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Science Communication Courses
- HST 120 Intro to Science & Tech Studies
This course examines the politics and morality of science and technology.It uses an interdisciplinary perspective, known as Science and Technology Studies(STS), that includes anthropology, history, philosophy, and sociology. It begins by exploring the history of the field, which arose from scientists' concerns about nuclear arms, atomic energy, and environmental degradation. It will introduce basic concepts such as social construction and technological determinism. Topics will include social studies of scientific community, the pursuits of objectivity, how politics and values are built into technologies, and perceptions of technological and environmental risk. The course emphasizes conceptual tools that students can apply in their own encounters with technology.
- HST 160 Introduction to Science Communication
Students will learn the skills required for researching, analyzing and writing about science-related topics (including medicine, engineering and the environment) in an informed and ethical manner. The course will help prepare students for careers in science journalism and/or science communication for corporate, governmental and nonprofit organizations. The course will also help teach engineering and science majors how to communicate more effectively to peers and the public.
- HST 320 Science and the Media
Course Description: This course will examine how the various media shape public perceptions of science, with special attention given to engineering and medicine. Our primary focus will be topics with a social and/or political dimension, including brain science, genetic engineering, psychiatric drugs, artificial intelligence, national security, economics as well as the clash between science and religion. Students will learn how to read influential publications with a critical eye, enabling them to distinguish between bias and hype on the one hand, and fairness and accuracy on the other.
- HST 325 Visualizing Society
This course examines the creation and reception of visual representations of socially-relevant data. Students analyze existing data visualization methods from the fields of science, health, economics, demography, geography, and science and technology studies. At the same time, students make their own interactive data visualizations for web browsers using data of relevance to social and scientific issues such as crime, medicine, environment, war, and race. While not a course in data visualization, students will be required to do some basic coding, web design, and graphic design in developing their own projects. No prerequisite courses or experience will be required.
- HST 330 Environmental Communication
Environmental Communication introduces the study and practice of how
individuals and institutions craft, distribute, understand, and use messages
about the environment and human interactions with it. Topics include the
study of important communication principles, the mass media and social media,
the planning of effective communication campaigns, close analysis of global
climate change and sustainable energy, and communication across different
cultures. This course provides students with the tools, techniques, and
strategies necessary for persuasive, professional, and scientifically rigorous
communication about environmental issues.
- HST 340 Global Public Health
This course examines the emergent field of global public health through the disciplinary lenses of science and technology studies. Throughout the course, students examine the global dimensions in current local and national practices of public health and discuss the impact of developments in science and technology on the development of disease surveillance, prevention, and response programs. Students will read and learn to analyze critically a variety of sources, such as academic texts and scientific papers, news media coverage of global health in action, and policy drafts and reports.
- HST 360 Research and Innovation Policy
This course explores key issues in public policies that shape scientific and technological activity. Course themes include: the historical origins of American and international science and technology policy; the complex relationship between science, technology, and democracy; forms of adversarial and promotional regulation; and scientific controversies in the recent past and present. Students will finish the semester with a project in which they apply theoretical insights from science and technology studies to the analysis of complex public policy questions.
- HST 370 Biology, Eugenics, and Society
This course examines how matters of biological and environmental determinism have been treated by scientists, humanists, activists, and other prominent Americans from the 18th century through the present day. Students will approach this subject through the disciplinary lenses of science and technology studies, and examine sources that illuminate conceptualizations of the nature-nuture distinction in relation to biology, race, class, intelligence, health, and athletic ability from the "Founding Fathers" through the 21st century. Readings can include selections from Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, Booker T. Washington, the founders of the American eugenics movement, Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, B.F. Skinner, and the authors of "The Bell Curve."
- HST 401 Seminar in Science Writing
This course provides an in-depth exploration of scientific controversies that raise ethical, philosophical and political questions. Potential issues include physicists’ quest for a “theory of everything,” conflicts between science and religion, global warming and other environmental concerns, the search for “clean” energy, the nature-nurture debate, the mind-body problem, genetic engineering of humans and research on nuclear arms and other weapons. The core of the course will be public presentations organized by the Stevens Center for Science Writings (see list of events below). Students are required to attend these CSW events; read books and/or articles by the CSW speakers; prepare questions for CSW speakers; write papers on the issues raised by CSW speakers in their writings and lectures; and discuss these issues in class on non-presentation weeks. There are no exams in this course.
