Wait, What? How Things Really Work in Science and Business

Winter 2017 and Spring 2017 quarters

Taught by

Gleen Landram
management science, statistics
organic chemistry
  • UG


Strong grasp of algebra (exponents, logarithms, equations, linear graphing).

In this introductory-level program we will explore the science, economics, and public policies surrounding debates on topics such as air and water pollution, sustainability and sources of energy, health care, finance, pharmaceutical drugs, and genetic engineering.  Our primary emphasis will be the critical thinking involved.

Do you really understand the controversial topics of pesticide usage, water pollution, food and drug supplements, economics and finance, economics, or alternative sources of energy? Or do rumors and myths about these issues carry the day? As responsible members of society, we will look at these issues with a critical eye and investigate the scientific evidence, ethical dilemmas, and analytic misperceptions associated with each. We will apply science, statistics, and analytical thinking to separate facts from fiction.

In winter quarter we will study topics concerning pollution and energy as themes for examining our world, considering subjects such as water use and treatment, and acid rain and the ozone layer. In spring we will look at issues concerning nutrition and health, drugs and food additives, and genetically modified organisms. Students will be introduced to economics and finance during both quarters. Program activities will include lectures, small-group problem-solving workshops, laboratories, seminars, films, field trips, team projects, and student presentations. Through our readings, discussions, and assignments students will pull together ideas and concepts from several subject areas, work collaboratively to develop knowledge and skills, and apply quantitative methods to critically evaluate the facts and debates about the real-world issues above. This work will emphasize quantitative reasoning as well as the development of proficient writing and speaking skills.

This is a non-repeating, lower division program intended for students seeking to gain an introduction to molecular science, as well as practice with the quantitative methods used in chemistry and business. Strong algebra skills are required to be successful in this work. This program is also appropriate for students seeking to study science or business as part of a liberal arts education. It is not intended as a prerequisite for upper-division work in science.

Program Details

Fields of Study

business and management chemistry economics mathematics

Preparatory For

general science, sustainability, humanities, business, and teaching.


Winter Open Spring Conditional

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, January 9th at 9am (Sem II D1105).  Please be prompt.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


$50 in winter for overnight field trips.


2017-03-13This program is now open to all class levels.
2017-02-23Spring fee removed.