Spring 2018

“According to Science…” ; Scientific Communication and Literacy in Biology

Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-250

Moodle site: Course


Dianne T. Pater (Section 01)


We’ve all seen the headlines claiming that scientists have proven everything from coffee consumption increasing your lifespan, sugar being as addictive as cocaine, and Alzheimer’s being caused by lack of sleep. In this course we will review media coverage of scientific findings and contrast that coverage with the primary literature upon which the articles or documentaries were based. Students will have the opportunity to lead discussion and present independent literature research in both oral and written format. Students will be encouraged to further improve their science communications skills by publishing their findings to a class blog. 

Requisite: Two Amherst College introductory level courses in the fields of Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. Limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. This course does not count toward the Biology major. Spring semester. Professor Pater.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to seniors and juniors. Efforts will be made to balance majors from biology, chemistry, and physics. This course does not count toward the Biology major.


Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2019-20: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018, Spring 2019