- HST 415 The Nuclear Era
The course provides an overview of the nuclear era, starting with its beginnings during WWII. It demonstrates how developments in scientific research and technological development drove the creation of an immense military-industrial-academic enterprise. The Cold War precipitated an arms race that led to a new social reality based upon Mutually Assured Destruction. Students will learn how nuclear weapons have shaped international relations in the 21st Century, how non-state entities and the related possibilities of nuclear terrorism have come into prime focus, and how societies have integrated the production of nuclear energy. They also will gain a greater appreciation for the cultural novelties of the nuclear era, as well as for the changing social and political contexts of decision-making. Throughout the whole course, the existential threat of nuclear weapons technologies will be examined and discussed.
- HST 450 The History of Stevens
This class examines the history of the Stevens family, the Stevens Institute of Technology, and the relationship between the family, the school, and the city of Hoboken, New Jersey. Through these topics, the class will approach the broader subjects of cultural history, economic development, the history of science and technology, and American higher education in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Student projects will draw on archival manuscripts and artifacts in SC Williams Library.
- HST 470 War and Science
This course will examine scientific theories of war--including biological, ecological and cultural models--as well as the historical interactions between science and militarism.
- HAR 193 Introduction to Art & Technology
This is an orientation to the interdisciplinary field of art and technology. The course explores the territory at the intersection of the technical, scientific, entertainment and fine arts communities. We will cover topics in contemporary media forms, online communities, the history of the art/technology field, as well as provide an overview of software used in the Internet, print, entertainment, design and communications industries. The seminar will encourage critical and analytical thinking through a stimulating range of hands-on and scholarly activities, including seminar lectures, readings, exposure to various kinds of media, discussions, field trips, a series of research papers and presentations, and a final project.
- HHS 130 History of Science and Technology
A historical survey of science and technology. Principal topics include science and technology in prehistory, Egyptian and Babylonian science and culture, Greek science, Medieval technology and science, the Scientific Revolution, the making of the modern physical science, Darwin, and the Darwinian Revolution.
- HHS 310 Social History of Science
This course analyzes science as a social entity. The connections between science and society are studied in the first instance through a historical survey of the externals of science: the non-cognitive social, institutional, and professional dimensions of the scientific enterprise. On a case-study basis, the course proceeds to investigate more theoretical problems concerning relations between scientific knowledge and social structure, particularly as interpreted in the Strong Program of the Sociology of Knowledge. Students complete individual projects arising out of themes developed in class.
- HHS 311 Science and Society in the 20th Century
An examination of the historical process whereby the scientific enterprise became a central concern of the state in modern industrial societies.
- HHS 312 Technology and Society in America
This course surveys the origins and significance of technological developments in American history from the first settlements to the present. It emphasizes the social, cultural, political, and economic significance of technology in American history.
- HHS 313 Science, Faith, and the American Imagination
This course examines instances in American history in which “scientific” conclusions were widely perceived to be authoritative and true but were later shown to be fraudulent or false. The course examines effects that conclusions of this sort had not only on the culture at large but particularly on creative writers whose work in turn evokes tension between personal insight and faith in empirically derived “truth.”
- HHS 345 Science and Technology in Islamic History
This course is an introductory survey of an important aspect of Islamic civilization, the scientific and technological achievements of early Islam. The passion for knowledge led early Muslims to internalize, assimilate and expand the scientific knowledge of older civilizations, including those of Greece, India, China and the Byzantium. This course explores their accomplishments in cosmology, mathematics, astrology, geography, medicine, natural sciences, alchemy, optics, engineering and architecture. It also explores the ways in which Muslim scientific achievements influenced the advance of science in the Western world from the Crusaders and the Renaissance to the modern era. The contributions of early Muslims to the advance of Western civilization in general and sciences and arts in particular are not necessarily well integrated phenomena into the Western historiography. This course attempts to fill this gap.
- HHS 363 Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution
Please contact the Registrar for more information.
- HHS 369 Studies in the Scientific Revolution
An analysis of the intellectual and methodological transformations of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century science and the development of the modern world view. This course focuses on the major scientific figures of the age (Galileo, Descartes, Newton), with particular attention to the study of original texts. The social and institutional transformations of science in this period are also considered.
- HHS 414 Industrial America
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the United States was fundamentally transformed. This course examines the nationís genesis as an industrial and economic power and societyís adaptation to the industrial age. It also considers the impact of industrialism on such historical problems as technological change, economic development, race and gender relations, political participation, reform movements, urbanization, immigration, imperialism, and globalization.
