FT 05-T Scientists and Their Discoveries
Robert Olsen, Department of Chemistry
In this course we will examine some of the important discoveries in science focusing on the lives of some famous scientists and the experiments and observations they performed. We will try to answer such questions as: Who discovered what, and why? What was so important about the discovery? What difference did the discovery make in the history of science? Along the way we will encounter some unusual figures: the astronomer with the golden artificial nose, the physicist who claimed to communicate with the dead (and claimed to have the photographs to prove it!), and the geologist whose favorite snack was grilled mice on toast. By the end of the semester, in addition to learning lots of interesting factoids, we will have clarified our ideas about how science and scientists work. Where possible we will go into the laboratory and try to repeat some of that work ourselves. Class work will include papers, both short and long, oral reports and laboratory work. No background in science or mathematics beyond that required for Wabash admission is needed. Hopefully, however, enrollment will signify a willingness to experiment.