Dr Ellen Moody. My homepage address: http://www.jimandellen.org/ellen/emhome.htm; for Course Materials, go to http://www.jimandellen.org/gmuhom e/emcourse.htm My preferred email address is: Ellen2@JimandEllen.org.
This is an advanced writing course. In some ways it may remind you of the introductory college freshmen writing course you took a few semesters ago. We will talk about how to write plainly and clearly, about how to construct arguments, how to synthesize materials to compose a research paper, about punctuation, documentation -- in short, about everything we can think of having to do with writing essays; and we will read and discuss full-length books as well as shorter stories and essays.
The course will, however, differ from the introductory course in that you will be asked to use these skills to read writing by scientists and about sciences and their applied technologies. Since there is no science prerequisite for this course, our perspective and discussions cannot be specialized or narrowly-focused on any single science or group of sciences, even if a fairly large number of students in the class are majoring in the same area of science. The background knowledge assumed is that of the typical generally-educated reader who has attained Junior status in a senior college.
You are required to write three essays outside class; to write book and film reviews in class (in lieu of a mid-term and final); to give one short talk (in class); and to offer a brief presentation of your research in progress before the research paper is due. There will be a take-home test. There will be no quizzes and no closed book exams.
Writing About How a Machine or Scientific Process Works or About the Composition of a Objects which has been designed and built (or created) by people. The basic aim of the science essay is often explanation, and the basis of good scientific writing an ability to use scientific and technical or complicated English in ways that a reader can understand. So the first of our essays is an exercise in which you use technical language and/or scientific concepts in order to explain something in a clear and engaging manner. Here are some suggestions for suitable topics:
How an airplane flies; or why a building doesn't fall down (you can use any kind of building); or how some aspect of the Internet works or how to use a computer; or how any of the following work: a radio or TV or car or roller coaster or ferris wheel or bicycle or vaccuum cleaner or coffee-maker or microwave oven or zipper or other household or personal appliance (e.g., eyeglasses, hearing aids, a wheelchair, food-processor, thermometer, doorknob). Then there are fax machines, xerox machines, elevators, subway systems, the internal combustion engine and sewing machines. You can explain objects which need man at the helm to operate them, like sailboats or cranes, because to make these work the individual using them has to have mechanical and scientific knowledge of nature.
The sort of object or process you are to choose is something which is man-made or depends on knowledge, manipulation, or transformations of nature which are done by people. It can therefore also be an object that is the result of a mechanical, chemical or other artificial process initiated by man (e.g., glass or steel).
You can also describe the process by which the object has been made or its history. If you are a humanities or social science major or would prefer to try something less technically-rooted, you can also explain processes which use things which occur in nature and which we use with little transformation by man. Cooking is not only an art; it is based on knowledge of nature. How did people learn to brew beer? What's wine? There's an important history behind the invention and use of ropes; there's an equally revealing history behind the invention of uses of ice or cloth.
And remember a machine or man-made object need not be made of metal or plastic, and it can be used for aesthetic pleasure or emotional uplift: you can explain how any musical instrument works or the history of how it comes to take the form it does. A ballet-shoe is a man-made object which enables women to dance on the edge of their toes. Furniture and toys may be included.
Your object need not be something technologically sophisticated; it can be a light-bulb or a pencil or a fountain pen. You can look at obsolete or older inventions: the windmill or a medieval knight's armor; you can go to the beginning of the industrial revolution for objects like the spinning jenny You can explain the process whereby a book is made or history of book-making.
You can also explain intellectual inventions like calendars.
You can write this satirically. Pretend you are a person from a community with no knowledge or experience of such objects and use your description to criticize the society which uses such objects. You can write this personally: tell how you or other members of your household or school use the object. In all cases, you should have a thesis-statement and a context. You should in the essay include the reason why your reader ought to know how your machine or process works. You don't want your reader to be asking him or herself, 'why should I read this?'.
To those who are saying to themselves, 'I'm not a scientist, I don't know the first thing about how things work. I turn the key in my car and it goes, period', I say, come in at the level that is natural to you and that will be natural to a college-level reader.
