Melissa Henriksen / Biology

My Dream Idea is to host a book club called Reading Science for 25 third and fourth year science students during the academic year.  We will read books selected from some of the very best science literature, and discuss them at my home over a catered dinner. I envision reading five books, and request support for the purchase of these books and for the meetings/dinners. Five or so students will be invited to each meeting. We will meet twice in the fall and spring semesters and after winter break.

Some of the books/plays I may suggest include:

Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins Copenhagen by Michael Frayn

The Periodic Table by Primo Levi

The Theory That Would Not Die by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

The Double Helix by James Watson

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

Some themes for discussion will include the culture of science itself, specifically the nature of perception, evidence and truth; instances where science is in conflict with another culture; and the role of the individual in science (“the scientist-as- hero”).  As much as possible, we will integrate our own science and liberal arts educations into the discussions.  I believe this will be an enjoyable activity for both the students and me.  And that it will prove to be one of intellectual merit.