Controversy in Science & Math

Full Title: 
Breakthroughs and Controversies in Science and Math
Sarah Greenwald
Day/Time Taught: 
TR 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
Course Number: 

Human beings are driven to explore ourselves and the world around us and to ask how things work. Today it may be difficult for us to imagine how mysterious the inside of a living person seemed only about 100 years ago, when x-rays were discovered in 1895. Amazing breakthroughs have been made since then, such as the invention of the atomic bomb, penicillin, cloning and artificial intelligence.

In this course we will look at the process of discovery as well as the implications of recent breakthroughs and developments. We will choose topics and explore these issues using articles, books, and television programs. We might choose to debate global warming, string theory, or Lawrence Summers’ comments about the innate ability of women in mathematics, discuss the ethics of biodiesel or unbreakable codes, or explore articles about whether we still need to learn multiplication tables.

In this context we will focus on what science and mathematics is, strategies for success in these fields, ethical and philosophical considerations, public perceptions, applications to daily tasks, and the relationship of science and mathematics to American competitiveness and the global economy. The only prerequisite is an open mind.

Instructor Bio: 

Sarah J. Greenwald is Professor of Mathematics and a Women's Studies core
faculty member at Appalachian State University. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Her scholarship areas include Riemannian geometry, popular culture as it pertains to mathematics, and women and minorities in mathematics, and she is a 2005 Mathematical Association of America Alder Award winner for distinguished teaching and the winner of the 2010 Appalachian State University Wayne D. Duncan Award for Excellence in Teaching in General Education. In 2010 she was also inducted into the Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences Academy of Outstanding Teachers and in 2011 she was named the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

She is the associate editor of the Association for Women in Mathematics Newsletter and a member of the editorial board of PRIMUS. She co-created the educational website with Andrew Nestler. Her interactive mathematics lecture has been distributed on approximately one million DVDs worldwide as a 25-minute DVD extra for the 20th Century Fox Futurama movie Bender's Big Score and it is listed as "Mind-bending." She co-edited the 3-volume Encyclopedia of Mathematics & Society with Jill Thomley, which was named a "Best Reference 2011" by Library Journal. Dr. Greenwald has spoken about the impacts of scientific popular culture representations on NPR's Science Friday and all over the country.

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Dr. Martha McCaughey

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