Remember clarity is a special concern in the natural sciences and technical writing. Your aim is to transmit technical information accurately and in a way that the reader will understand sufficiently to be able to use what he reads. The intent here is to practice using language which is jargon-free and analogies which actually help readers to visualize and explain something.
It is suggested you do some minimal research, and, therefore, you must document your sources and all verbatim quotations or paraphrases. We will review documentation before this essay is due. You may of course do research, but if you do please make sure your source is reliable and respected e.g., the Encyclopedia Britannica or a specialized encyclopedia in the relevant field is a wonderful source, but junk like World Book , Colliers, are not acceptable. If you take information from the World Wide Web or an e-mail group of any kind, be prepared to verify the expertise of the person whose e- mail you are quoting or the respectability of the host of the website whose information you are relying upon. Length: minimum 3-5 double-spaced typed pages.
Observing Nature. To be a good scientist you must learn to observe accurately and with as little bias as possible; the conveying of information based on such observation is another basic aim of writing in the natural sciences. Thus our second essay.
You are given the choice of writing about how an animal, or a plant, or some species of natural phenomena behaves. The idea of this essay is to describe nature in an objective and unbiased way, to say in words what it is one observes, and in so doing to explain something which occurs in the natural world without any man-made intervention or transformation.
Suggestions: you might try to develop or confirm a hypothesis about an animal or plant. Here what you do is research patterns of birth or development and watch their strategies for survival, for, obtaining food, for sleep, for creating an environment for themselves, for mating, for interactions with one another. The reason it's good to start with a hypothesis is it can help you decide what to to look for as you watch and, if you like, questions for further research.
The same remarks about clarity, research and length that apply to Essay #1 apply to Essay #2.
The Science of Medicine. Our last book by Ofri and 5 of the essays in Sacks's anthology are on the science of medicine as it is really experienced or exploited in our society. The goal here is to go into -- with as much depth as we can -- a single area of science which is today a huge industry in our society employing and affecting all people, not just the scientifically-, and technically-educated. I ask you to write our one required research essay about how a specific illness, or problem someone has which is treated medically, is experienced in our society, from both the viewpoints of the patient (or customer) and the physician (or anyone who practices some form of medicine). This will require that you understand the illness or condition the individual has, how it relates to what we define as health, its aetiology, and the treatments that are offered to help the individual cope or get better. Here are the options:
This is to be a researched essay, but you are also encourged to use personal experiences. Length: minimum 3-5 double-spaced typed pages.
Four good sources are required. I ask that one of them be a book or essay from a reputable journal which you find in the library.
You can also use as one of your sources an expert (a medically-educated professonal) or individual who have had the illness you are writing about. The point is not to do original research (which you probably do not begin to have time for), but to learn to find and to integrate respectable researched materials into a cogent argument.
The Annotated Bibliography: As part of the researched essay, you will be asked to hand in an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography provides short summaries and evaluations of the books and essays used in a research paper. The skill of synopsis will be reviewed. Models will be provided.
An Abstract: You will also be asked to hand in an abstract of your own essay. We will in class learn to and practice the art of writing abstracts, of summarising, paraphrasing, and writing synopses.
Talk is primary and writing secondary. I believe everyone can learn to write more clearly and enjoy writing more if he or she would only learn to talk on paper, to use the real language he or she might use in the classroom or any other natural situation which demands a certain coherence. Much of the advice you will find in John Trimble's Writing With Style is based on this belief. Most science and technical manuals advise the teacher to schedule short talks on topics taken from scientific issues or subject matter. A technical writer must learn to think of his material as something he is really communicating to someone else. The success of the communication of a technical writer is measured not only by how the reader or listener receives it, but by whether the reader or listener truly understands and can make use of what the technically-educated people say or write.
Thus, each student will be asked to prepare a coherent ten to fifteen minute talk for classroom presentation on the readings from one of the four books which is due the day he or she is scheduled to talk upon. The talks will begin the third week of the semester. Fundamentally what you must do is invent a clear instrumental thesis-statement and develop it coherently and concretely.
