Principles of Biology (Biology 102)


Office: Park Rm. 211
Phone: (610) 526-5090

Office: Park Rm. 210
Phone: (610) 526-5095

M 20 January Macromolecules and information flow
W 22 January Enzyme structure and regulation of activity
F 24 January Origin of Life

M 27 January Relationship of genotype and phenotype
W 29 January The nature vs. nurture issue: heritability
F 31 January The chromosome theory and sex linkage

M 3 February Sex determination at the genetic level
W 5 February Protein synthesis and the genetic code
F 7 February Epigenesis: regulation of gene expression

M 10 February Genetic engineering and biotechnology: technique and methods
W 12 February Genetic engineering and biotechnology: applications

F 14 February EXAM #1

M 17 February Origins of variation: mutations and recombination
W 19 February Gene maps and the human genome project
F 21 February Cancer and oncogenes

M 24 February Why cells and organisms age
W 26 February AIDS and the immune system
F 28 February Diversity 1: Prokaryotes: bacteria and archae

M 3 March Diversity 2: Protists: sex and multicellularity
W 5 March Diversity 3: Plants and fungi
F 7 March Diversity 4: Animals

MWF 10-14 March Spring Break

M 17 March Cell biology: organelle function W 19 March Cell biology: cytoskeleton and motility

F 21 March EXAM #2

M 24 March Cell biology: transport across plasma membranes W 26 March Cell-cell communication: neurotransmitters and hormones F 28 March Cell-cell communication: second messengers and receptors

M 31 March Vertebrate animal: tissue groups W 2 April Nervous system: electrical activity F 4 April Sensory perception and motor response

M 7 April Endocrinology: hypothalamus: pituitary axis
W 9 April Comparative physiology: digestion
F 11 April Comparative physiology: respiration

M 14 April Comparative physiology: circulation
W 16 April Comparative physiology: excretion and water balance

F 18 April EXAM #3

M 21 April Comparative physiology: temperature regulation W 23 April Circadian rhythms
F 25 April Genes and behavior

M 28 April Animal communication
W 30 April Ecology: energy flow and nutrient recycling F 2 May Ecology: population dynamics

FINAL EXAM (May 9, 1997; 9 am - 12 pm; Room 25 Park)

Supplemental Reading Assignments

  • The Molecules of the Cell Matrix by Weber and Osborn, Sci. Am., October 1985.
  • How Cells Absorb Glucose by Lienhard et al., Sci. Am., January 1992.
  • The Molecular Basis of Communication between Cells by Synder, Sci. Am., October 1985
  • The Molecular Basis of Communication within the Cell by Berridge, Sci. Am., October 1985
  • The Heart as an Endocrine Gland by Cantin and Genest, Sci. Am., February 1986
  • The Thermostat of Vertebrate Animals by Heller, Crawshaw and Hammel, Sci. Am, February 1978
  • Molecular Biological Clocks by Takahashi and Hoffman, American Scientist, March-April 1995.

    Course Philosophy.

    This course builds upon ideas and perspectives introduced in Biology 101, and provides additional study of important concepts in areas of biology and the interrelationships among the various sub-disciplines of biology and related sciences.

    Course Content and Reading.

    This course consists of lectures and laboratory sessions, a reference textbook of biology which you should purchase (Biology by Helena Curtis and Susan Barnes, 5th edition) and supplementary reading suggestions. Curtis and Barnes is an excellent reference textbook, but like all textbooks, treats many subjects at a greater level of detail than we believe either necessary or appropriate for the objectives of this course. The same is true of suggestions for supplementary reading. For this reason, you should take the material in lectures and laboratory sessions as the defining feature of the core content of the course. In thinking through this material, however, you will find it helpful to supplement the lecture and laboratory material with significant reading of the reference textbook and additional material. Although we will make no explicit reading assignments, for each lecture or set of lectures we will provide you with a listing of appropriate sections of your reference text that you may find helpful to read in advance of lecture.


    Consistent with the philosophy of this course, examinations will be structured to encourage you to consider the relations between observations and ideas. In general, you will be required to display the kind of concern for concrete observations that is fundamental to scientific discourse which, necessarily, also requires a basic understanding of the vocabulary of the science of biology. A typical question might, for example, ask you what particular observations would support a particular conclusion. Such a question might be answered in terms of observations described in lecture, but could equally well be answered by clear descriptions of relevant observations gained from your readings or elsewhere. Usually, questions will be of a problem solving type, including multiple choice, short answer and essay formats.

    Grading Policy.

    Diversity is fundamental to biological systems at all levels of organization (including that of human societies). It follows necessarily from this that no single measure can adequately reflect the distinctive efforts and achievements of any individual taking a given course, nor can your grade in any given course be taken as an adequate indicator of your performance in other contexts. The grade you receive for this course will be based on your performance on a series of one-hour examinations, a cumulative final examination and in laboratory. Each of these three components is worth one-third of your final grade for Principles of Biology. During the semester, grades will be reported as percentages of available points. It has been our experience that final percentages in the range of 90% and above have in the past typically translated into final grades of 4.0, those in the range of 75% into grades of 3.0, those in the vicinity of 62% into grades of 2.0 and those in the range of 50% into grades of 1.0. Grades below 50% are considered as failing. You should take this score as only one measure of your performance, taking into account, as well, your distinctive objectives and your own sense of what you have achieved in relation to them. Should you have questions about the significance of your grades in relation to career objectives, faculty members would be happy to discuss these with you. However, our general experience is that extended discussions of the legitimacy of particular grades is not only unproductive but detracts from the broad perspective on life and its challenges which this course is intended to encourage.

    Examination Review Policy.

    When each one-hour examination is returned to you, please take time immediately to examine it for mathematical accuracy. Also read the comments provided by your instructors. If you should have any questions about how your answers were interpreted or if you have detected a mathematical error, you will have ONE WEEK from the time each examination is returned to see your instructors for possible adjustments. After the one week time frame, the percentage values for any particular one-hour examination will be considered final.

    Make-Up Examinations.

    Because of the size of this course, it is not possible to make individual arrangements for make-up examinations. If you should become ill or experience a family emergency, you must provide your instructor either with a written explanation of the nature of your problem or with a DeanUs excuse within one week of the scheduled date of the missed examination. In these cases we will excuse the missed exam and factor your remaining two one-hour examinations as one-third of your final grade. Please note that this option is available to you only once during the semester. Missed examinations not accompanied by a written explanation or a DeanUs excuse will be counted as a zero and will be included in the determination of your final grade. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS to the policy of not providing individual make-up examinations.