Teaching: Upside-Down Biology

Brandeis Biophysicist Herman Epstein readily concedes that he really doesn't "give a damn" about euglena, the single-celled aquatic organisms whose elusive qualities he has been tracking most of his professional life. What keeps him at the job is the thrill of the chase and the fascinating fundamental questions about life that the pursuit raises. In 13 years of teaching science at Brandeis, Epstein was dismayed by the fact that the traditional textbook-and-lecture approach continually failed to convey his own excitement about science. The introductory biology course had become, he says, "the...

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