promotes the development of courses in science and engineering for students concentrating in humanities and the social sciences, so that they are scientifically literate citizens able to assess the technological and scientific issues of the day. Read more.


Video Closed Captions


BONNIE BASSLER: The council
is made up of nine faculty

members, and we span the
sciences, math, and

engineering, and also
the humanities.

Our job is to make sure that
every Princeton undergraduate,

who's going to major in
humanities or social science,

comes out loving science, taking
science, and being able

to engage in science.

We help revamp existing
courses.

We help make 21st century
courses that will make

students, graduates--

no matter what they're going to
be-- to be able to engage

in science, and use scientific
thinking in

all of their lives.

We believe if a person is going
to be a lawyer, or a

physician, or a judge, or an
entrepreneur, he or she should

be to think logically,
and rigorously, and

quantitatively, and use that in
their daily lives and then

also as they engage
with the world.


GASPAR BAKOS: Regardng the
learning experience in this

course, I give lectures.

We have clickers, in the course,
and every five minutes

there's a question that
they have to answer.

And they really like it.

And most of the time I ask
questions where they don't

know the answer in advance.

This is about just forming
an opinion on something.

And I wait, I look
at the answers.

I immediately have an
idea of how far

they're off from reality.

And then I explain.

And then what I found is that
they remember these things

much better than just random
facts that I told them.

Because they already had an
opinion, so, A, they were

completely wrong, and
they remember that.

Or they were right, and they
say, well, that was good.

CODY O'NEIL: To students that
may be apprehensive about

taking science courses at
Princeton, I think one of the

greatest things about them is
that you're able to carry that

knowledge over into your other
pursuits, particularly in the

humanities.

The courses themselves are
crafted in order for you to

develop a lens.

For instance, for me a cosmic
lens and perspective with

which to be able to see and
better understand the world in

which I'm studying in my
other disciplines.

GASPAR BAKOS: I hope students
will take this course to

become better citizens because
they understand critical

thinking from this course.

And if they have to make a
decision, they will think

instead of act right away.

They will try to find the causes
and the reasoning, so

they will develop this
critical thinking.

BONNIE BASSLER: We're glad to
take ideas for new classes, or

new parts of classes, from
anyone on campus.

And that means faculty in any

department, students, post-docs.

What we want to do is to help
people make their ideas for

what would be a class that would
sit at the interface of

science, math, or engineering,
and society, or policy, or

art, or music.

A class that would sit at these
interfaces that has no

prerequisites.

We would be glad to help
make that come true.


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