Technology | BST Global Ideas Blog
Uses a problem-solving, multi-disciplinary, and multicultural approach that takes energy beyond the complex circuits, grids, and kilojoules to the realm of everyday life, with ordinary people as practitioners and producers of energy knowledge, infrastructures, and technologies. Each cohort tackles a different energy problem.
Provides instruction on how to be active shapers of the world and to bring students' various disciplinary skills and cultural diversity into dialogue as conceptual tools for problem-solving. Glasmeier, J. Knox-Hayes, A. Slocum, R. Scheffler, J. Develops students' abilities to communicate science effectively in a variety of real-world contexts.
Covers strategies for dealing with complex areas like theoretical physics, genomics and neuroscience, and addresses challenges in communicating about topics such as climate change and evolution. Projects focus on speaking and writing, being an expert witness, preparing briefings for policy-makers, writing blogs, giving live interviews for broadcast, and influencing public dialogue through opinion-editorials. Project-based seminar covers key topics in museum communication, including science learning in informal settings, the role of artifacts and interactives, and exhibit evaluation.
Students work on a term-long project, organized around the design, fabrication, and installation of an original multimedia exhibit about current scientific research at MIT. Limited to 20; preference to students who have taken STS. Same subject as 8. Explores the changing roles of physics and physicists during the 20th century. Topics range from relativity theory and quantum mechanics to high-energy physics and cosmology. Examines the development of modern physics within shifting institutional, cultural, and political contexts, such as physics in Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany, US efforts during World War II, and physicists' roles during the Cold War.
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Focuses on the memoir as a window onto the relationship of the scientist, engineer, and technologist to his or her work. Studies the subjective side of technology and the social and psychological dimensions of technological change. Students write about specific objects and their role in their lives - memoir fragments. Readings concern child development theory and the role of technology in development. Explores the connection between material culture, identity, cognitive and emotional development.
Limited to 15; no listeners. Explores emotional and intellectual impact of objects.
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The growing literature on cognition and "things" cuts across anthropology, history, social theory, literature, sociology, and psychology and is of great relevance to science students. Examines the range of theories, from Mary Douglas in anthropology to D. Winnicott in psychoanalytic thinking, that underlies "thing" or "object" analysis. Same subject as 21A. Historical examination of the quest to understand human society scientifically.
Focuses on quantification, including its central role in the historical development of social science and its importance in the 21st-century data age. Covers the political arithmetic of the 17th century to the present. Emphasizes intensive reading of primary sources, which represent past attempts to count, calculate, measure, and model many dimensions of human social life population, wealth, health, happiness, intelligence, crime, deviance, race. A survey of the contributions of African Americans to science, technology, and medicine from colonial times to the present.
Explores the impact of concepts, trends, and developments in science, technology, and medicine on the lives of African Americans. Examples include the eugenics movement, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, the debate surrounding racial inheritance, and IQ testing. Examines anticancer efforts as a critical area for the formation of contemporary biomedical explanations for health and disease.
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Begins with the premise that the most significant implications of these efforts extend far beyond the success or failure of individual cancer therapies. Considers developments in the epidemiology, therapy, and politics of cancer. Uses the history of cancer to connect the history of biology and medicine to larger social and cultural developments, including those in bioethics, race, gender, activism, markets, and governance.
Examines the history of MIT, from its founding to the present, through the lens of the history of science and technology. Topics include William Barton Rogers; the modern research university and educational philosophy; campus, intellectual, and organizational development; changing laboratories and practices; MIT's relationship with Boston, the federal government, and industry; and notable activities and achievements of students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Includes guest lecturers, on-campus field trips, and interactive exercises. Uses a set of case studies to develop an analytical framework for understanding complex scientific and technical systems and their occasional failures. Addresses topics such as nuclear power and weapons, marine shipping, cybersecurity, and rising sea levels. Engages with historical, contemporary and emerging practices in sciences, design, architecture, arts, and technology to examine how the study of the histories of colonialism, capitalism, racism, and sexism offers critical means and methods for re envisioning outer space exploration, life under extreme conditions, and planetary habitation.
Instruction offers tools of analysis issued from Science and Technology Studies STS and Feminist Sciences Studies to assess the social, political and anthropological impact of outer space science and technology on Earth-based societies. See description under subject 21A. Same subject as EC. Surveys youth political participation in the US since the early s. Investigates trends in youth political activism during specific historical periods, as well as what difference youth media production and technology use e.
Explores what is truly new about "new media" and reviews lessons from history for present-day activists based on patterns of past failure and success. Some mandatory field trips may occur during class time. Examines science and technology innovation systems, including case studies on energy, computing, advanced manufacturing, and health sectors. Emphasizes public policy and the federal government's role in that system. Focuses on the US but uses international examples. Reviews foundations of economic growth theory, innovation systems theory, and the basic approaches to science and technology policy.
Also addresses the science and technology talent base as a factor in growth, and educational approaches to better support it. Class meets for nine weeks; in the remaining weeks, students work on a final paper due at the end of the term. Provides instruction on how people have historically connected computers to ideas on social, economic, and political change and how these ideas have changed over time. Based on a series of case studies from different parts of the world.
Explores topics such as how computers have intertwined with ideas on work, freedom, governance, and access to knowledge.
Same subject as 6. See description under subject 6. An examination of biography as a literary genre to be employed in the history of science. The use of biography in different historical periods to illuminate aspects of the development of science. A critical analysis of autobiography, archival sources, and the oral tradition as materials in the construction of biographies of scientists.
Published biographies of scientists constitute the major reading, but attention is given to unpublished biographical sources as well. Comparison is drawn between biography as a literary form in the history of science and in other disciplines. Covers historical, cultural, and ethical dimensions of engineering in Africa. Focuses on construction of big projects like cities, hydroelectricity dams, roads, railway lines, ports and harbors, transport and communication, mines, industrial processing plant, and plantations.
Explores the contributions of big capital, engineers, politicians, and ordinary people. Emphasizes how local culture, politics, labor, and knowledge affect engineering. Also focuses on environmental and cultural impact assessment. Prepares students who wish to work or study in Africa and the Global South. For students who wish to pursue special studies or projects with a member of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. Addresses subject matter in Science, Technology and Society that is not offered in the regular curriculum.
Definition and early-stage work on thesis project leading to STS. Taken during first term of student's two-term commitment to thesis project. Student works closely with STS faculty tutor. Required of all candidates for an STS degree.
Prereq: STS. Completion of work of the senior major thesis under the supervision of a faculty tutor. Includes gathering materials, preparing draft chapters, giving an oral presentation of thesis progress to faculty evaluators early in the term, and writing and revising the final text. Students meet at the end of the term with faculty evaluators to discuss the successes and limitations of the project.