HNRS 140

Biology in Fiction

Prerequisites: First-year Honors Inquiry course and permission of the instructor. A First-year Honors seminar. In this hybrid laboratory/seminar course, we will investigate the biological science that has been integrated within contemporary novels of Barbara Kingsolver, Andrea Barrett, and Simon Mawer. By replicating and extending genetic and ecological experiments that are central to the stories, and consulting primary and secondary scientific sources, we will explore the authors' liberties and faithfulness to scientific accuracy. We will also read additional works of fiction with biologists as central characters. How do writers translate science into fiction, and how realistic are the portrayals of scientists? How does understanding or not understanding the science influence a reader's experience? May be counted as a 100-level elective for the major in biology.