Ideas for Blog posts
Take a look at what the students have did in previous years. There are some good words of wisdom from last year’s TAs here. There are also lots of other great science blogs out there. A good portal to many of them is Science Blogs. Also good is Seed Magazine, The New York Times, National Geographic, edge.org, PSU Science and Research Penn State. But get goggling. Work the internet.
There are no set texts for this course. But I found the following easy-to-read books useful when putting the course together. They are all excellent, but Bryson is the most fun (although Olson comes a close second*), Sagan is the most important, and Burch is the most shocking.
Bill Bryson (2003) A Short History of Nearly Everything. Black Swan
Druin Burch (2009) Taking the Medicine. A Short History of Medicine’s Beautiful Idea and Our Difficulty Swallowing It. Vintage Books.
Cornelia Dean (2009). Am I Making Myself Clear? A Scientists Guides to Talking to the Public. Harvard University Press.
Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum (2009) Unscientific America. How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. Basic Books.
Randy Olson (2009) Don’t be Such a Scientist. Talking Substance in an Age of Style. Island Press.
Carl Sagan (1996). The Demon-Haunted World. Science as a Candle in the Dark. Ballantyne Books
Sherry Seethaler (2009). Lies, Damned Lies and Sciene. How to Sort through the Noise around Global Warming, the Latest Health Claims, and Other Scientific Controversies. FT Press Science.
Four excellent lectures
from one of Britain’s foremost scientists about the challenges facing science in the 21st century.
Bill Bryson being brilliant about what he learned as a non-scientist about science and what it has discovered.
*From p. 65: “There is a famous quote by Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, who heard a woman shout to him that all the thinking people in America were with him. He replied “That’s not going to be enough, Madam: I need a majority of the public.”