The whole class will listen and try to respond; their response will tell the student whether he or she has made him or herself clear; the ensuing dialogue and the student's own later thoughts about either what happened when he or she or another student talked will (it is hoped) teach everyone something about the basis of writing -- again, clear thinking in clear language which comes naturally to the speaker-writer.
Each student is asked to hand in an outline or cards (hand-written or typed) which he or she used to talk from, and I will return this material with the grade for the talk in the following session. I have provided a model in the form of a typed-out transcript of the talk one student gave on "Richard Feynman's Definition of a Good Experiment".
Analysing Science Writing and Film. You will be asked to write book and film reviews in class in lieu of a closed book midterm and final. If you become a successful professional in any field, you may find yourself asked to review books, articles and films. The mode will be "open book:" you can bring any books, notes and a good draft to copy out if you like.
Together with the take-home exam on Trimble, the first book review you are asked to write takes the place of a midterm exam. It is to be on both Feynman books when we finish reading them and is to be written in class. It will include questions on the four essays in the Sacks's volume we will have read by that time.
The other two book reviews, one film review, and a group of further questions on the essays in Sacks's Best Science Writing 2003 take the place of a final exam. The film review is to be on one choice taken from the following films: 1) Last Journey of a Genius; 2) Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude; 3) In Search of the First Language; 4) David Attenborough's 1979 Life on Earth: A Natural History; or 5) Wit.
Reviews follow a conventionalized format, which we will learn about. Here is an outline for a good book review:
It is difficult to educate the general public about the natural sciences and applied technology. One way to do it is through film. We will discuss the difficulties of translating science as a topic into moving pictures and what are the means used by film-makers to overcome the technical problems as well as the problem of attracting audiences not well-educated in science. We will also discuss how a film review usually includes some or all of the following points:
The reviews and questions on Trimble (see directly below) and Sacks are intended to test whether you read all the books with care, watched the films with attention, and to reward those who attended class and listened to the short talks. They will provide practice on how to select, elaborate upon and judge books and films.
I will hand out a 10 question short answer test on John Trimble's Writing With Style. The answers required will not be a single word, but you should not have to write more than a short paragraph to answer each. I will hand it out shortly before the first book review is due. You write the answers at home and bring them in to class on the day of the midterm exam.
Assumptions behind this course : I think that 1) something is to be gained by coming to class, and that we all can learn a great deal from one another; 2) good writing can be discussed in simple words, and exemplified, learned, practiced, and improved through imitation of models; 3) people who write well are often people who read a lot; and 4) the only way to improve one's writing is by much practice over a long period of time; so:
By the end of the term there should be six major grades for each student on my roster. These I will average together to form the final grade. I should have five major grades: three for the three essays, one for the short talk, one for the midterm (an average of the take-home test on Trimble, a book review of the two Feynman books and short-answer questions on essays in Sacks's anthology), and one for the final (an average of two book reviews, one of Olson and one of Ofri, more questions on essays in Sacks's volume, and a film review). I also give minor grades for the plans; they tell me how much thought and work you are putting into the paper; if you are working on it; they substitute for diaries; at the end of the term, I will factor them in as "class work" with any in-class writing we do (for which you get a check), and this becomes your sixth grade.
The short talk is due on the day set; if you miss an in-class writing, you must make it up at home (but it must be printed out, not hand-written); if your essay is late, the grade will be pulled down one element for every session, it is late. You must give your talk on the day cited on the short talk schedule so as to ensure only one person will talk on a given day. If you do not give your talk, you must take an F and that will be factored into your final grade.
For the final grade for the course also I take into account 1) your attendance record; 2) your plans and participation in class; and 3) if you came for help if you needed it in planning the essay, thinking up a perspective; organizing and revising it. I have no way of producing a number or letter grade for this; rather if you have come to class, participated, done the reading, worked hard on the papers, I will give you the benefit of the doubt if your average for the six grades comes in either above or below a specific grade. A teacher can tell when an essay or short talks is done with care, is something really thought about, something for which a genuine self-educational effort was made. I respect serious hard work and reward it when I see it. I will reward someone whose writing improves. In my courses, process and product count.
DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Plagiarism is defined by the GMU English Department as follows:
'"Plagiarism means using words, opinions, or factual information from another person without giving that person credit. Writers give credit through accepted documentation styles, such as parenthetical citation, footnotes, or end notes; a simple listing of books and articles consulted is not sufficient."
If I discover you have plagiarised, I will follow the guidelines of the English department which require that I fail or report you to the Chair of my Department. I am serious about this.
Without an appointment:
Write to me by e-mail. My strongly preferred address is Ellen2@JimandEllen.org Please do not write to me at email@example.com. I rarely look at that address and cannot take attachments through it. You can write me 24 hours a day at Ellen2@JimandEllen.org; I look at my mail at least twice a day, and I write back. Be sure to type the e-mail address to which you wish me to send my reply at the end of your message. Please feel free to write me. I will provide thorough commentary on any drafts of essays that you send me through my e-mail addresses.
You can call the phone in the office I use (703-993-1171) or leave a message in my box in the English Office, which is in Robinson Hall on the fourth floor. My office is Robinson A455. I have no voice mail, and there is no way you can fax me. Remember that I am scheduled to be on campus only on Tuesdays and Thursdays; the secretaries will not call me and simply put notes in my box. Also, leaving essays in my box is a chancy business because materials get lost this way: no-one stands guard over the boxes. If you send an essay through an attachment, it doesn't always come through. The surest speediest way to get a late essay to me is still to bring it to the next class and give it to me warm hand to warm hand.
With an appointment:
Private conferences are available by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursday, 1:20 to 2:50 pm, Robinson A455. Sign up on the stenography pad which will be placed on the corner of my desk every time the class meets.
The College of Arts and Sciences runs a University Writing Center where you will find tutors to help you with writing. Their phone number is 703-993-1200. Here is a description of the place and its services:
"The George Mason University Writing Center is a writing resource open to the entire university community, offering free tutoring in a comfortable, supportive atmosphere. During face-to-face and online sessions, trained graduate and undergraduate tutors form a variety of disciplines assist writers at all stage of the writing process. Tutors emphasize positive attitudes and stratgies that help writers at any level learn to evaluate and revise their work in order to be more confident and effective writers."
To find out more and to start to use the services offered, go to http://writingcenter.gmu.edu.
In Class: Course introduction: explanation of syllabus. Short talks and Essay #1 explained. The class will watch Ralph Leighton's The Last Journey of a Genius.
For second session of the week, go to my homepage (see above for URL), hit "Teaching", then print out, read and bring to class "The Great American Scream Machine" and "The Golden Gate Bridge" and From Dictaphone to Disc, and a typed-out transcript of the short talk one student gave on "Richard Feynman's Definition of a Good Experiment".
For second session and next week, read Trimble, Writing with Style , Chs 1-8; Richard Feynman, Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! , Part One (pp 1-97), and What Do YOU Care What Other People Think?, pp 1-59 (Preface through "It's As Simple as One, Two Three").
For Tues, Feb 1st, be prepared to be assigned one talk for the term from one of the five books (see Short Talk schedules for choices and dates); bring Sacks's Best Science Writing 2003 with you as well as 2 Feynmans and Trimble.
In Class: Short Talks Given Out. We'll discuss Trimble: What is a Thesis; Line of Argument; Openers; Middles; Closers. How to Write and Fill a Paragraph; What is a Paragraph; How to Link Them. Go over student models. In-Class Describing a Machine. We'll discuss what is science writing. I'll introduce Mr Feynman.
Outside Class: Read for next week Richard Feynman, Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! , Parts Two and Three (pp 98-163) and Part Four (pp. 165-74, "The Dignified Professor", 199-219, "O Americano, Outra Vez!" and 232-36,"An Offer You Must Refuse"), What Do YOU Care What Other People Think?, the rest of Part One (pp. 63-113). Plan for #1 is due on Tues, Feb 8th.
In Class: PLAN FOR #1 DUE for Tuesday session.
Tues, 2/8: Short Talk 1: RFeynman, boy and young man: The Qualities that Make up the Good Scientist (SYJ, Parts 1 & 2, WDYC, Chapter 1); Short talk 2: RFeynman's criticisms of abuses of authority particularly at Los Alamos (i.e., his stories about counterproductive uses of secrecy), but you may include stories exemplifying this theme from elsewhere in the book thus far (so from SYJ, Parts 2 & 3, especially "Los Alamos from Below" and "Safecracker Meets Safecracker").
