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Unit 9 – Randomness and
SC 300: Big Ideas in Science
• Randomness and Mutation
Mistakes happen. From the perspective of science,
that can sometimes even be a good thing. In
general, errors and unexpected events are part of a
much larger idea that rules the entire universe:
o This week, you will examine how chance makes a
huge impact on the universe, from tiny pieces of
DNA that change the way a person lives, to noises
made by stars, and possibly other things, millions of
miles away.
Unit 9 Overview
• Cystic Fybrosis (CF)
caused by a point mutation of one single letter of one
small stretch of DNA.
o This tiny error makes a massive difference in the
way a person with CF lives.
• Discussion involves
Genes that cause CF, other diseases that could
caused by such mutations, resources for people with
CF etc
Discussion – Cystic Fibrosis
The scientific method is BAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!
• Scenario 1: You arrive home late at night. You walk up to the
front door, unlock it, and reach in to turn on the light switch
located just inside the front door. The light does not come on!
Now what?
• Scenario 2: Develop your own detailed problem/observation
and apply the scientific method to solve.
Describe in detail how you would use the 5
steps of the scientific method to handle these
Unit 9 – Final Paper part 1
1,500 word minimum, APA – worth 250 points!
• Describe a typical day in your life from the time you wake up,
until the time you go to bed. Describe how science impacts
you and your routine throughout the day.
• How has science improved your quality of life and why?
• Are there any negative impacts that science has had? What
are they and why?
• Do you believe that you could survive without science? Why
or why not?
• How has this course impacted the way you view science?
Unit 9 – Final Paper part 2
• Read ch 23 and reviewed pp 17-19 in ch.1
• View study module Biology Basics: Gene to
• Review Key Terms
• Attend weekly seminar
Other Assignments
After it is over, please post any reflections you might
have about it. How does this video provide a picture
of what a moment of first contact with intelligent
extra-terrestrial life might be like?
• Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Supported by NASA
Cancelled after 1 year of running
 “Origins” Program
James Webb Space Telescope
Spitzer Space Telescope
Retrieved on February 2 at:
What is the Arecibo Observatory?
[email protected]
• First known extrasolar planets orbiting a neutron star
• Binary pulsars that spectacularly confirm Einstein's
• Thousands of new galaxies that delineate the structure
of the local Universe.
• The newest hope? Using home
computers to generate data
[email protected]
“Data for the [email protected] project are collected by an instrument at Arecibo called
SERENDIP IV, which was installed in September 1998. A dedicated receiver tuned
to a frequency near 1420 MHz collects signals from the sky 24 hours a day, seven
days a week (except during periods of maintenance and testing).”
“SERENDIP, use powerful computers that analyze data from the telescope in real
time…flow of data is so rapid and voluminous, there's no time to look very deeply at
the data for weak signals… To tease out the weakest signals, a great amount of
computer power is necessary. This is where [email protected] comes in. By combining
the power of hundreds of thousands of PCs on the internet, SETI researchers hope
to discover elusive signals that SERENDIP's quick look approach might have
ET, phone [email protected] (n.d.) Retrieved on
February 2, 2010 from:
[email protected]
What do you think scientists expect to find through
SETI and [email protected]?
Why do you think NASA chose to eliminate funding
for SETI in the 1990s?
(Refer here for more information:
Garber, S. 1999. Searching for Good Science, Journal of the British
Interplanetary Society, 52, 3-13.
Do you believe SETI and [email protected] are
worthwhile projects? Why?
What outcome(s) do you think will result from SETI
and [email protected]?
Go to
When it is finished, please share your reflections
about the talk. Based upon this video, do you think
that SETI constitutes a valuable research project?
Why or why not?