This liberal arts capstone seminar will examine how several science has been represented in literature (fiction, drama and a graphic novel) centering on the idea of utopia and social problems generated by science and the marketplace. For example, General Motors' Futurama exhibit in the 1939 World's Fair promised a vision of suburbia and car culture. Years later, the carbon-intensive lifestyle of suburbia has intensified global warming. Einstein's ideas of general relativity (and similar theories) are 'beautiful' (we will be reading Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams) but they led to the atomic bomb (in the work of Robert Oppenheimer, a main character
in Fallout, our graphic novel). Other topics to be covered include neo-Darwinism and the adapted mind and its challenge to altruism, robotics and Artificial Intelligence, the possibilities and dangers of genetically modified food, and the computer revolution and e-waste.
As a writing-intensive course, students will create a critical thinking blog and write a longer research paper using a variety of sources including journalism, scholarly essays, film clips, connecting their research to an imaginative text from the syllabus (a novel, short story, film or graphic novel).