The objective of this course is to examine the short
and long term impacts of emerging technologies on the society at large. We
will have, in a sense, a time travel to explore how some of the major inventions
such as steam engine, compass, and roman aqueducts influenced the society
during their times as well as centuries later. We will discuss the technological
expectations of a society and the overall mind set prior and after a given
technology was introduced. Finally, we will have a speculative study of nanotechnology
to explore its potential impact on science, engineering, and the society.
COURSE STRUCTURE AND REQUIREMENTS
The course will consist of lectures, seminars and discussions.
Discussion will be carried out each week either within the entire class,
or in smaller groups. The lectures will help to outline and summarize the
concepts as well as themes in each book. The material given in the books
will be the starting point, yet several additional handouts and presentations
will enhance the concepts and will help understanding the impact of the emerging
technologies on the society.
The discussion sessions are to brain-storm the concepts,
as every week a one or two-page essay will be needed based on both the textbook
material and the discussions. Class participation and debates during these
sessions will be included in the grades.
The total grade for the course is based on essays (30%);
comprehensive papers on each book and finally on nanotechnology (40% total;
each book report 7%, and one final speculative paper 12%); and effective
participation and contributions during lectures and discussions (30%).
The grade for class participation will reflect the student’s
record of attendance, degree of preparedness for each session, and ability
to participate in collective discussions of the lecture topics and assigned
Plagiarism, at any level, will not be tolerated. Any hint of plagiarism will reduce the course grade to E.
Marsden, Ben. Watt’s Perfect Engine: Steam and
the Age of Invention. Columbia University Press, 2002.
Aczel, Amir D. The Riddle of the Compass. Harvest Book, Harcourt Inc., 2001.
Harris, Robert. Pompeii, Ballantine Books, 2003.
Atkinson, William I. Nanocosm, Amacom, 2004.
SCHEDULE OF LECTURES AND DISCUSSION ASSIGNMENTS
August 27/29: Introduction; Nanotechnology Lectures and Watt's Perfect Engine
Week Starting on…..
Sept 3: Watt’s Perfect Engine: Steam and the Age
Sept 8: Nanotechnology Lectures
Sept 15: Watt’s Perfect Engine: Steam and the
Age of Invention
Sept 22: Watt’s Perfect Engine: Steam and the
Age of Invention
Sept 29: The Riddle of the Compass
Oct 6: The Riddle of the Compass
Oct 13: The Riddle of the Compass
Oct 20: Pompeii and Roman Aqueducts
Oct 27: Nanotechnology Lectures
Nov 3: Pompeii and Roman Aqueducts
Nov 10: Pompeii and Roman Aqueducts
Nov 17: Nanocosm
Nov 27: Nanocosm
Dec 1: Nanocosm
Dec 4: Nanocosm
STEAM ......... Question-Set-I ..........