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    Vassar College
  Sep 24, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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STS 258 - Black Holes, Human Clones and Nanobots: The Edge of Science

1 unit(s)
Will the newest version of the CERN accelerator in Europe create a mini black hole on earth? What are the implications of our advances in genetic engineering and nanotechnology? Twentieth-century science gave us revolutions in many diverse fields, but three of the most important and pervasive innovations were relativity, quantum theory, and the mapping of the human genome. The effects of these advances on human knowledge have begun to ripple through our society but they are far from having realized their full potential. Where do we stand now and where are we headed? These are the fundamental questions we will grapple with in this course. The implications of understanding nature, and by extension learning to manipulate nature, straddle multiple disciplines. We explore topics in the conceptual understanding of modern science and its relationship to religion, politics, economics, and philosophy. No mathematical background is necessary; a sincere interest in the subject matter is the only pre-requisite for this course. Readings may include works by authors such as Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, James Watson, Justine Burley, Thomas Kuhn, Hilary Putnam, Arthur C. Clarke, Richard Dawkins, and Brian Greene among others. José Perrillán.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

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