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
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
Got something that you need to get off your mind? Either email us at threelinesfreeagateway.ualberta.ca, 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 games...you'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.
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
CAN I MAKE TRANSFORMERS
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
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
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.
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
President and CEO
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Come share the leadership journey
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This event is tree and open to all. Refreshments will be served.
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@ UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
OFFICE OF ADVANCEMENT
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
INTERNATIONAL _ - «
OloMl Education eroprem A ■
WEEK 2013 -S-SST
Half The Sky
THURSDAY, January 31 / 7:30 pm
Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary
With over 50 Iree on-campus
events, 1-Week is the largest
event of its kind in Canada.
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