New Freshman Honors Course Offering Fall 2003:
The Genomics Evolution and Revolution: Scientists, Discoveries, and Societal Impact (V50.0304; call # 74685)

Time: Wednesdays, 12:30-3:00 pm, September 4 to December 3, 2003

Location: A new high-tech classroom (204) in 194 Mercer!

Description: With advances in science and technology, the biological sciences occupy center stage, linking not only basic to applied research, and applied research to commercial success and economic growth, but also the biological sciences to the chemical, physical, mathematical and computer sciences. The many concerted initiatives in genomics, in particular, like sequencing various organisms, identifying genes in humans and analogues in other species, determining variations (polymor-phisms) in human genes related to disease, and designing drugs for specific gene products, have immense ramifications on every aspect of our lives - from health to technology to law. Though progress appears to have been revolutionary in the past decade, such developments have evolved from foundations laid by many pioneers in the biochemical sciences and allied fields. This course, appropriate for scientists and nonscientists, will explore through a series of books, plays, and films three aspects of these scientific developments: the science pioneers, from Watson and Crick to Feynman to Elion - their lives, struggles, and triumphs; the scientific discoveries - from Mendel's genetics to the DNA double helix structure to the human genome project; and the societal impact of these discoveries - from individually tailored drugs to human cloning to age-extension miracles. Together, the readings and other materials from the arts and the sciences will expose students to the complex web of scientific discovery, including the personal dimensions in research, the mixture of serendipitous and systematic progress, and connections between the sciences and arts.

Texts and Format: A reading list of texts and articles will be assigned and must be read before class. Class format includes lectures, open discussion, film and music clips. See separate schedule. This and other information specifically for the class is available on the Blackboard system (

Homework and Exams: Weekly reading of books and articles, midterm and final exams. Final exam requires class presentations and written report.

Grading: (tentative) Class participation in presentations and discussion (60%), midterm (20%), final (20%).

Instructor: Tamar Schlick is Professor of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Computer Science. Her field of research is the ap-plication of computational approaches to the study of structure and function of biological macromolecules, especially regulatory DNA/protein complexes related to transcription initiation and DNA replication and repair. She has recently published a text-book entitled Molecular Modeling: An Interdisciplinary Guide (Springer, New York, 2002). Among her honors are the Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award in Chemistry, Outstanding Woman in Science, Burroughs Wellcome Visiting Professor, John Simon Guggenheim fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Alfred P. Sloan fellow, NYU Distinguished Recent Alumi, NSF Presidential Young Investigator, Searle and Whitaker scholars. See group web site on for research activities.

Lecture by Dr. Charles Cantor, December 3, 2003

    For further information, see class website via linked from Instructor can be reached by email at