Natural Science - Year II

Chat times for 2017-2018
11:00a-12:30p ET/8:00-9:30am PT

Dr. Christe Ann McMenomy

Required and Optional Texts

There are no formal required texts for this course. We will instead do extensive web reading, including readings in original source materials, to get a wide perspective on scientific theories and their cultural interactions.

Optional Supplemental materials

There are a number of good book resources in history of science, but I have not yet found a single, affordable source that covers all of the topics I wanted to include in this course. If you really want a book to fall back on, the following are good summaries, but all bear the problems of most textbooks: they are a single, "high level" vision of a very complex subject. They suffer from the agendas of their authors to promote a particular view, and they often gloss over and oversimplify important issues. [Yes, to some extent, so will I...that's the inherent issue with any survey course. One of the reasons we use websources from many different authors is to minimize any biases my own views may bring to the subject.] With those provisos, you may still want to use the texts below to supplement the course. They are not required, and I will not assign readings from them.

General Science

The DK Science Encyclopedia has excellent illustrations and explationations of scientific concepts and theories. I used to require this text, but it is becoming harder to find.

The Sciences: an Integrated Approach, James Trefil and Robert M. Hazen (John Wiley & Sons). This is a college level course intended to acquaint the reader with the current theories and practice of science. It also provides historical background for many of the discoveries or breakthroughs in each field of science.

Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy, Robert M. Hazen and James Trefil (Anchor Books) is a popularized account of the material in The Sciences: an Integrated Approach. It is a widely available paperback.

All of Isaac Asimov's popularizations (the three-volume Physics, or Genetics, for example) are very readable introductions to each area, although some chapters are now becoming dated by new discoveries.

History of Science

On the Shoulders of Giants, A history of science in five volumes, by Ray Spangenburg and Diane K. Moser (Facts on File). These books provide a high-school level introduction to the history of science. The volumes include

  • The History of Science from the ancient Greeks to the Scientific Revolution
  • The History of Science in the Eighteenth Century
  • The History of Science in the Nineteenth Century
  • The History of Science from 1895 to 1945
  • The History of Science from 1946 to the 1990s

The Story of Science, by Joy Hakim (Published in Association with the National Science Teachers Association). The volumes include

  • Aristotle Leads the Way
  • Newton at the Center
  • Einstein Adds a New Dimension