Why do humans tell stories? We are all familiar with old wives’ tales, urban legends, or traditional folklore and fairytales that warn of specific dangers (Hansel and Gretel disobey orders and find themselves in mortal peril), encourage particular behaviors (the Hare is hasty and loses to the Tortoise in the end), or otherwise provide guidance in our lives (chicken soup cures colds). Can these stories put us in danger? Could they keep us safe? Will they mislead us? How can we tell the difference? In this course we will investigate the intersection of storytelling and science. We will closely read and analyze examples of stories and folklore from around the world and throughout history that now have scientific explanations. We will also study how the stories of scientific discoveries are told, and how they influence human health, environmental policy, and science itself.
Source: College Colloquium Page