ID1 Syllabus including Readings and Other Assignments.  

Please refer to the class web site at for more details

about the concepts for this course, the papers, and other topics.

 All readings for each week should be completed before the class when the book section is first discussed.  Readings are identified by their subject rather than their author. 


Week 1: 

 Thurs, Sept 4: organizational meeting, signups to lead discussions, reading of short handout and                                                  in-class reaction paper.  After this class LH will post the discussion leader for each class on the                                                         syllabus on the web site, and it would be a good idea to print a copy out for your reference.

  Week 2: Autobiography of Darwin, chaps 1-4 (through his marriage and return home)

Tues, Sept 9. Writing: Bring the Hacker book to class; read in advance section C2 in Drafting, on drafting an introduction that includes a thesis.  Discussion with LH on constructing a thesis that will provide a structure for a paper.  Examination of examples of theses and evaluation of their merit.

Discussion of the concept of a reaction paper, and of the three major paper assignments for the course (LH).

 Discussion of leading a life of value to self and humanity.  What factors lead to life-satisfaction?  What factors lead to discontent and low self esteem?  What personality traits do we think are characteristic of a successful scientist?  Are these traits likely to lead to a life that is perceived as valuable by the scientist?  Discussion leader: _Chris McAlary______

(see summary of leading a discussion, below. Email thought-provoking questions to others in class and professor by Monday at 5PM.)

Thurs, Sept 11:  Hoopes away at a conference; think about choosing a paper topic for paper #2, for the library work next week. No class meeting.


Week 3: Rest of Darwin’s Autobiography.

 Tues, Sept 16:  

Reaction paper 1 on  Darwin due at start of class (see summary of ID1 writing assignments, below). 

Discussion of Topic list for library work and second big paper (see below on syllabus) by LH.

Discussion of how Darwin handled his changed religious beliefs and the events surrounding publication of his results. Discussion leader:_Mark Evans

Thurs, Sept  18: Visit to the Honnold Library computer room for research orientation.  During the session, material will be presented and then, using the topic you have chosen (see the later portion of this syllabus), work with the reference materials presented to you by the Librarian who is assisting us in the presentation.  Take notes or print out what you find so that you and others interested in that topic can find out what you located.


Week 4:

Pasteur (P. de Kruif, Microbe Hunters ) chap3, chap5. 

Tues, Sept 23:  Reaction paper 2 on Pasteur due at the start of class.

Dr. Hoopes will distribute copies of the peer review forms and describe how to use them.  You will be assigned to a different peer review group for each of the long papers in the course; members of the group will peer review each others’ papers.  Peer review of the first papers will be due next Monday.  LH will score the reviews and the author will use them in revisions.

Writing: Bring Hacker to class.  Review of thesis/support, discussion of strong versus weak theses.    Class creation of our consensus list of the characteristics of a strong thesis.  Discussion of the remainder of section C in Hacker on how to develop a thesis.  Documentation of cited web sites and other materials.

Discussion of the scientific style and ethics shown by Louis Pasteur.  Discussion leader: _Pat Kelly

Thurs, Sept 25.   First longer paper due; hand in 3 copies of the paper; you will receive two papers from the other two people in your first peer review group for you to peer review.  The paper is described below, and is a 3 page paper developing the ideas in one or more of your reaction papers plus class discussions and your own reflections to date into a longer paper.  This paper will be graded, will receive peer reviews, and will be rewritten and regraded.

Discussion of showmanship in science as exhibited by Pasteur: is it an important ingredient of success? Discussion leader: _Cooper


Week 5:

Watson (J. Watson, The Double Helix)

Tues, Sept 30.  Bring two copies each of two peer reviews of long paper 1 to class; use in discussion and then turn in one copy to the author and one copy to LH. 

LH will discuss the method of peer reviewing using the written peer reviews.

Period devoted to discussions between members of peer review groups of the peer reviews of assigned papers from classmates.

Reminder: At the end of the period, peer reviews are turned in to instructor and to classmate whose paper was reviewed. 

 Thurs Oct 2.    Reaction paper 3 on Watson’s character due at the start of class.

 Discussion of the way (in terms of writing style, self revelation, etc.) that Watson has written about his experiences during the period of DNA discovery; comparison with writing by other scientists.   Discuss whether or not this approach was a good idea.  Discussion leader_Jordan Johnson



Week 6:

 Watson, chap 22 to epilogue; Franklin chaps 1-3.

Tues, Oct 7.

Revision of long paper 1 due today at the start of class.

Writing: Bring Hacker to class.  Look at the description of conclusions as Hacker describes them  for essays, logical arguments, and inductive arguments in section C before class.  Developing a conclusion that does not just restate the paper in 25 words or less; evaluation of examples (LH).

Discussion: Evaluation of lives of worth: for Darwin, Pasteur, Watson, and to the extent we can see her in the material to date, Franklin, would you say they considered their own lives to be lives of meaning and value?  How would you evaluate their lives from your own perspective?  Would you be satisfied with these lives if the events and accomplishments were your own?

Discussion leader:____Cooper

 Thurs, Oct 9.  Discussion of the scientific approach and ethics of Watson and Franklin, and whether or not conclusions can be drawn as to who really should receive credit for the DNA discovery.  Discussion leader:__Chris McAlary


Week 7:

Franklin (A. Sayre, Rosalind Franklin and DNA) chaps 4-11. 

