North Central College - Naperville, IL

Science, Math, Health, and Technology

Evolution is "Just a Theory:" Just What Does that Mean?
Many critics of teaching evolution in public schools claim that since it is a "just a theory" we shouldn't be subjecting our children to such wild conjectures. Examines the difference between a scientific theory and how the word "theory" is used in everyday speech. Also discusses how evolutionary biologists differentiate between the fact of evolution and the theory of evolution.
Thomas Williams, associate professor biology
tawilliams@noctrl.edu 630-637-5186

Health Care Reform: Federal and State
Comprehensive national health care reform came to an end in 1994 with the 103rd Congress. Current health care reform has become much more incremental and involves insurance market reforms, medical savings accounts, reforms in Medicare and Medicaid, growth in managed care, etc. Discusses these changes and the ethical questions they raise, particularly about the just distribution of health care resources.
Tim Morris, professor of philosophy
tpmorris@noctrl.edu 630-637-5339

Ethics of Managed Health Care
One of the most prominent health care developments of the 1990s has been the rapid growth of managed care organizations that have all but replaced the traditional indemnity insurance/fee-for-service system. Explores ethical issues that arise within this form of health care, including freedom of patients and health care professionals, informed consent, confidentiality, and the just distribution of health care resources.
Tim Morris, professor of philosophy
tpmorris@noctrl.edu 630-637-5339

From Medical Ethics to Bioethics: A History
An historical and conceptual examination of the concepts, issues and frameworks that have evolved into what is now called "bioethics" from their origins with the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates.
Tim Morris, professor of philosophy
tpmorris@noctrl.edu 630-637-5339

Ethics and Politics of the New Reproductive Technologies
A discussion of any one of a number of current themes: the new artificial reproductive technologies, the Human Genome Project, or cloning.
Tim Morris, professor of philosophy
tpmorris@noctrl.edu 630-637-5339

Internet: Panacea or Pandora's Box?
If you can believe the hype, the Internet will have the most profound effect on civilization since the introduction of the printing press. Examines current state of the technology and explores possible future directions.*
Stephen Renk, professor of computer science
Can prepare presentations on a wide variety of topics related to computer technology
screnk@noctrl.edu 630-637-5170

My Teacher Was a Microchip
What effects will the current micro-revolution have on the way we learn, where we learn, and who or what we learn from? Explores computer-based technology for facilitating education and training.*
Stephen Renk, professor of computer science
Can prepare presentations on a wide variety of topics related to computer technology
screnk@noctrl.edu 630-637-5170

How Galileo Found the Tangent to the Parabola Without Any Calculus
Galileo is best known for his advocacy of the sun-centered universe. In his final book, "Dialog on Two New Sciences," Galileo develops the theory of projectile motion near the earth. This talk will explain how Galileo computed the tangent to a parabola in a purely geometric way and will explore the additional information about parabolas Galileo was able to deduce from this simple fact.
Richard Wilders, professor of mathematics
rjwilders@noctrl.edu 630-637-5234

The Fibonacci Sequence and Its Many Partners in Crime
The Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5 . . .), in which each term after the first two is the sum of the previous two, is a source of endless fascination. This talk will place the sequence into a larger context and derive several interesting facts about Fibonacci-like sequences. The discussion will include the golden ratio and Pythagorean Theorem.
Richard Wilders, professor of mathematics
rjwilders@noctrl.edu 630-637-5234

Solving Cubic and Quartic Equations: A Tale of Intrigue Worthy of an Italian Opera
This talk traces the history of cubic and quartic formulas. These two formulas were discovered in the 16th century by a colorful group of Italian mathematicians. The most famous, Girolamo Cardan, wrote of Europe's first algebra text titled Ars Magma ("magnificent arts").
Richard Wilders, professor of mathematics
rjwilders@noctrl.edu 630-637-5234

Math Combines Music and Art: Escher's Tessellations Can Help Us Understand Bach's Canons
M.C. Escher's wonderful tessellations are fascinating examples of the use of mathematical symmetry operations. This talk first explains the mathematics behind Escher and how the baroque canon form is created using exactly the same geometric transformations. Finally, we'll discuss Bach's visit to the court of Frederick the Great and the musical masterpiece that resulted.
Richard Wilders, professor of mathematics
rjwilders@noctrl.edu 630-637-5234

* Audiovisual equipment needed; discuss with speaker