2024 dates TBD
Dr. Ann Matthysse, Department of Biology
The Burch Science Seminar in London is a six-week interdisciplinary summer program designed to broaden students’ views and understanding of scientific discovery in infectious disease in relation to the prevailing intellectual views of society as a whole and their reflection in the literature of the time.
We will consider three major advances in the prevention and control of infectious disease made in or near London: Jenner’s invention of inoculation against smallpox, Snow’s discovery that cholera can be transmitted by water, and Fleming’s discovery of penicillin. We will also consider the plague epidemic of 1665 to which there was no scientific response (we will ask why not?). How do we know what the views of people living in another society and time were? One of the sources is contemporary literature. We will read novels, plays, and poetry from the same periods as these discoveries and visit theaters, museums, and London itself to try to obtain some understanding of the world in which these scientists lived. The communication of scientific discoveries to other scientists and to the public determines what use, if any, will be made of a particular discovery. We explore types of communication, their effectiveness, and public response both in the past and in the present day. This interdisciplinary program aims to broaden students’ views and understanding of scientific discoveries in relation to the prevailing intellectual views of society as a whole.
While the seminar is primarily designed for science majors, it is open to any student who has taken Biology 103 or Biology 202. In special cases, it may be possible to substitute independent work done prior to the course for Biology 103 or Biology 202.