Biology Dept -- Kenyon College -- Fall 2012

WF 2:10 - 3:30pm, Hig Aud
*Warp Dates: till 4:00PM

Study Guide
Equations for Biology
CASIO fx-280 Calculator

Biology in Science Fiction

Syllabus 2012

Bring internet device.

Dr. Joan Slonczewski
Office: Hig 302

Office Hours: 1:00-4:00 TuTh

Math & Science Skills Center
This week: Tues & Thurs 7 pm
Next week: Sun & Tues 7 pm

Tutor: Kari Deininger

In this course, we investigate biology in the context of science fiction literature. We learn to interpret data based on common patterns of biological science, including basic quantitative reasoning. We also explore the human, societal and artistic dimensions of science fiction.

Our theme this year is Pandora. How do life forms evolve on Pandora, and throughout the universe?  How can we save Pandora--and other worlds?
Survey 01

Class Subject
Reading and
Assignments Due on
Midnight BEFORE Class
Aug 31 Star Trek: Tribbles. Triticale. Population. Calculator. Logarithms. PPT_01 US_Pop US_Growth
X-Men: Mutants in fiction and in biology. OMIM. Norm.
Muscle Baby. Doubled muscle: Dogs; Cattle
PPT_02A. CF; Marfan; Sickle/Malaria
Muscle Baby (1st two pages)
Quiz 1

Sep 7

Time Machine. Human evolution; Chimp breakup
 Evolution; Speciation. Biomorphs. PPT_02B
Time Machine  Ch. I to X 
Pandora 1
Divergence or Convergence? Marsupials.
X-files: The Host . Scolex; Parasites; PPT_03A
Life in the Universe: Spectrum; Supernova.
Sep 14
Galapagos: My Fragile World; Boobies. Pandora. PPT_03B
Evolution. Islands. Raft1. Raft2.  
Hardy-Weinberg; Hardy-Weinberg; Calculator
Galapagos - Intro, Ch 1, Ch 2
Pandora 2

Galapagos Visitors. The Cruise. Vampire Finch
Mendelian: Huntington's; LDL; LDL2;  PPT_04A

Galapagos -- Complete

Quiz 3 due THURS midnight

Sep 21

Genetic Drift: Drift1; Drift2
Bible: Adam; Eve; Noah's Ark

 Lemmings1; L2; L3; Lemurs; Video; PPT_04B
Review for Test 1. 
Practice Questions -- Test 1
Optional, by Sunday midnight
Sep 26
Sep 28
Dune: Sahara; Desert Rainfall; Water & *Humidity. *Facts. Dewcatcher; Middle East; Iraq Oil; Gadgets
Sandfish1; Sandfish2; Arabic & Islamic
Lawrence of Arabia; Gertrude Bell; 
Dune, Book I
Dune: Energy and Ecosystem. Desert life.  PPT_06A
Water Facts; Desert; Mojave; Sahara; Dewcatcher
Finding Water
; Humidity; Perspiration; Stillsuit; Walking
Solar power; Water conservation;  Power consumption
Dune (complete) and Appendix
Quiz 4
Oct 05


Ecosystems: Dune vs. Gambier PPT_06B
Animal & Human Behavior. Altruism; Mole rats; Chimps
Control of Reproduction

Brain drugs; LSD today
Oct 10
Acid mine: Devil in the Dark.  No E-devices.  PPT_07
Sugar + H2SO4
Comic Book Periodic Table, H2SO4
Acid Pollution. Acid dissociation. pH2; pH3
Pandora 3
Must be received
by midnight before.
Avatar  No E-devices.  PPT_08A

Oct 19

Discuss Avatar. PPT_08B
Divergence and Convergence. Food web

Cooperation:Symbiosis; Cooperation; Ant Acacia
Oct 24
Oceans; Food web; Coral; Cephalopods; Video
Guide to A Door 

In vitro fertilization; Nonreproductive sex in nature
 Acid dissociation. Ocean pH; pH2; pH3
Door into Ocean, Parts I, II, III
Oceans; Base Pairs; Sex
Oct 26

Hemoglobin/CO2 ; Hemoglobin; CO2 buffer; Octopus
Environment: Recovery; Lake Erie; Drugs in water

Door into Ocean (complete)
Oct 31
PPT_10A. NonviolencePeople Power; Tahrir Square
From Dictatorship to Democracy
Primates: 2001; Divergence; Gorillas; Bonobos.
Genome; Molecules; DIY Biology
Review for Test 2 -- Extra Review Thursday 12:00 Peirce
Nov 02
Nov 07
PPT_11A Jurassic Park. Cloning Dinosaurs.  Amber
DNA Quiz; DNA; Costa Rica
Feather Display
; People; Dino bones
Jurassic Park 
Intro and text till header "VERSION 4.4"

Nov 09

Dinos; Hot or Cold? Sex selection. PCRWeb Projects.  
Download: KompoZer-PC or KompoZer-MAC

Practice Molecular Biology. Genome; Biomolecules; Cancer; DNA Quiz; Cloning; Paternity; BLAST.

