The Science Essay

Photo of several Scottish Highland cattle.

Essays exploring the links among farming methods, ecology, food quality and human health have focused increased public attention on our food supply. These grass-fed Highland cattle are on a sustainable farm in Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy of pixn8tr on Flickr.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2009



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

The science essay uses science to think about the human condition; it uses humanistic thinking to reflect on the possibilities and limits of science and technology. In this class we read and practice writing science essays of varied lengths and purposes. We will read a wide variety of science essays, ranging across disciplines, both to learn more about this genre and to inspire your own writing. This semester's reading centers on "The Dark Side," with essays ranging from Alan Lightman's "Prisoner of the Wired World" through Robin Marantz Henig's cautionary account of nano-technology ("Our Silver-Coated Future") to David Quammen's investigation of diseases that jump from animals to humans ("Deadly Contact").

Related Content

Karen Boiko. 21W.777 The Science Essay. Spring 2009. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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