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Frontiers of Science

Frontiers of Science

Chair (fall): Prof. Emlyn Hughes,718 Pupin Laboratories; 854-0796

Chair (spring): Prof. Don Melnick, 11th Floor Schermerhorn Ext.; 854-8186

SCNC C1000 and SCNC C1100: Frontiers of science is a one-semester course that integrates modern science into the Core Curriculum. The course includes lectures and seminar sections. On Mondays throughout the semester, each of Columbia’s leading scientists present a mini-series of lectures. During the rest of the week, senior faculty and Columbia post-doctoral science fellows (research scientists selected for their teaching abilities) lead seminar sections limited to twenty-two students to discuss the lecture and its associated readings, and debate the implications of the most recent scientific discoveries. Frontiers of science satisfies one of the three required courses of the science requirement for Columbia College.

Registration Procedure

All information concerning registration in SCNC C1000 is included in the registration materials sent to students. All first-year students are preregistered in Frontiers of science (one half of the alphabet in each semester).  Prospective science majors, who in their first-year are enrolled in:

  1. Literature Humanities
  2. A mathematics course
  3. A language course at the elementary II level or above (i.e. CHNS C1112, GERM V1102, SWHL W3302, etc.)
  4. One of the following science major sequences:

may petition the Committee on Science Instruction to be allowed to postpone taking Frontiers of science until their sophomore year. Students wishing to petition should do so in 208 Hamilton Hall.

Courses of Instruction

SCNC C1000 Frontiers of science (4 points). Taught by members of the natural science departments and Columbia post-doctoral science fellows. Corequisite: SCNC C1101 Frontiers of science discussion. The principal objectives of Frontiers of science are to engage students in the process of discovery by exploring topics at the forefront of science and to inculcate or reinforce the specific habits of mind that inform a scientific perspective on the world. Sample topics include the evolution of human language, brain dynamics, global climate change, the nanoworld, and biodiversity, among others.