Thurs, 2/10: Short Talk 3: RFeynman's ideas on what is real scientific learning: what ought to go on in a classroom, be in a book &c (e.g.,"O Americano Outre Vez" and "Judging Books by Their Covers" in SYJ and relevant Letters in WDYC).
Outside class: Read for next week: Feynman, SYJ, Part Five (pp. 164-346); Sacks's "Introduction" to Best Science Writing 2003, Brendon I. Koerner's "Disorders Made to Order" (pp. 194-203), Joseph D'Agnese's "An Embarrassment of Chimpanzees", Leonard Cassuto's "Big Trouble in the World of 'Big Physics" (pp. 228-37) and Richard C. Lewontin and Richard Levins's "Stephen Jay Gould: What Does It Mean to be a Radical?" (pp. 237-249). You should be working on Essay #1. Essay #1 is due Thurs Feb 24th.
Tues, 2/15: Short Talk 4: RFeynman's Adventures in Areas Outside Physics: Biology, Psychology, Art, Music and Anthropology ("A Map of the Cat", Always Trying to Escape", "But Is It Art?"; "O Americano Outra Vez!," "Bringing Culture to the Physicists", "Found Out in Paris", "Altered States" in SYJ, and "It's as Simple as One, Two, Three " and relevant "Letters" in WDYC): Short Talk 5: Exploitation and Casualties in Science (From Best Science Writing Brendon I. Koerner's "Disorders Made to Order," pp. 194-203, Jospeh D'Agnese's "An Embarrassment of Chimpanzees", pp. 204-212). Bibliography and style sessions this and next time.
Thurs, 2/17: Short Talk 6: Phony Science and Science with Integrity (from Best Science Writing Leonard Cassuto's "Big Trouble in the World of 'Big Physics," pp. 228-37, and Richard C. Lewontin and Richard Levins's "Stephen Jay Gould: What Does It Mean to be a Radical?," pp. 237-249).
Outside Class: Read for next week, WDYC, Part Two (pp. 113-254). Essay #1 is due. Read the rest of Trimble (Chs 9-13).
In Class: ESSAY #1 is DUE for Thursday session.
Tues, 2/22: Short Talk 7: Mr Feynman Goes to Washington: Why some NASA officials are driven to delude themselves and mislead the public ("Mr Feynman Goes to Washington" and "Appendix F" in WDYC); Short Talk 8: A World of Pseudo- and Corrupt Science and the Value of Science (Feynman's "Cargo Cult Learning" and "The Value of Science."
Thurs, 2/24: I will hand out the take-home test on Trimble. The class watches Peter Jones and David R. Axelrod's Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude.
Outside Class: For Tues, 3/1 print out, read and bring to class student models for the book review, one on Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle and Mark Ridley's Darwin Reader and the other on the two Feynman books, and the on-line popular book review by Michael Swaine, and the student models for Essay #2, "Some Observations on the Orangutans," "The White-Tailed Deer", "The California Sea- Lion.", and "Deserts, Wind, and Water". On Thurs, 3/3 we'll have our midterm; also read for Thurs, Olson's Mapping Human History, "Introduction" ("The Human Pageant," pp. 1-7)
Tues, 3/1: How to write a book review; we will go over and I'll assign Essay #2 from the models. A brief review of Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection.
Thurs, 3/3: In class midterm. A Book Review of Feynman's Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! and What Do YOU Care What Other People Think?. Last 15 minutes: Introduction to Olson's Mapping Human History: How study of the genetic composition of people today (DNA in genes, mitochondrial DNA, nucleotide sequences, blood types, haplotypes, haplogroups) demonstrates the origin of homo sapiens in Northeastern Africa; the unity of humankind, and, together with the affinity of languages, enables us to study the migrations of peoples over the earth, and the interaction of their mutations and adaptations to local climates and geological/geographical change.
