English for Scientists
Winter Term 2009-10
Fridays, 2−4 pm; room 055, Computer Science building, Takustr. 9.
Office Hours: Mon 10-12 on Campfire or by appointment

In case you're looking for something useful to do …

… well, then here are a couple of suggestions that might be worthwhile to pursue. Dates given on this page always refer to the lesson which you might want to prepare for. You can always pursue different questions and blog about them, preferably pointing out a connection, however tentative, to what we are exploring in class.

If you have any questions at all, please don't be afraid to write an e-mail and ask. Possibly helpful materials can be found on the Resources page.

4 December
– If your last name is in the A-M bracket, pleas post something on the blog by Tuesday. If you're in the N-Z bracket, please fan the flames of a robust discussion about those posts. (And the first post is already up.)
– Following on from a post by Alexis and the War on Science documentary, there is currently a debate going on in parts of the scientific blogoshpere about the compatibility of science and religion. To get you started on the topic, have look at the TIME interview with Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins about "God vs. Science". What are their main arguments? How well do they hold up under critical scrutiny?

27 November
– In the Selfish Green video, what do the panelists think is the most important issue in terms of the topic of the debate? What are their particular arguments? What might be the outcome if their recommendations were followed? What would be obstacles that would have to be overcome in order to implement these recommendations?

20 November
– Have a look at Jared Diamond's "Kinship with the Stars". Why does he think science is important? Can you find any examples in the real world of what he's talking about?
– What would your analysis of Goldstein's "Falsifiability" and/or Hari's "Science is thrilling – except in our schools" be?

13 November
– With regard to Popper's ideas on falsification: What is his main point, or guiding question? What's the answer, and what does it suggest? Why is all that interesting?

6 November
– Comment on the "Science is …" blog post.

30 October
– Read Feynman's "The Uncertainty of Science".
– What light does the text shed on the question of how we know something and what it means to know something?
– What parallels are there between Feynman's and Sagan's ideas?

23 October
– Read Carl Sagan's "Can We Know the Universe?".
– Which ingredients of a possible definition of 'science' or 'scientist' does he use in the text?
– What is the point he is trying to make? Can you put it in a single sentence? How can you be sure that that's what he intended?

16 October
– This is our first session. Just come as you are.
Topic revision: r8 - 28 Nov 2009, PeterMonnerjahn


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