This 4-credit course brings together topics from Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Natural Systems, and Social Systems in the context of real world scientific issues. Students will be expected to grapple with the scientific underpinnings of complex problems, including issues surrounding Clean Water, Climate Change, Energy Demands, and Disease and Biomedicine. Case studies will serve as the format/foundation in which students will learn and use fundamental scientific principles to investigate these challenges and quantify the scientific contributions to solutions. The case studies pursued will have political, social, and economic relevance, allowing for the study of scientific concepts and methods as they impact our society. (Gen. Ed. I) There are no prerequisites, but admission to the iCons Program is required, by application, in the semester prior to enrolling in iCons 1.
iCons 2 engages students in written and oral communication skill-building, emphasizing the different demands placed on scientists when we interact with scientists from our own discipline, other disciplines, younger students, and with the general public. For most departments in the College of Natural Sciences and College of Engineering, iCons 2 fulfills the Junior Year Writing requirement. Students develop the ability to create, articulate and write logical arguments to scientists and non-scientists. This necessitates learning to listen and speak well with scientists from other fields, and to give and receive constructive criticism. Work on theme-based projects is produced both individually and in teams, helping each student build their own skill set while building on progress from iCons 1.