Science in today's world

Undergraduate course

Course description

Learning Outcomes

By doing the course reading, participating actively in discussions, and carrying out a team term project, the student should be able to:


  • Discuss the benefits as well as the limitations of scientific inquiry and appreciate the complexities of defining science and of separating science from ideology.
  • Explicate differences and similarities between applied and basic research, and between science and technology.
  • Discuss and exemplify how science interacts with commercial interests, societal interests, and government in science-related controversies such as those over global climate change.
  • Explain different perceptions of risk, uncertainty, measurements and estimates, and the problems raised by differences in such perceptions in debates on science-related social controversies.


  • Critically assess "knowledge" derived from science, pseudoscience, and our own senses.
  • Inquire into a topical issue with a scientific dimension, and discuss it in the context of central concepts and issues related to scientific practices and interactions between science and the wider society.
Grading Scale
Pass / Fail