Outside Class: Prepare plan for project you want to do for Essay #2. Also read Olson, Mapping Human History Parts 1-2, and into 3, Chs 2-7 ("The End of Evolution" through "The Great Migration," pp. 11-135).
Tues, 3/8: Short Talk 9: Olson: "The End of Evolution" and "Individuals and Groups" (pp. 11-53)); Short Talk 10: Olson: "The African Diaspora" and "Encounters with the Other" (pp. 53-89).
Thurs, 3/10: Short Talk 11: Olson: "Agriculture, Civilization and the Emergence of Ethnicity" and "The Great Migration" (pp. 90-105, 124-36). The class watches In Search of a First Language.
Outside Class: Get started on or do your project for Essay #2. Read for Week 8 from Sacks, Best American Science Writing, Peter Canby, "The Forest Primeval" (pp. 1- 26) and Michelle Nijhuis, "Shadow Creatures" (pp. 123-31); Trevor Corson, "Stalking the American Lobster," pp. 138-159 and Lawrence Osborne's "Got Silk," pp. 186-93; Olson, Part 3, Chs 8 -11 ("Sprung from a Commun Source" through "The Settlement of the Americas," pp. 137- 207). Essay #2 is due Tues, Mar 29th.
In Class: PLAN FOR #2 DUE for Tuesday session.
Tues, 3/22: The class finishes In Search of a First Language Short Talk 12: "Creatures and Their Earth" (from Best Science Writing Peter Canby, "The Forest Primeval" (pp. 1-26) and Michelle Nijhuis, "Shadow Creatures" (pp. 123-31).
Thurs, 3/24: Short Talk 13: Nature and Capitalism (from Best Science Writing Trevor Corson, "Stalking the American Lobster," pp. 138-159; and Lawrence Osborne's "Got Silk," pp. 186-93); Short Talk 14: "Who are the Europeans" and "The Settlement of the Americas" (pp. 158-74, 194-207).
Outside Class: Essay #2 is due. For Week 9 also finish Olson, MHH, Pts 5-6, Chs 12-13 ("The Burden of Knowledge" through "The End of Race" (pp. 208-38); and read, print out, and bring to class and models for Essay #3: "Improving Life with Arthritis"; "The Real Afteraffects of Abortion"; "Ritalin and ADHD"; "Unraveling the Mystery"; and "Cesarean Childbirth: A Modern Convenience?"; also Instructions for writing an abstract.
Tues, 3/29: We will go over student models for research essay. We will discuss how to write an abstract and how to write an annotated bibliography. Introducing Ofri's journey and the topic of medicine as a subculture in our society. Some temporary summing up of Olson. The class may watch an excerpt from David Attenborough's 1979 Life on Earth: A Natural History
Thurs, 3/31: The class watches as much of Wit as time permits.
Outside Class: Read from Sacks's Best Science Writing, Charles C. Mann's "1491" (pp. 26-48), Atul Gawande, "The Learning Curve," pp. 49-67 and Danielle Ofri, "Common Ground," pp. 213-222; read from Ofri, Singular Intimacies, Prologue, Chs 1-2 ("Possessing Her Words" through "AA Battery", pp. 1-32). .
Tues, 4/5: Finish Wit. Short Talk 15: What is the Doctor's Responsibility to the Patient? (from Sacks's Best Science Writing Atul Gawande, "The Learning Curve," pp. 49-67 and Danielle Ofri, "Common Ground," pp. 213-222).
Thurs, 4/7: Short Talk 16: The Politics of Finding New Information (from Best Science Writing, Charles C. Mann's "1491" and from Olson's MHH, "The Burden of Knowledge" (Ch 12, pp. 208-20). Short Talk 17: The Reality of Patients as opposed to Idealized Accounts" (SI, Prologue, Chs 1-2, "Possessing Her Words" through "AA Battery", pp. 1-32)
Outside Class: Print out and do Practice 1 for the Abstract and bring to class; read Edson's Wit; and Ofri's Singular Intimacies, Chapters 3-6 ("Stuck" through "The Burden of Knowledge," pp. 32-112).
In Class: ESSAY #2 IS DUE for the Tuesday session.
