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.