The yearly --indeed, daily-- advances in the sciences are rarely studied as broad phenomena, though typically a working scientist has a good idea of subdisciplinary progress and the state of the controversies and frontiers near his or her own research areas. Probably most active scientists follow Science and Nature in a desultory way, though I'd guess that few take the time to read much outside their own disciplines. And science students (to say nothing of students in the humanities and social sciences) generally have no connection to the emergent history of science, recent or archival, in their main fields of study or otherwise. The consequences of this are disciplinary nearsightedness and generalized scientific illiteracy --the antithesis of what liberal education aims to foster.
I wish to propose an interdisciplinary course that examines the moving frontiers though practical use of readily available discovery and analysis tools. We have at our fingertips an unprecedented and vastly powerful array of information resources which enable us to monitor, analyze, synthesize, and communicate about the evolution of scientific knowledge. To maximize the utility of the large sums allocated to access to research literature, these discovery tools should be better known and much more widely used in teaching and learning, particularly in the day-to-day work of liberal arts faculty.
This is intended as a HANDS ON course, with one lecture and one computer practicum in each week. Students will develop practical information management skills, and will create demonstrations of effective use of electronic and print resources, and thus contribute to the existing array of support materials for general use. Student projects will trace specific cases of discovery, communication, and ramification. Students will explore the present and recent past of scientific communication using
Among the topics to be addressed, generally as lectures:
Addendum, 4 April: Mapping Knowledge Domains, a PNAS Colloquium... with many papers which relate directly to the subject matter of this course.
Several books in and around Thomas Kuhn:
AUTHOR Fuller, Steve, 1959- TITLE Thomas Kuhn : a philosophical history for our times IMPRINT Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2000. CALL NO. Q175 .F927 2000. AUTHOR Kuhn, Thomas S. TITLE The road since structure : philosophical essays, 1970-1993, with an autobiographical interview / Thomas S. Kuhn ; edited by James Conant and John Haugeland. IMPRINT Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2000. CALL NO. Q175 .K94 2000. TITLE Paradigms and revolutions : appraisals and applications of Thomas Kuhn's philosophy of science / Gary Gutting, editor. IMPRINT Notre Dame : University of Notre Dame Press, c1980. CALL NO. Q175.3 .P37. TITLE World changes : Thomas Kuhn and the nature of science / edited by Paul Horwich. IMPRINT Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 1993. CALL NO. Q175.3 .T48 1993. AUTHOR Bird, Alexander, 1964- TITLE Thomas Kuhn / Alexander Bird. IMPRINT Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2000. CALL NO. Q175 .B547 2000.
Current Classics "is a listing of papers (one in each field) having the greatest absolute increase in cumulative citations from the previous bimonthly period to now. A total of up to 10 years of ISI Essential Science Indicators Web product citation data, plus some number of consecutive bimonthly periods during the current year, are used to determine the Current Classic paper selected for each field."
Citation Indexes for Science Eugene Garfield Science, Vol. 122, No. 3159. (Jul. 15, 1955), pp. 108-111.
HistComp: Index of HistCite Evaluations
Thing knowledge : a philosophy of scientific instruments
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2004
Q185 .B24 2004