Tues Oct 14:  Reaction paper 4 on Watson and Franklin due at the start of class.

Assignment of peer review groups for the second paper, due Thursday.

Writing: Bring Hacker to class; skim section D before class.  Using powerful rather than wimpy language to describe our thoughts.  Exercise in word choices.  

Discussion of  Rosalind Franklin as a colleague: is this an important issue in evaluating her as a scientist?  How does she compare with the others we have read about?  Discussion leader: _Jordan Johnson

 Thurs, Oct 16:

Due at the start of class today: Second long paper, based on library research, 5 pp.  Topic choices given below in the syllabus.  Bring to class 3 copies of your paper; take away a review copy of the papers written by the two other members of your peer review group.  You will give copies of your peer reviews to Dr. Hoopes and the author of the paper on Tues, Oct 28. 

Today you will have an in-class 30 minute synthesis paper on the reasons why the biologists we have examined so far pursued science, followed by discussion of this topic.  Discussion leader: ___Allison Bailey


Week 8: McClintock,  A Feeling for the Organism, chaps 1-6

Tues, Oct 21.  Fall recess, no class Tuesday.

Thurs Oct 23.  Brief discussion on third long paper interview subjects.

Discussion of family and scientific influences on McClintock as an indicator of her future success early on; also discussion of early peer recognition and how she reacted to it. 

Discussion leader:__Pat Kelly


Week 9: McClintock, A Feeling for the Organism, chaps 7-12.

Tues, Oct 28.   

Reaction paper 5 on McClintock due at the start of class.

Peer reviews of second long paper due to author and LH.

Discussion on McClintock’s drive to pursue science throughout her career and how gender entered into her life planning and success.  Discussion leader: _Jordan Johnson

Thurs, Oct 30.   Discussion  of interviews for third long paper, a 7 page paper due on Dec 2. Development of class list of questions and approaches to use.

Choice of person to interview handed in to LH.


Week 10:

 Francois Jacob, The Statue Within, chapters 1-4. 

Tues, Nov 4. 

Revision of second long paper due at start of class today.

Reaction paper 6 on Jacob due at the start of class.

Assignment  of peer review groups for the third paper.   

Discussion of Jacob’s early experiences and how they interacted with his final career choice.

Discussion leader:__Pat Kelly

Thurs, Nov 6.   Discussion of interview experiences for paper 3 and findings to date. 


Week 11:

 Jacob, chapters 5-end.

Tues, Nov 11. Reaction paper 7 on Jacob due at the start of class.

Discussion of the impact of collaboration with other biologists at the Institut Pasteur upon the career of Francois Jacob and how he thinks about science.  Discussion leader: _Laura Hoopes

Thurs, Nov 13.

Third long paper due to LH and reviewers at the start of class today. 

Discussion of the obstacles to a science career encountered by McClintock, Franklin, and others you have read about and interviewed in preparing your papers, and their strategies for overcoming these obstacles.  Comparison with the situations encountered by the other scientists we have read about this semester, in terms of adversity they dealt with and strategies for coping with adversity.

 Discussion leader: _Mark Evans


Week 12:  Baltimore,

Tues, Nov 18: Reaction paper 8 on Baltimore due at the start of class.

Discussion: David Baltimore has been one of the most successful scientists of our time.  What factors contributed to this success?  Can you trace the roots of his scientific acumen to any early events of his life? Discussion leader: _Cooper

Thurs Nov 20:  Visit with David Baltimore, Nobel laureate and president of CalTech, on campus for major lecture on the future of biology.  If at all possible, attend the major lecture and incorporate material from it into the next reaction paper.


Week 13:Baltimore:  chapter 8-9; Grants and collaborators, The Beak of the Finch,  pp 70-82, 99-112, 190-202. 

Reaction paper 9 on Baltimore due at the start of class.

Peer reviews of third long paper due to LH and authors in class.

Tues, Nov 25.  Discussion of ethical dilemmas in science: how to recognize them, various approaches to handling them, Baltimore’s approaches.  Discussion leader: __Allison Bailey

Thurs, Nov 27: Thanksgiving, no class meeting!  Enjoy the celebration, and be thankful to be a Pomona student and not to have the problems of earlier famous biologists!


Week 14:

Tues Dec 2.   Villa Komaroff, Riggs and Itakura, et al (insulin cloners), Invisible Frontiers pp 230-296 (chaps 16-19).

Reaction paper 10 on the Grants due at the start of class.

Discussion of the reasons why the Grants were pursuing this research and its potential value.  Research at remote locations, pros and cons.    Discussion leader: __Chris McAlary

Thurs, Dec 4.  

Third long paper revision due at the start of class to LH.

Reaction paper 11 on Villa-Komaroff/Gilbert and Riggs/Itakura due at the start of class.  

Discussion of “science for reward and recognition” versus “science as its own reward”, based on comparison of the insulin teams, Watson, Baltimore and others we have studied.  

Discussion leader:  __Mark Evans


Week 15:

Tues, Dec 9; last class.

Mandatory perspective discussion. Review of the list of questions for reflection for the semester; discussion of the individual biologists studied with respect to these questions, as well as where we find ourselves as people and future citizens.

Discussion leader: __Allison Bailey