2022 Thayer Investiture

ENGS 7.07 - Science, Media & Literature


Public communication is an increasingly important aspect of modern science and technology, and a wide array of information sources compete to serve and expand public interest in scientific advances. Social media and the popular press play a dominant role for many readers, but the filtering of scientific information through non-technical mediums can obscure important details, introduce inadvertent errors, and even result in manipulation with the intent to mislead. Accessing peer-reviewed literature or other trusted information sources can minimize inaccuracies in reports, but it comes at the cost of time and effort and does not guarantee an enlightened ground truth. This first-year seminar will help students build strategies and skills for reading, researching, and understanding science. The course will cover three modules related to contemporary issues in biomedical science. Students will read materials, search for related information, make presentations, and participate in class discussions of related ideas. Students will also draft written position papers articulating and defending a view on topics of discussion, and they will complete a written and oral research project at the end of the term.

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