Lisa Morkowchuck / Chemistry
Science Your Life
Summary: Students in introductory science courses will collaborate to find and engage in applications of the scientific mindset in everyday life.
The Idea: A popular misconception of science is that it is something done in (highly controlled) laboratory settings with multimillion-dollar equipment and then communicated in thick jargon decipherable only by the dozen or so other experts in that particular sub-sub-subfield of human knowledge. But the sciences are also widely acknowledged as a core component of the liberal arts- those studies considered to be essential for a well-rounded and educated citizen capable of productive contribution to civic life. How do we reconcile these two views? What makes scientific thinking valuable for a non-scientist? What applications can be found for scientific exploration and decision-making in our (highly uncontrolled) personal and social lives? How can we verbify science to improve ourselves and our lives?
A series of lunch discussion will be held with a small group of 6 to 10 students to explore these questions.
Lunch 1 (Sept.): What is a scientific mindset? What is “doing science”? What does it require? What does it not require?
Lunch 2 (Oct.): biological life (personal health)
Lunch 3 (Nov): social/family life
Lunch 4 (Jan): community engagement/politics
Lunch 5 (Feb): professional life.
Lunch 6 (March): discussion of projects
April: Poster session with refreshments
The series will culminate with a challenge to student to develop a project wherein they tackle a personal issue scientifically, developing a hypothesis, experimenting, and collecting data. Students will then communicate their findings (anonymized, if desired) in a poster session open to the UVA community.
Lunches: 6 lunches * 10 people/lunch * $15/person = $900
Poster Session refreshments: ~$200
Remaining monies would be available to students for any needed materials associated with conducting their projects.