UF Class Uniting the Humanities and STEM Gets National Attention

Published: September 18th, 2015

Category: Feature, History Department News, Recent News

For a few years now, several faculty in UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have been collaborating with the Material Science and Engineering Department to team-teach the course EMA1004: The Impact of Materials on Society.  This interdisciplinary course draws from engineering, anthropology, classics, history, English, sociology and philosophy faculty in order to examine materials such as iron, gold, aluminum, clay, and plastic in their broader political, cultural, and social context.  Under the watchful eye of course developers Kevin Jones, a professor in the Material Sciences and Engineering Department, and Sophia Krzys Acord, the Acting Director of the Center for Humanities and the Public Sphere, the course has drawn hundreds of students from various corners of UF.  Thanks to their efforts, they’ve created a true interdisciplinary experience for those undergraduates in Gainesville; soon the class will be exported with its own textbook and videos to other colleges and universities across the United States, thanks to a collaboration with the Materials Research Society.

Three faculty from the History Department–Bonnie Effros, Florin Curta, and Sean Adams–have been involved with the course from the start.  By providing lectures, writing textbook chapters, and starring in a series of videos, these three professors add their own expertise to the mix.  The course recently made its debut on the national stage, when Time Magazine published an article in their “Ideas” section.  Nearly 100,000 downloads later, UF’s Impact of Materials on Society is poised to make a big impact and demonstrate the strong relationship between humanities and STEM disciplines.


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