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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Benjamin Aaronson
GEN ST 297
Seattle Campus

Undergraduate Seminar

Small-group discussion with faculty representing a wide spectrum of academic disciplines. Topics include faculty's research techniques or findings, concentrated reading in his/her area of interest, or illustrated problems and alternative related to the study of a particular academic discipline. Class structure varies based on instructor. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This seminar will explore revolutions in the fields of astronomy, physics, psychology, genetics, and evolution, through the original writings and worlds of thinkers such as Galileo, Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, Pavlov, Freud, Darwin, Poincaré, and Faraday. It will examine paradigm shifts in fundamental areas of science, focusing on the concept of scientific revolutions as described by Thomas Kuhn. Students will be introduced to the concept of a scientific paradigm, as well as how paradigms can limit scientific thinking, and how questions, outliers, and divergent theories contribute to scientific revolutions. As the relationship between theory and facts is foundational to any area of inquiry, the course is designed for science majors and non-science majors alike.

Student learning goals

Understand the concept of a scientific paradigm

Understand how paradigms can limit scientific thinking

Understand how questions, outliers, and divergent theories contribute to scientific revolutions

Examine general and specific factors that contribute to trends and shifts in scientific thinking

Learn to go beyond secondary and tertiary sources by examining the primary writings of key scientific thinkers

General method of instruction

Class time will be primarily used for small group discussion and brief presentations of ideas. Students may also be asked to make a short presentation to the class.

Recommended preparation

The course is designed for science majors and non-science majors alike.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be expected to complete readings each week and to write a short essay (250 words or less) answering a key question relating to the readings.

Weekly essays and ongoing engagement in classroom discussion will indicate student progress. Class is pass/fail.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Benjamin Aaronson
Date: 12/25/2012