This course, open to all majors, will explore the role of ethics in the biological and physical sciences, emphasizing current topics and case studies. In the first half of the course we will focus on ethics within the scientific community – how science is conducted - with topics including fraud (intentional and unintentional), intellectual property, plagiarism, objectivity vs bias in science, conflicts of interest, and equity.
In the second half of the course will examine ethical issues raised by science – how science is applied - with topics including medical ethics, genetic engineering, and environmental ethics. We will hear from guest speakers several times throughout the quarter, and have opportunities for movie nights to view relevant films and hold post-viewing discussions.
Students will write evaluations on selected case studies and, following in-class discussions, will be given the opportunity to refute or defend their original opinions. There will be readings and associated assignments for each topic.
The required book is available for free download from National Academy Press. Students will earn 2 units upon successful completion of all course requirements.