Readings


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This page presents assigned readings and supplemental readings.

Assigned Readings

Eight sets of readings are assigned during the term, as presented in the following table.


LEC # TOPICS READINGS
2

Audience: grabbing the reader

Literary techniques: scenes, imagery, characters. . .

Voice and tone

Science and life—the "non-quantifiable"

Amazon logo Lightman, Alan. "Smile." In A Modern Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court: And Other Essays on Science. New York, NY: Viking, 1986, pp. 34-37 and 165-166. ISBN: 9780670812394.

Thomas, Lewis. "Crickets, Bats, Cats, and Chaos." Audubon 94 (March/April 1992): 94. [Amazon logo Republished in Occasions for Writing. Edited by R. DiYanni and P. C. Hoy II. New York, NY: Thompson Wadsworth, 2007. ISBN: 9781413012064.]

Doyle, Brian. "Joyas Voladoras." The American Scholar (Autumn 2004).
[Amazon logo Republished in The Best American Essays 2005. Edited by Susan Orlean. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. ISBN: 9780618357130.]

Weed, William Speed. "106 Science Claims and a Truckful of Baloney." Popular Science 264, no. 5 (2004): 106-115.

3

Context

Why do science? Who does science?

The writer as a "character" in his essay

Amazon logo Kanigel, Rob. The Man Who Knew Infinity. New York, NY: Washington Square Press, 1991. Excerpts: pp. 1-7 (Prologue), 85-92 and 382-83 (notes). ISBN: 9780671750619.

Amazon logo Hirsh, Aaron. "Signs of Life." In The Best American Science Writing 2004. Edited by Dava Sobel. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2004, pp. 79-88. ISBN: 9780060726409.

Amazon logo Sacks, Oliver. "Remembering Francis Crick." In Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006. Edited by Brian Greene. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2006, pp. 219-231. ISBN: 9780618722228.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. "Crash Course." The New Yorker, May 14, 2007.

7

Writing scientific controversies

The question of fairness

Making complexity clear

Asking the right questions

Orr, H. Allen. "Devolution." The New Yorker, May 30, 2005.

Shreeve, Jaimie. "The Other Stem-Cell Debate." The New York Times Magazine, April 10, 2005, 42-47.

8

Science v. myth

What's at stake?

Making complexity clear

Prewriting for essay 3, life/science or social impact. . .

Gopnik, Adam. "American Electric." The New Yorker, June 30, 2003.

Singham, Mano. "The Copernican Myths." Physics Today 60, no. 12 (December 2007): 48-52.

Amazon logo Gould, Stephen J. "A Division of Worms." In The Best American Science Writing 2000. Edited by James Gleick. New York, NY: Ecco Press/Harper Collins, 2000, pp. 178-204. ISBN: 9780060957360.

9

Public health and individual patients

Involving the reader

Amazon logo Gawande, Atul. "Desperate Measures." In The Best American Science Writing 2004. Edited by Dava Sobel. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2004, pp. 8-28. ISBN: 9780060726409.

Amazon logo Patterson, Kevin. "The Patient Predator." In The Best American Science Writing 2004. Edited by Dava Sobel. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2004, pp. 189-200. ISBN: 9780060726409.

10

The Pill: TV program as science essay, part I

Discuss The Pill and "John Rock's Error"

Gladwell, Malcolm. "John Rock's Error." The New Yorker, March 13, 2000.

Amazon logo Lightman, Alan. "Prisoner of the Wired World." In A Sense of the Mysterious. New York, NY: Vintage, 2006, pp. 183-208. ISBN: 9781400078196.

Seabrook, John. "Fragmentary Knowledge." The New Yorker, May 14, 2007.

11

Technology and culture

Hear proposals for essay 3

14

Book review as essay

Tight focus and wide significance

The language of judgment

Example book reviews

Foster, Ian. "Harnessing Atoms to Create Superfast Computers." The New York Times, March 7, 2003.

Zimmer, Carl. "Adam's Family."  The New York Times, March 2, 2003.

Owen, David. "Measure for Measure." The New Yorker, Oct. 14, 2002, p. 212-216.

15

Strategizing the longer research essay

Questions about essay 4, book review?

Amazon logo Overbye, Dennis. "Remembrance of Things Future." In Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006. Edited by Brian Greene. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2006, pp. 180-188. ISBN: 9780618722228.

Pollan, Michael. "Unhappy Meals." The New York Times Magazine, January 28, 2007.

Book list for essay 4 (PDF)


Supplemental Readings

Science Daily
A Web site devoted to daily briefings on science news, in all categories of science.

Angier, Natalie. "Seeing Red." The New York Times, February 6, 2007.
A short piece on the science of everyday life.

Sacks, Oliver. "Patterns." From the series "Migraine: Perspectives on a Headache." The New York Times, February 13, 2008.
An excellent piece on the visual phenomenena accompanying migraines.

Dizikes, Peter. "Civic Science." Boston Globe, April 30, 2006.
Contains a good discussion of scientific literacy.