This course presents students with an interdisciplinary view on the process of scientific progress with the help of a number of case studies. Each case study will trace a chain of scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs spanning a diverse range of disciplines, including biology, physics, astronomy, chemistry, engineering, and computing. Students will examine how scientific method was used in the process of experimentation leading up to many of these discoveries. Each case study will also illustrate the impact of scientific innovation on our everyday lives and experiences. This course will culminate with a trip to London and Paris during the winter break of the 2012/13 academic year. Being two major capital cities, London and Paris offer main historical locations where the scientists whose work is discussed in the course had lived and worked, along with first-class museums exhibiting scientific and engineering artifacts discussed in this course.
Art and Science of Leonardo da Vinci: Rome, Florence, Milan
Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest painters and geniuses of the Renaissance, has been the subject of hundreds of scholarly and popular books. His enormous body of work, said to include over 100,000 drawings and over 6,000 pages of notes, and the extreme diversity of his interests have attracted countless scholars from a wide range of academic and artistic disciplines. Because it is very difficult to consider the work of Leonardo the scientist separately from the work of Leonardo the artist, this course will take a holistic approach to examine the symbiosis of Leonardo’s multifaceted work. This course will examine the art and artistic innovations of Leonardo da Vinci and his contemporaries. A particular emphasis will be made on Leonardo’s scientific studies and inventions and their influence on the development of modern technology and computing. This course includes a trip to Italy during the Spring break. In addition to many historic sites in Rome, Florence and Milan, we will visit a number of galleries and museums hosting Leonardo’s work and recreations of his inventions.
Secrecy - Science and Fiction: London
This course examines the evolution of secret communications, code making, and code breaking from ancient times to today. The role of secret communications in history, modern society, and development of computing technology will be examined. During the trip to UK, students will visit a number of historic sites where many of the events discussed in the course took place. During the visit to Bletchley Park, a focal point of this course, students will obtain hands-on experience with the machinery used for breaking secret communications during World War II.