Muscle Baby (Complete)
Web Proposal Due
Nov 16
PPT_12B; More DNA Practice. 
Human Genome.
Dinosaur: Return to Life?
Nov 28

PPT_13A; Cloning humans. Mask. 
What price immortality? Stem cells; Eye Gene Therapy
What's Lysine? Amino Acids; Ribosome

KompoZer Help: 3:30-4:00 (Optional but recommended)

Beyond Therapy
(Preface & Chapter 1)
*Nov 30
Class till
X-files: Postmodern Prometheus
Embryos; Drosophila; Hox1; The Fly
Ligers; Chimeras; Zoo

Brain and sensation. Opsins. Max LifeFantastic Voyage
Emerging diseases. AIDS Quilt; Lentivectors
X-linked genes. Pedigrees Infrared: IR Photography
Art/Biology Controversy: Sensation exhibit.
Brain Plague  Ch. 1-15
Dec 07
Dopamine; Nicotine, Cocaine; Hedweb; Slope Curves

Growth: S curve 
Sleep & Drugs; Drugs at Mouse Party

Brain Plague (complete)
Dec 12
Brain power: Brainwaves; Brain reading; Brain remote
Machine AI. Robots evolve; Mind Children. MIPS
Brain power
Measure of a Man.
Web Project: Tues-Midnight
Final edits: Thurs-Midnight
Dec 14


Web projects.  Review.  HIV Lentivector Fights Cancer
Course evaluation.

Practice for Test 3
Dec 20

8:30 AM or 6:30 PM Test 3

Test 3 -- exam week

Required texts.  eBook purchase here:

The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells.
Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut
Dune, by Frank Herbert
Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
A Door into Ocean, by Joan Slonczewski
Brain Plague, by Joan Slonczewski

CASIO fx-260 Calculator required. Bring to every class. (Available at Bookstore).
On line: 
Study Guide and linked readings (right column).

Tests. The three 80-minute tests are based on the Study Guide, the books, and on the math assignments. Students need to apply principles to new examples.

WEB PROJECT. A creative web project will address a compelling question about biology. May be fictional or scientific.  Use KompoZer (download freeware) to author project on Biology web site.
The project must:
(1) include principles of real biology learned in class
(2) include mathematical reasoning.

(3) Approximately 2,000 words plus images and references.

ATTENDANCE. 100% attendance is expected. Two absences are excused for sports or other reasons, but you are responsible for all material missed.


COURSE REQUIREMENTS. Your grade is based on the following. No pass/fail.

40% Three tests. Each test consists of science and math questions based on the books and homework.

20% Pandora Assignments. Each Pandora assignment must be submitted through Moodle by 12:00 Midnight BEFORE class. Must represent solely your own work.

20% Web Project. Due 12:00 Midnight BEFORE December 12.

10% Quizzes on line and Surveys in class. On-line quizzes are submitted through Moodle by 12:00 midnight BEFORE class. May be retaken until you get 100% (until date due).
In-class Surveys are unannounced.

10% Attendance and Participation. Attendance must include full class period.  Participation may include a 5-minute presentation on a relevant topic, or a guest blog post.

How to do well in this class. Attend 100% of classes; complete 100% of work on time; and sleep 8 hours per night. 

Standards for Projects and Tests. The standard College guidelines on individual authorship and plagiarism apply to all work, as stated in the Student Handbook 12-13. Web projects must cite all sources in detail comparable to that of a term paper. Content will run through Turnitin.

No electronic cheating. It may look easy--but you'll be expelled from class. Don't be like Harvard.

Disabilities. If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may affect your ability to carry out assigned course work, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 5453. The Coordinator of Disability Services, Erin Salva, will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are appropriate. All information and documentation of disability is confidential.

Technology in science fiction: Technovelgy