Tues, 4/12: Short Talk 18: The Abuse of Vivien Bearing (from Wit, screenplay and film). Discussion of stageplay and film. Go over Practice 1.
Thurs, 4/14: Short Talk 19: Doctor and Patient Interactions (Ofri, Chs 3-5, "Stuck," "Change of Heart," "July 1st," pp. 33-88); Short Talk 20: When Knowledge Doesn't Help (Ofri, Chs 6-7, "The Professor of Denial" and "The Burden of Knowledge," pp. 89-112)
Outside Class: Print out and do Practice II for Abstracts. Read for Week 12, from Sacks's Best Science Writing, Liza Mundy, "A World of Their Own," pp. 68-87, Floyd Skloot, "The Melody Lingers On," pp. 88-95; Ofri, Singular Intimacies, Chs 8-13 ("In Charge" through "Positive," pp. 112-88).
Tues, 4/19: Short Talk 21: The Difficulty of Judgement (from Best Science Writing Liza Mundy, "A World of Their Own," pp. 68-87, and from Orfi's Singular Intimacies, Chs 8 & 10, "In Charge" and "Immunities", pp. 113-28, 138-60). Go over Practice 2.
Thurs, 4/12: Short Talk 22: Death: Definitions and When It Should Be Permitted (from Best Science Writing, Floyd Skloot, "The Melody Lingers On," pp. 88-95, Ofri, Singular Intimacies, Chs 9 & 11, "Time of Death, 3:27 am," "Finding the Person," pp. 130-37, 161-72). Write out and bring Plan for #3 to class. Remember you must have two sources, one of which must come from a library.
Outside Class: For Week 13, finish Ofri's Singular Intimacies (Chs 13-15, Epilogue, "M&M" through "Possessing Her Words," pp. 188-243); Roald Hoffmann's "Why Buy That Theory," Jennifer Kahn's "Notes from a Parallel Universe" and Margaret Wetheim's "Here Be Dragons," pp. 222-227, 115-122, 11-114).
In Class: PLAN FOR #3 IS DUE 4/26.
Tues, 4/26: Short Talk 23: When Doctors Make Mistakes (Orfi's Singular Intimacies, Chs 13-14, "M&M" and "Intensive Care," pp. 188-221).
Thurs, 4/28: Short Talk 24: Theories or Cranks: It Matters (Ofri's Singular Intimacies, "Merced," Ch 15, pp. 222-23; from Sacks's Best Science Writing, "Why Buy That Theory," Jennifer Kahn's "Notes from a Parallel Universe" and Margaret Wetheim's "Here Be Dragons," pp. 222-227, 115-122, 11-114).
Outside Class: You should be working on Essay #3. Prepare to give 2-3 minute presentation on the progress of your research paper. Read from Sacks, Best Science Writing, Michael Klesius, "The Big Bloom," pp. 168-75, Susan Milius, "Why Turn Red?", pp. 176-81, Thomas Eisner, "The Mosquito's Buzz", pp. 182-84.
Tues, 5/3: Short Talk 25: Nature's Beauty and Strangeness: (from Best Science Writing. Michael Klesius, "The Big Bloom," pp. 168-75, Susan Milius, "Why Turn Red?", pp. 176-81, Thomas Eisner, "The Mosquito's Buzz", pp. 182-84). Each member of the class reports his or her progress on Essay #3.
Thurs, 5/5: Review for final.
Outside Class: Finish Essay #3. Prepare to write in-class 2 book reviews, one of The Best American Scientific Writing and the other of Melvin Konner's Becoming a Doctor, as well as a film review.
Section 302.N09: The day, time and place of the final: Thurs, May 12th, 10:30 am - 1:15 pm, Thompson 112
Section 302.N10: The day, time and place of the final: Tues, May 17th, 10:30 am to 1:15 pm, Robinson B124.
Bring with you printed out Research Essay #3 (it should have an abstract and annotated bibliography). In class writing of two book reviews, one of Steve Olson's Mapping Human History; one of Danielle Orfi's s Singular Intimacies; 10 questions on Sacks's Best Science Writing (based on the essays we read since the midter), plus one film review from a choice of the films we have seen in class.