- HHS 429 The Scientist, the Engineer, and the Computer
To confront the student with social, political, legal, and ethical issues that professional scientists and engineers are being forced to reexamine in the light of the computer revolution. The course reviews traditional principles while challenging the student to recognize that technological innovation often drives social change and, specifically, that innovations as sweeping as the rapid and continuing changes in computer technology sometimes lead scientists and engineers into completely uncharted territory.
- HHS 451 From Ape to Adam: Understanding Human Evolution
Please contact the Registrar for more information.
- HHS 465 Engineering in History
This course is a social and cultural history of engineering before the modern era. It examines the nature and the role of the engineer and engineering in a global context in the pre-modern and early modern (pre-industrial) periods. Through a series of case studies involving lecture, reading, discussion, technical demonstration and laboratory work, the course will examine the technical, economic, political, ideological, and cultural factors that can influence the contents, direction, location, and rhythm of engineering innovation. Particular attention will be paid to the emergence of science-based engineering in early modern Europe, and the conditions that were going to lead to its spread throughout the world during the modern period.
- HHS 476 History of Medicine
Examination of the history of medical science in the Western World from Greek antiquity to the present.
- HHS 479 Studies in the History of Technology
This course takes a thematic approach to the history of technology in the modern era. Topics may include the study of invention, innovation, and standardization; industrial research and development; technological systems; transnational exchanges: histories of gender, labor, and race: and the emergence of a global 'Network Society.'
- HLI 220 Images of Science in Literature
This course introduces students to the discipline of literature by examining literary works of different genres that focus on science and scientific inquiry. Special attention is given to the ways that scientific advances have challenged conventional beliefs about the structure of the world and humanity’s place in it. The course will examine how, throughout the centuries, science has been considered as a source for liberation and innovation on the one hand or oppression and even possible transgression on the other. Readings may include works by Aeschylus (Prometheus Bound), Marlowe (Doctor Faustus), Blake, Brecht, Stoppard, Vonnegut, and others.
- HLI 316 Science Fiction
A study of the fiction of science and the science of fiction through the reading of authors from Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) to William Gibson (Neuromancer), the viewing of films such as Metropolis and Dune, and the writing of a piece of science fiction.
- HLI 321 Literature, Science and Technology
This course investigates the views man has expressed about the advent impact of technology and science across recorded history. Questions that might be addressed include: What is the relationship between religion and technology? Has man always viewed technological innovations as positive? What relationship is there between man’s vision of utopian society and technology? Readings may include, but are not limited to, novels, philosophical treatises, and the literature of various societies.
- HLI 338 Thoreau and Environment
This course examines the beginnings of the environmental movement in America by focusing on the writings of Henry David Thoreau and his contemporaries. Primary readings include works by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, John James Audubon, James Fenimore Cooper, William Cullen Bryant, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, John Muir, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Jack London. Contextual material includes works by Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur, Thomas Jefferson, William Bartram, Philip Freneau, Louis Agassiz, Susan Fenimore Cooper, George Perkins Marsh, Gifford Pinchot, and Theodore Roosevelt.
- HLI 409 Rhetoric and Technical Writing
An introduction to classical and modern expository and argumentative writing and speech, as well as an introduction to contemporary technical and science writing.
- HMU 205 Introduction to Digital Media
This course introduces students to theoretical and practical experiences in interdisciplinary production technologies, with an emphasis on visual and aural design principles. Projects may include creating and editing digital images, music, sound, video, text, and motion graphics. Students will work in teams to create projects. Not for general Humanities credit.
- HPL 112 Science and Metaphysics
This course provides an examination of philosophical concepts and ideas that address questions regarding the problem of knowledge (epistemology), methods of reasoning and the nature of reality (metaphysics). Special attention will be given to applying these topics to an introduction to the philosophy of natural science. Readings include classical sources such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Hegel, as well as contemporary works.
- HPL 368 Philosophy of Science
A critical analysis of the aims and methods of science, and its principles, practices, and achievements.
- HPL 369 Science and Religion
This course investigates the history of the opposition of science and religion, beginning with the emergence of philosophy as an alternative to mythology, through the scholastic dominance of the Aristotelian world-view, to the Scientific Revolution, the emergence and acceptance of evolution, and beyond. Special attention will be given to current attempts at reconciling and/or harmonizing these traditionally antithetical disciplines.
- HPL 370 Philosophy of Technology
Please contact the Registrar for more information.
