Previously I posted about how science has changed [it is much more interdisciplinary and computational] and undergraduate science education really needs to catch up. I endorsed a great course on Physical models of living systems that Phil Nelson teaches and has just published a text for. [He kindly sent me a complimentary copy recently.].
In the recent UQ review of the B.Sc. there was some discussion of whether there should be more interdisciplinary courses offered and even whether one or two might be compulsory.
That got me thinking about what the best courses would be.
Energy and the Environment
David MacKay at Cambridge has a book Sustainable energy: without the hot air
Advanced instrumentation and precision measurement
NMR, x-ray crystallography, laser spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, microscopy, ...
This should not just introduce these methods as "black boxes" but also describe the underlying science and let students have hands on experience.
Chemical biophysics or Biophysical chemistry
Either of Phil Nelson's two texts are idea models. On the other hand, they involve purely classical physics. One needs to also look at some quantum mechanics that relates to spectroscopy.
Computational biomolecular simulation and materials science
Again hands on experience is essential. But, a "black box" mentality must be avoided.
Materials science and engineering
There is a classic text by Callister, but a colleague tells me it is to much from the perspective of a metallurgist.
Here I think it needs to be continually emphasised that there is no point offering such courses if they are not rigorous and coherent. They need to be "owned" by just a few faculty. Courses will multiple guest lecturers from multiple departments quickly degenerate into a "dogs breakfast" and political nightmares. A single text is highly desirable.
What do you think?
What courses would you suggest?
What are suitable texts?