Albert Einstein has become the icon of modern science. Following his scientific, cultural, philosophical, and political trajectory, this course aims to track the changing role of physics in the 20th- and 21st- centuries. Addresses Einstein's engagement with relativity, quantum mechanics, Nazism, nuclear weapons, philosophy, and technology, and raises basic questions about what it means to understand physics and its history. This is a hybrid course that will combine online lessons with an active, participatory class structure.
Examination of the theory and practice of capturing scientific practice on film. Topics will include fictional, documentary, informational, and instructional films and raise problems emerging from film theory, visual anthropology and science studies. Each student will make and edit short film(s) about laboratory, field, or theoretical scientific work.
This course focuses on an extraordinary body of work by Thomas Pynchon, including "Entropy," "Crying of Lot 49," "Gravity’s Rainbow," and "Mason and Dixon." By studying this work we explore Pynchon’s vision of modernity, but also important themes in the history of science and in philosophy. We will grapple with communication, surveying, and weaponization of science in the twentieth century on the one hand, and with clashing accounts of explanation on the other. How (for example) does one explain the pattern of V2 rocket-bombs exploding around London in World War II?Read more about HS 292: The Physics of Fiction: Pynchon, Narrative, Theory
Over the course of the last hundred years-from World War I to the present-the world has assembled a massive system of state secrecy, censorship, security and surveillance. This course introduces the problem, tracking not only how the national and now global system of watching and archiving came into place, but exploring the consequences of this apparatus for identity, deliberation, and democracy.