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opinion • 11 

gateway ■ WWW.tHE6«EW»miHf.U ■ Volume I OS, Issue Ifl 

Interdisciplinary studies very 
important to Arts and Science 

PKroniuywiok stiff comwu 

When first-years in Science or Engi¬ 
neering at die U of A discover they're 
required to take six credits of English, 
the reaction ranges from begrudging 
resignation to long-lasting resent¬ 
ment to wailing and gnashing of 
teeth worse dian when someone in 
"pre-med" flunks O-chem. They're 
right in pointing out that engineers 
and physicists are not going to be 
paid to analyze Shakespeare or Word¬ 
sworth on the job. Since the English 
requirement is widely seen as a joke 
or an annoying hurdle on the way to 
graduation, it's taken as a small at- 
temptby the university policy makers 
to placate the last, fading advocates of 
a liberal education. But die six cred¬ 
its of English required to get a degree 
at the U of A is not an arbitrary im¬ 
position, it's a failing attempt to get 
students to appreciate the limits of 
human knowledge and the dangers 
of putting yourself in a scholasdc 
bubble. The sciences know a lot about 
the way the world works. But so do 
the humanities. It's time we started 
tal king to each other. 

Cross-discipline learning and re¬ 
search is uncontroversial and big¬ 
ger than ever within the sciences 
— just look at the Gelds of chemical 
biology, biophysics, mathematical 
physics, mathematical biology and 
bioinformatics — not to mention 
the various cross-overs with engi¬ 
neering, such as biomedical engi¬ 
neering. The Centennial Centre for 
Interdisciplinary Sciences speaks for 
itself as the university's commitment 
to an "interdisciplinary approach to 
scientific discovery that facilitates a 
cross-fertilization of ideas and tech¬ 
niques as never before." Likewise, it's 
the assumed majority of humanities 
scholars already appreciate the broad 

overlaps between law, history, litera¬ 
ture and so on. 

And yet, the Office for Interdisci¬ 
plinary Studies is hidden in one dark 
comer of the Humanities Building, 
where it mainly houses a modey 
collection of mini-departments like 
Comparative Literature and Religious 
Studies. While interdisciplinary stud¬ 
ies within the sciences and the hu¬ 
manities seems to be flou rishin g the 
relationship between these two cat¬ 
egories has been showing a disturb¬ 
ing asymmetry in recent years. Sub¬ 
jects like linguistics, psychology and 
economics were desperate to become 
just as rigourous, methodical, and ra¬ 
tional as the natural sciences during 
the secularization of Western society. 
And yet, you might get a blank stare if 
you ask your physics professor about 
their epistemology. 

It may come as a surprise, but there 
is such a thing as “philosophy of sci¬ 
ence," with origins going back to the 
ancient Greeks. The humanities have 
had an enormous effect on the nature 
and practice of scientific research. 

but those of us studying in the sci¬ 
ences and engineering often treat the 
humanities as if their only value was 
in the vague "transferable skills" that 
apply to our own chosen disciplines. 
It isn't about writing better office 
memos or annual reports, it’s about 
asking questions. Honestly, I’d rather 
engineers take no English than just 
those “English for Engineers" cours¬ 
es. which completely miss the poinL 
Science can tell us how to make tar 
sands extraction easier, but it can't 
tell us why we're still so dependent 
on fossil fuels. We make enough 
ammonia to fertilize the world twice 
over, but we can't manage the food 
distribution to end starvation. We’ve 
come a long way as a species, but it 
never hurts to reexamine our pri¬ 
orities once in a while. Yes, science 
is interesting, but the enormous 
amount of time, money and resourc¬ 
es it consumes might be better spent. 
But that’s not something we can 
decide if the extent of a humanities 
education is learning how to write a 
business letter. 




W free 

Got something that you need to get off your mind? Either email us at, tweet othreelinesfree, or message us at 

If you've been waiting in line at 
Starby’s but don't know your order 
by the time you reach the til. I’ma 
bitchslap your ass 
To the two dark-haired chicks I see 
at the Bears hockey're 
both freaking hot! 

I-phone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3— 

Believe in Sherlock yet? Don’t 
worry, you will. 


Where is my campus crime beat? 
I miss reading about the stupid 
things people do on campus. 

Gao Wenzhong is my hero!! 

Taking one class so you can write 
for the Gateway is more than a little 
pathetic. Move on, grow up. 

Room 1168. 

As a beer lover I find The Brews 
Brothers to be very well written and 
informative, and a great addition to 
The Gateway. Keep it up, guys! 
Stand up for your dick! But does 
your dick stand up for you? 

The next person on fashion Street¬ 
ers that tells me to invest in a good 
pair of boots is getting a swift boot 
in the face 

I want to talk about the comic Mars 
Attacks The Transformers. WHERE 

To the tall, sexy guy in the gray coat 
that rides the 203 in the evening, 
y ou ar ehotiCome sit beside me;) 
There's a UofA escalator twitter 
account guys! Now you can choose 
to take or not to take the stairs 
based on twitterverse! 

Who goes to the front row of 300 
people to pow-wow about nothing? 
Shut up, idiot s! 

To the guy who barged into the 
front row of class to play Settlers 
of Catan on his laptop: I hope your 
oxen die and your travel buddies 
get typhoid. 

everyone can relax: gambit has 

r eturned! _ 

this on-and-off cold is an awful 
tease, sam megee wouldn't know 

what to do.__ 

why is everyone so bad at fines? it’s 
a simple concept, dating back to 
sumer, and its famous ziggurlines. 
thanks for fucking it up, akkadi- 

Is there anybody out there? 


Would you please stop wearing 
that awful shirt. You look like 
the Goodwill Ambassador for 

When I am sitting alone in HUB, I 
do not want some stupid asshole 
stranger to sit next to me. Fuck you 

goober. __ 

I like Darcy, but he is a total prick. 
The only time my girlfr i en d gives 
me oral sex is when she tells me to 
go fuck myself. I am sad. 

Don't bad mouth your friends 
behind their backs. It makes you 
look like an asshole and you are an 

I had an awesome Christmas. You 
just sucked hind tit. 

One thought he was invincible, the 
other thought he could fly. They 
were both wrong 

I like to masturbate watching Dr. 

Don't blink. 

Reading week come quick 
1 want to be a fash ion designer. 

The Gateway reserves the right 
to refuse publication of any 3LF 
submission it deems racist, sexist, 
libellous or otherwise hateful in 

An engaging 
on leadership 

Tom Axworthy 
President and CEO 
of the Walter and 
Duncan Gordon Foundation 

Come share the leadership journey 
of the head of one of Canada's 
largest foundations dedicated to 
protecting Canada’s water and 
empowering the North. Mr Axworthy 
is an Order of Canada recipient with 
a distinguished career in government, 
academia and philanthropy. 

This event is tree and open to all. Refreshments will be served. 
Dale February 2S. 2013 Time: 4:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Location-. Telus Centre TEL-150, 111 Street and 87 Avenue NW 

University of Alberta North Campus 

RSVP and information 








OloMl Education eroprem A ■ 


WEEK 2013 -S-SST 


Sheryl WuDunn 

Half The Sky 

THURSDAY, January 31 / 7:30 pm 
Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary 
Sciences (CCIS) 


With over 50 Iree on-campus 
events, 1-Week is the largest 
event of its kind in Canada. 

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