Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

Science Communication and Innovation


We are in the midst of a scientific revolution that is changing our world in profound and previously unimaginable ways. Science innovation and communication are driving this change, contributing to our understanding of our natural world, who we are, and what is possible. Science provides the foundation for a vibrant economy, for a more effective health care system, for enlightened environmental stewardship, for a sustainable energy supply, for an improved standard of living, for innovation in the arts and, remarkably, even for the creation of new living systems. From molecular anthropology and molecular medicine to molecular zoology and all scientific disciplines in between, we are beginning to sense, understand, and exploit our molecular frontier while at the same time peering at the outer edges of our cosmos.

This seminar seeks to explore the world of science innovation and how that world is conveyed to the public. We will start with some discussions of a few of the grand challenges in science, then identify and interview several thought leaders in industry and academia. We will, at the same time, explore how scientific innovation could be better conveyed to the public, to students, and to those who set science policy. Students will participate in all aspects of the course including discussions, occasional presentations, interviews with scientists, and drafting ideas or publications (possibly a science magazine) on cutting-edge science, scientists, and science education and communication. Science is not just for scientists but also for those who wish to better understand our world and create transformative change. Indeed, science writing and education provide the basis for many emerging artistic innovations and directions. Simply put, this seminar is intended to introduce the next generation of innovators and communicators to future challenges and opportunities in science, science education, and science communication. 


Meet the Instructor(s)

Paul Wender

Paul Wender is the Bergstrom Professor of Chemistry and, by courtesy, of chemical and systems biology. His research involves studies in chemistry, biology, medicine, and materials science. His group is interested in the design of molecules that exhibit unique biological activity and transformative, first-in-class therapeutic potential (HIV/AIDS eradication, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer immunotherapy). Professor Wender is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association of Arts and Sciences. He cofounded CellGate, a now acquired biotech company, and also serves on numerous science advisory boards. This seminar grew out of an idea for a student-run science publication directed at exploiting science innovation and developing science writers who could better educate the global community about the potential of science to transform our world.