- HPL 380 Environmental Ethics
An examination of basic positions in the field of environmental ethics with
emphasis on principles of sustainability, whether there are legal and moral rights for nature, human treatment of animals, and environmental policy and decision-making.
- HPL 455 Ethical Issues in Science and Technology
Consideration of such issues as the ethical responsibility of scientists and technologists for the uses of their knowledge, the ethics of scientific research, and truth and fraud in science and engineering. We will study such contemporary moral questions as those concerning the uses and abuses of nuclear energy, environmental pollution and the preservation of natural resources, and the impact of new technologies on the right to privacy.
- HPL 457 Bioethics
The course is intended as an introduction to the key issues and methodologies of bioethics. It refers to the central problems in bioethics (autonomy of the patient, organ transplantation, stem cell debate, cloning, etc.), as much as to newer developments, such as genetic enhancement and the commercialization of the body. A main focus is to explore the field of bioethics in an interdisciplinary way and to bring not only ethical, legal, or scientific criteria into play, but also those from an existential, social, or cultural background. A short introduction to the moral theories used in applied ethics is given. The course helps to develop a responsible and sensitive conduct in future studies or occupations.
- HPL 480 Environmental Policy: Philosophical and Economic Issues
This course introduces students to environmental policy and ethics, with special attention to the importance of economic considerations. Specific issues to be covered may include: the equity-efficiency contrast, different decision-making structures, the role of narratives in policy-making, externalities, public goods, property rights, market-failure, benefit-cost analysis, justice, the choice of categories in quantifying policy problems, the relationship of formal and informal rules, propaganda versus information, and the normative idea of rights. This course is an introduction to the interplay of politics, economics, and ethics as they enter into policy-making in the environmental arena.
- HSS 127 Introduction to Political Science I: National Government
An introduction to the evolution and operation of the U.S. federal government. This course focuses on problems in energy policy, foreign policy, elections, and civil rights.
- HSS 141 Introduction to Sociology
The objective of this course is to provide students with a general survey of the field of sociology. This course aims at providing students with a way to think about and understand the social world and one’s place in it. Therefore, the lectures, readings and assignments will focus on understanding the basic social processes and how they can be applied to everyday events, both small and large, both personal and political.
- HSS 175 Fundamentals of Psychology I: Brain, Mind and Behavior
This course emphasizes the biological underpinnings of behavior and of mental processes. What do we know? How do we come to know? What do we want? Why do we act the way we do? In this course these fundamental questions of psychology are mainly looked at from a biological perspective that emphasizes the study of the brain and nervous systems. Historical, philosophical, and evolutionary perspectives on mental processes are considered, as well.
- HSS 331 Biological Psychology
Biological Psychology explores the physiological underpinnings of mental processes and behavior by covering the basic anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. The study of topics such as visual perception, language, depression, schizophrenia and their relation to neurological structure and deficit as well as their ultimate relationship to human consciousness will constitute the essential components of the class.
- HSS 371 Computers and Society
An introduction to arguments about the relationship between computing and society, the impact of computing activities on social relationships, and the evolution of institutions to regulate computer-mediated activities.
- HSS 377 Sociology of Globalization
This course provides an introduction to the concept of globalization, including its history, foundations, and implications from the end of World War II to the present day. Topics covered include the nature of globalism, economic and social trends, the roles of government in embracing globalization, global inequality, the rise of cities in the global economy, and the sociological implications of globalization. Particular emphasis will be placed on global/local tensions, especially as they relate to the response of local societies to global influences in both developed and developing countries. Students will perform analyses of globalization through discussions of current events relating to global society.
- HSS 441 Gender and Race in Science and Engineering
This course discusses important issues related to gender and race in science and engineering (S&E). The issues include S&E as professions and social institutions as well as the experiences of women and minorities as S&E students, professionals, and the users of current science and technologies. In addition, this course explores the current social issues and policy concerns regarding gender and race in science and technology.
- HSS 458 Sociology of Science and Technology
This course addresses various theories, approaches, and methodologies used in the sociology of scientific knowledge, including the strong programme, relativism, actor-network theory, gendered accounts of science, and laboratory studies. In addition, it discusses the relationships between science, technology, and society, such as how science and technology influence society and how society influences science and technology. Furthermore, the course explores the issues related to science and technology workforces and policies. The issues discussed in the course occur in both the U.S. and other countries, and the readings discussed in the course crosscut sociology and other disciplines.