Personal Essay

For the personal essays, students will choose from a list of novels not discussed in class and research that work’s scientific concepts. Drawing on course material and at least five outside sources, students will situate the text within the larger scientific and social contexts. Students may suggest a work not on the list, but these must be approved by the lecturer.

Students will write a 500 word blog entry and give a brief five minute presentation to the class. These two assignments will be due on a rolling basis throughout the summer session, dependent on when your book is most relevant to the class.

Students will also write a longer essay of 2000-2500 words. These essays should also be submitted as blog entries on our course web page. They are due before class on July 2.

Here is a partial list of books that I suggest:

  • Edwin A. Abbott, Flatland
  • Isaac Asimov, I, Robot
  • Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl 
  • Cyrano de Bergerac,  L’Autre Monde: ou les États et Empires de la Lune (The Other World: or the States and Empires of the Moon)
  • Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama; The Fountains of Paradise
  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World
  • Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent
  • Michael Crichton,  Jurassic Park, Airframe, Prey
  • William Gibson, Neuromancer
  • Harry Harrison, Make Room! Make Room!
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  • Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon
  • Charles Kingsley, The Water Babies
  • Sinclair Lewis, Arrowsmith
  • Primo Levi, The Periodic Table
  • Harriet Martineau, Morals and Manners
  • Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
  • William Morris, Nowhere
  • Larry Niven, Ringworld
  • Larry Niven and Jerry Purnell, Mote in God’s Eye; Footfall; Lucifer’s Hammer
  • Jodi Picoult, My Sisters Keeper
  • Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants
  • Carl Sagan, Contact
  • Upton Sinclair, The Jungle
  • B. F. Skinner, Walden Two
  • Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam
  • Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon, The Adventures of Captain Hatteras
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle
  • H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (or pretty much anything else he wrote)

I welcome further suggestions in the comments below.

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HSCI 3023 by John Stewart History of Science Departent University of Oklahoma

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