Monday, February 7, 2011
1) Meinwald, Jerrold and John G. Hildebrand (editors). Science and the Educated American: A Core Component of Liberal Education. 2010. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Paperback: 266 pages. Price: $6.00 U.S. (plus $1.00 U.S. for shipping and handling).
SUMMARY: This volume explores whether American colleges and universities are providing students with the foundation necessary for lifelong scientific learning. Jerrold Meinwald, co-editor of the volume and the Goldwin Smith Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Cornell University, suggests that "we need a widespread reexamination and reevaluation of the contents as well as the methods of presentation employed in science courses designed to be of interest and value for all."
The volume targets university administrators and faculty members who are interested in assessing and improving their institutions' curricula. In particular, detailed descriptions of five university science courses highlight innovative methods for conveying complex science information to non-science majors.
Several common themes emerge in the volume:
*Without a basic level of scientific literacy, the public cannot rely on even the best science journalism and communications to equip them with the ability to make informed decisions about science issues.
*Science courses belong in the liberal arts curriculum for the benefit of both science and non-science majors.
*Teaching science should convey the wonders and rewards of science but also the limits of science and the dangers of misapplying it.
*Science and the humanities have much more in common than is generally appreciated.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in science education. The publication can be ordered or downloaded here: http://www.amacad.org/publications/scienceSLAC.aspx