Molecular Biology Principles and Practice
As teachers, we know that undergraduate science education is evolving. Simply conveying facts does not produce a scientifi cally literate student, a long-held perception now reinforced by numerous studies. Students of science need more: a better window on what science is and how it is done, a clear presentation of key concepts that rises above the recitation of details, an articulation of the philosophical underpinnings of the scientifi c discipline at hand, exercises that demand analysis of real data, and an appreciation for the contributions of science to the well-being of humans throughout the world. As undergraduate science educators rise to these challenges, we are faced with both higher numbers of students and declining resources. How can we all do more with less?
Textbooks are an important part of the equation. A good textbook must now be more than a guide to the information that defi nes a discipline. For instructors, a textbook must organize information, incorporate assessment tools, and provide resources to help bring a discipline to life. For students, a textbook must relate science to everyday experience, highlight the key concepts, and show each student the process that generated those key concepts.
This book had its genesis at a meeting of the authors in Napa Valley in January, 2006. From the outset, we set ambitious goals designed to address the key challenges we face as teachers:
Students see science as a set of facts rather than an active human endeavor.
Molecular biology has a wealth of great stories to tell. We wanted to convey the excitement that drives modern molecular biology, the creativity at the bench, and the genuine wonder that takes hold as the workings of a new biological process are revealed. This theme is set in the first chapter, dedicated in large measure to an introduction to the scientifi c process. Every chapter then begins with a Moment of Discovery, highlighting a researcher’s own description of a memorable moment in their career. After Chapter 1, every chapter ends with a How We Know section with stories relating the often circuitous path to a new insight. Additional anecdotes—scientists in action—are woven into the text and the accompanying Highlights. As students turn these pages, the laboratories and the people behind the discoveries will never be far away.
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|April 25, 2017|
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