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Volume 1, Issue 1

From Einstein to evolution: Eleven misconceptions of science every college student should know about

Table of contents


Ecology and Evolution Essays

Evolution: Was it taught in your classroom? by Jessica Foley

Extraterrestrial Beginnings: Do our origins lie on Earth or among the stars? by Joyce Coppock

Group Decision-Making in Animals: Despotism vs. Democracy by Zach Archer

Rethinking Speciation: Is it geography or habitat that matters? by Nick Nickerson

Medicine and Health Essays

Cloning Quarrels by Blake Camp

In the Mood...to Smoke??? Is there a Connection between Mood and Smoking? by Michael Mueller

Is Chronic Consumption of Excess Vitamin A Bad for your Health? by Marissa McDaniel

Safe Sex: Are Latex and Polyurethane Condoms Effective Barriers to Sexually Transmitted Viruses? by Dan DeRemigis

Physics and Engineering Essays

If the World Trade Center Towers were designed to withstand the impact of a jetliner, then why did they collapse? by Vikas Agrawal

Relativity: Einstein's Challenge of Ideas and His Example for All by Christian Kunkel

The Effects of Relativity: Reality or Just an Illusion? by Dominick Totino

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Preface to this issue


You fancy yourself a pretty good science student.  You attend biology class quite regularly.  You even refrain from doing crossword puzzles during chemistry lecture.  But are you really well informed about the science that affects your life and how you understand the world?


Scientific discoveries have a profound impact on our lives, shaping our lifestyle and health habits, influencing government policy decisions, and sparking heated moral debates.  We have a responsibility to understand science and use it carefully and wisely.  Unfortunately, it is very easy for all but the experts in a particular field to be misled by misinterpretations of new discoveries. 


The students of Dr. Julie Reynolds’ Writing 20 class at Duke University have assembled a collection of eleven short essays addressing some misconceptions and misunderstandings common to even the college-educated.  Check out the links on this page to find out some fascinating new things.  Hone your understanding of evolution.  Get the real scoop on condom effectiveness.  And find out if you really understand what Einstein’s theory of relativity is all about. 

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For more information, contact Julie Reynolds at julie.a.reynolds at duke.edu