The uses and abuses of science in society
Science, Discovery and the Universe challenges students to question the origin and development of the universe, exploring the processes behind science, particularly astronomy, through interactive investigations, thoughtful discussions and reflections on their perceptions and comprehension.
Students integrate the powerful tools of scientific inquiry with history, psychology, statistics, politics, and religion to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of science and its uses and abuses in society. Students examine recent discoveries and are introduced to research techniques used by astronomers, geologists, physicists, engineers and others involved in the study of the cosmos on large and small scales. Students are also exposed to the limitations of how science is portrayed in museums, journalism and education.
SDU welcomes students from all majors who want to think critically about the intersection of science, exploration, and communication in the process of discovery.
Experiential learning excursions inspire students to observe and analyze scientific developments. Students visit the University of Maryland Observatory, the Baltimore Aquarium, the Howard B. Owens Science Center Planetarium, and may take an annual overnight trip to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia, where students learn how to use a 40-foot radio telescope to analyze 21 cm hydrogen emission from clouds in the Milky Way.
Students are encouraged to pursue research and internships toward a practicum. In the past, students have worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, experimented with ferroelectric memory research on campus, studied bower bird behavior, searched for supernovae at the UMD observatory, studied the feasibility of commercial space development, and worked on all kinds of primary research in laboratories with senior researchers.
Colloquium and Lecture Topics
- The “Global Warming is a Myth” Myth
- The U.S. National Space Policy
- Astronomy and Religion, the Science of Easter
- Astrobiology and Viking Science
- Inherent Unconscious Bias in Museum Displays
- Astronomy in Architecture
- Astronomy in Art
The following table represents a typical four-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the Science, Discovery and the Universe Citation Checklist.
|Freshman Fall||Freshman Spring|
|Scholars Colloquium||1||Scholars Colloquium||1|
|4-5 Courses toward degree and major requirements (must include natural science with lab by the end of sophomore year)||12-15||4-5 Courses toward degree and major requirements||12-15|
|Sophomore Fall||Sophomore Spring|
|Scholars Colloquium||1||Scholars Practicum||1-3|
|4–5 Courses toward degree and major requirements||12-15||4–5 Courses toward degree and major requirements||12-15|