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Master Pieces of Scientific Writing - Spring 2017

The final research paper will be due on the last day of class. Two preliminary steps will be the selection of a topic and preparation of an initial bibliography. Your topic must be approved by me no later than 13 October and your bibliography must be approved by me no later than 27 October.

Here are some general ideas for the final research paper:

  • Biographical papers on precursors and contemporaries
    • Giordano Bruno
    • Charles Lyell and James Hutton
    • Johann Kepler
    • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
  • What did Darwin and Galileo get right? What did they get wrong?
    • Evolution since Darwin
    • The theory of tides before and after Galileo
    • Kepler and Newton on the solar system
    • Theories of acquired traits and use and disuse in evolution
  • Literature
    • Galileo's place in Italian literature
    • Scientific writing in the history of literature
  • Relationships between science, religion, and philosophy
    • Reaction of western religion and philosophy to evolution
    • Reaction of western religion and philosophy to heliocentrism
    • Can Genesis be interpreted literally?
    • Who ever thought the earth was flat?
  • Compare and contrast with modern scientific controversies
    • Climate change and politics
    • Genetic engineering, ethics, and politics
  • Philosophy of science
    • Scientific revolutions
    • The pessimistic induction