Biology 497:Senior Honors Seminar   Fall 2006

Course Outline

Instructor: H. Itagaki   Office: 107 Higley
Email: itagaki   Office Phone: X5394
    Home Phone: 614-433-0165

Feibelman, P.J. (1993) A Ph.D. Is Not Enough: A Guide to Survival in Science. Perseus, New York. 132pp.

Medawar, P.B. (1979) Advice to a Young Scientist. Harper and Row, New York. 109pp.

Quine, W.V. and J.S. Ullian (1978) The Web of Belief, 2nd ed. Random House, New York. 148pp.

Plus assorted readings on electronic reserve.

Class Website:

Date Topics/Deadlines Related Events Assigned Reading
Sept. 6 Introduction
Sept. 7 Bio Seminar
Sept. 8 Sen. Exc.: submission of 3 papers
Sept. 12 Science vs. Bogus Science Readings 1, 2a, 2b, 3, 4
,Sept. 19 KSSS - How to make a poster, RBH 109
Sept. 20 Edgerton Lecture
Sept. 22 Sen. Exc.: paper summary, annot.. biblio.
Sept. 26 Philosophical Underpinnings of Science I Quine & Ullian, Ch. I -V
Oct. 3 Philosophical Underpinnings of Science II Quine & Ullian, Ch. VI-X
Oct. 5 Biology Seminar
Oct. 16 Sen Exc.: Essay due
Oct. 17 Research Update
Oct. 19 Biology Seminar
Oct. 31 A Life in Science I Medawar, Ch. 1-12
Nov. 5 Biology Seminar
Nov. 6 Sen. Exc.: Revised essay due
Nov. 14 Research Update
Nov. 28 A Life in Science II Honors Thesis Introduction Draft Due Feibelman, Ch. 1-8
Nov. 30 Biology Seminar
Dec. 12 A Life in Science III/Class Dinner Honors Thesis Methods Draft Due

About the Course: This seminar course complements the research being done in your mentor's lab. The conduct of this honors course changes from semester to semester depending on the instructor; my goal this semester is for us to tackle two inter-related questions. The first is, "what is science?" The second is, "what does it mean to be a scientist?" This isn't meant to be an intensive philosophy of science course (for which I'm not trained), but one in which we bring to the forefront some of the underlying assumptions and ideas that you are using in your own research.

Grading: Your grade will be depend on your performance in your mentor's lab, which will compose 80% of the grade. The other 20% consists of your participation in the discussions in the seminar and your attendance at the departmental seminars. At the bare minimum, the departmental expectation is that you will attend 6 departmental seminars/special lectures over the course of the year.

Academic Honesty: Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Please make sure that you have read carefully the Academic Honesty Guidelines in the 2006-2007 Course of Study, pp. 26-29. If you have any questions, please see the instructor!

Disabilities: If you have a hidden or visible disability that may require classroom or test accommodations please see me as soon as possible during a scheduled office hour. If you have not already done so, you must register with the Coordinator of Disability Services (Erin Salva,, x5145), who is the individual responsible for coordinating accommodations and services for students with disabilities. All information and documentation of disability is strictly confidential. No accommodations will be granted in this course without notification from the Office of Disability Services.