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.
Final ScientisTalk of the Semester!
When: 4/25, 6-70pm
Where: Lowell Small Dining Hall
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