Making Sense of Life
Fall, 2006




Welcome to the home page for a one-semester introductory biology course at Bryn Mawr College, fall semester, 2006.

Students (and visitors) should be aware that this is a "non-traditional" science course in several respects (see Science As Story Telling in Action for further background).

The course is organized in relation to the following general presumptions (see syllabus for specifics):

  • Biology, like all science, is an ongoing process of trying to make sense of the world and one's relation to it by a recursive and unending process of making observations, summarizing the observations, and using the summaries to motivate new observations.

  • Biology is of interest and is accessible to everyone, and is an essential tool in the repertoire of anyone who is themself trying to make sense of who they are and how they relate to the world around them.

  • Biology, like all science, is best assimilated by a process in which students themselves work through in their own minds and in relation to their own experiences and understandings relevant observations and the summaries of those observations suggested by others. Education, like science, should be an ongoing process of making observations, summarizing the observations, and using the summaries to motivate new observations.

  • Biology, like all science, is a social process, one in which the observations and tentative summaries are shared among individuals, so that each can benefit from the ongoing inquiries of others.

  • For these reasons, students (like faculty) will be expected to actively engage in all aspects of the course, including making thoughts in progress available not only to other students in the course but to the world at large by way of an on-line forum and web papers.

Course Announcements/Evolution:

Welcome to Biology 103. And to thinking about science, and about life, and to trying to make sense of their relation to one another, and to ... Browse around, be sure to read the course presumptions, and let's see what we can together do that's interesting, productive, and fun (those being the same thing?) 11 September: 25 September: 9 October: 11 October:

23 October:

  • Welcome back, hope everyone had good fall break
  • Many web papers available (list with titles to come)
  • Comments on web papers have been emailed
  • Labs this week as normal
  • First lab report due next week in lab
  • Annabella's song to come ...
6 November
  • Still having some trouble with posted web papers. Check yours, revise/repost as necessary, following instructions
  • Second web paper deadline: any time between 13 November and 20 November
Forum Archive (to emerge/evolve)
(Click here for complete course forum)
  1. Thinking about science
  2. Thinking about life
  3. Spatial scale and diversity
  4. Temporal scale and evolution
  5. Evolution
  6. Fall break thoughts
  7. Atoms and molecules
  8. Macromolecules, hearts, and organisms

Laboratory Archive (to emerge/evolve)
  1. Darwin's Voyage Revisited
  2. Darwin's Voyage Revisited Revisited
  3. From Organisms to Cells: Size Relations
  4. Very Small Space/Time Scales: Randomness and its Importance
  5. Ongoing Change at Larger Scales: ‚hemical Reactions and Enzymes
  6. Oneself as a Biological Entity. I. The Heart and Its Control

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