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Unit of study_

SCIE1001: Sydney Science 2050: Towards the Future

Climate change, disease outbreaks, public health challenges, mass movements of people, renewable energy, sustainable cities, social media and AI and automation are some examples of the "wicked problems" that we all face as we move through 21C. Science provides many of the solutions to these challenges, yet sceptics and deniers continue to flourish. What is it about many scientific claims that often generate mistrust and confusion in the broader public? Creating and communicating valid scientific evidence and arguments requires a skilful balance of truth, objectivity and evidence. Science is not black and white becausewicked problems have not only scientific but also economic, historical, social, legal, environmental and moral dimensions. In this unit you willdevelop skills used to address challenging problems and consider the ethical, political, social and regulatory issues that create further complexity. You will work together with students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to explore case studies and conduct experiments around campus. You will learn how data collection and models are used to create knowledge anddevelop core skills in scientific and critical thinking. You will learn how to leverage ways of interdisciplinary and inter-cultural thinking and points of view to communicate your decisions to a variety of professional and lay audiences. These are skills that enable to you to make valuable contributions to future society no matter what your career.

Code SCIE1001
Academic unit History and Philosophy of Science Academic Operations
Credit points 6

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Use epistemic concepts such as objectivity and evidence and explain how they are relevant to scientific research.
  • LO2. Explore the use, misuse and limitations of science, mathematics and statistics in decision making. Topics covered will include the authority and mystic of science, false positives and negative test results, the counter intuitive nature of statistical outcomes, and uncertainties inherent in the scientific process.
  • LO3. Explain and appreciate the uncertainties inherent in the scientific process and the place of conditional probabilities and Bayesian logic
  • LO4. Articulate the power of science for understanding and manipulating the world and the impact on local, global and international communities. Examples to be used include Sydney Science contributions such as gravitational waves, rust in wheat, renewable energy.
  • LO5. Describe the influence of social, moral and political contexts on science and be inclusive of knowledge systems which are non-science and are important in decisions.
  • LO6. Use technologies and design experiments to collect data and solve simple and complex science problems on the Camperdown campus.
  • LO7. Analyse and appreciate how mathematical models explain systems and the values associated with their use.
  • LO8. Identify, describe and communicate the nature of interdisciplinary problems where science has made impact in industry, and regulatory practice. For example, asbestos, neuronal disorders, climate change, health and well-being.
  • LO9. Describe scientific knowledge is used in policy formulation and the constraints on policy-makers and other real-world actors.