Vashti Sawtelle from the University of Maryland, College Park will present our Physics College on Thursday, October 11th at Noon in Tome 115. She will present "Progress Through Paradox: Reconciling Interdisciplinary Perspectives". Free pizza and everyone is welcome to attend.
Abstract: Recent national reports reflect an emerging consensus among scientists and educators that undergraduate science education needs to better prepare students to reason and communicate across disciplines. Enacting this change requires creating courses for students that attempt to bridge disciplinary barriers rather than reinforce them. At the University of Maryland, our interdisciplinary team of scientists and education researchers has begun the daunting task of thoughtfully redesigning and researching the transformation of an introductory physics course for biologists. In doing so, we are constantly faced with making decisions about how the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and biology interact and differ from one another. In this talk I will present several apparent paradoxes between physics and biology that we have examined in the context of redesigning this course, and discuss how we have taken up the challenge of helping students in reconciling perspectives from both physics and biology. We will discuss how taking up this challenge has led to a changing perspective on what we think is important for biology students to know from physics, and how that has informed development of this physics for biologists course.