Course Details

Course offered Winter 2020

HONORS 396 A: Scientific Revolution and Molecular Biology: 'The Eighth Day of Creation'

HONORS 396 A: Scientific Revolution and Molecular Biology: ‘The Eighth Day of Creation’ (NSc)

SLN 15390 (View UW registration info »)

Liz Morton (Genomics)
Bryce Taylor (Genomics)

Credits: 2
Limit: 3 students

Credit Type

Completion of Intro Biology sequence (BIO 180, 200, 220) required

Note: this is a 2 credit course so will only count towards UW general education requirements, not Honors core curriculum.

The founding of molecular biology was a synthesis of ideas from physics, biology, and chemistry. The efforts of its interdisciplinary founders laid out a vision of life as composed of molecular systems orchestrated by a progression of information from DNA to RNA to protein– what we now call the central dogma. The field’s early days were shaped by incredible new technologies, revolutions in logic, and unique personalities. While spectacular, this history is part of a process of scientific development that continues today in burgeoning fields. In this course, we will explore the process of scientific revolution through the history of molecular biology depicted in Horace Freeland Judson’s The Eighth Day of Creation.

We will meet two hours a week for in-class discussion of concepts and materials from assigned reading excerpts from the book The Eighth Day of Creation. Part of this time will also be devoted to review of biological and historical topics touched on in the reading.
Weekly, students will produce a short blurb of their thoughts on the reading using a prompt from instructors. Students will receive feedback on these blurbs to use as starting material for two major writing assignments.

Learning objectives
At the end of the course, students will:
-Be able to contextualize current research through the lens of historical biological advancements.
-Have considered in depth the diverse approaches to being a scientist.
-Have established a small writing portfolio.