By: Nike Izmaylov '19
To perform well in the study of science, one must first learn to think like a scientist and have the adequate tools to perform it. From understanding statistical mechanics to being introduced to laboratory procedures during freshman fall, the students of the experimental new Life Sciences 50 course take two classes in one, which all of the work that that entails.
The limited class-size of 25 students allows for greater interaction with each other, as well as professors and TFs, which creates a friendlier, more tight-knit atmosphere than the large-lecture-halls alternative of LS1a and simultaneously places more pressure on each student. However, the curricula of LS1a and LS50 diverge, with the former focusing on specific chemistry and the latter on physics and mathematics in a biological context.
Perhaps the crowning jewel of LS50 is the dedicated lab time. While the labs of LS1a focus on teaching concepts such as acid-base titration, the students of LS50 are tasked with performing experiments that further actual research. At the moment, the students are assisting with testing the relative fitness and gene expression of double-mutated C. elegans and have learned various experimental methodologies in use in labs around the world today, including protocols for PCR, growing bacteria and worms on plates, cleaning DNA and RNA, and more.
Due to LS50 counting as two classes, some freshmen worry that that they may not be as adequately prepared as if they had taken LS1a and a mathematics course, such as the biological-focused Math 19a. Others appreciate the broad range of different techniques taught in LS50, applicable regardless of the scientific or mathematical field that they eventually choose to study. Ultimately, LS50 is a novel and rigorous experience for students interested in science, particularly biology or chemistry with a splash of mathematics and physics, and willing to put in the work and effort to achieve greatness.
By: Julia Canick '17
Now that reading period is almost upon us, it’s time to start thinking about how to study for those tricky science exams. Here are some tips—though some may seem glaringly obvious, it’s important to make sure you leave no stone unturned!
Go to Office Hours
I can’t emphasize this one enough. Office hours are a little-utilized resource, where you get to pick your professors’ brains about anything that is unclear to you, or anything in the curriculum you’d like to discuss. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your classmates and get your last-minute questions answered.
Do Every Practice Problem
Do them. Every. Practice. Problem. Go through class lectures, section problems, problem sets, and extra reviews—more often than not, problems on science exams are derived directly from problems you’ve seen before! Go through them, and make sure you understand exactly how they work.
Explain it to your Grandmother
Albert Einstein once said, “you do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Maybe you don’t have a grandmother in the near vicinity of your college campus, but the idea still stands: explain concepts to your friends who aren’t as well versed in the sciences. They’ll be able to point out when you make jumps in your logic, or don’t fully understand an idea—this will give you a great jumping-off point for future studying.
Final ScientisTalk of the Semester!
When: 4/25, 6-70pm
Where: Lowell Small Dining Hall
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