Numbers & Reasons
We live surrounded by numbers, and a central part of college-level thinking is learning how numbers and measurements help us think clearly. This course explores how numbers work as part of sound reasoning in science and our society.
Sometimes numbers settle disagreements, such as in a 1908 article on the existence of atoms, an article announcing the discovery of the double helix in 1953, or one from the early 1960s about when people do and don’t obey. In other contexts, such as discussions about global warming or earthquakes, numbers are just the beginning of a scientific argument or social debate. Underneath all the interferences drawn from numbers, there are basic rules, such as making sense of a bell curve or distinguishing a meaningful pattern from a random one.
Course Curriculum and Features
This course offers a broad introduction to college-level thinking. You’ll complete readings and follow them up with discussion about science as a human activity. You’ll write two short essays and a term paper on topics of your choice that involve numbers or measurements. No matter what concentration you choose to pursue at the UW, this material will help you become a better, wiser and more thoughtful student.
Those with an interest in science and/or social science; a background in advanced mathematics is not required.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Statistics
Dates & Times
Aug 21–Sep 14, 2018
9 a.m.–11:30 a.m.