Professors in the Vollmer Lab
The Vollmer lab hosted 2 non-science Swarthmore faculty, Cheryl Grood, Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Philip Jefferson, Department of Economics for a month in June of 2005. Together they conducted experiments in molecular microbiology and discussed communication about science to non-scientists. A poster summarizing their work was presented at a research conference at Haverford in November of 2005.
The abstract for the poster [pdf]
Philip Jefferson wrote about his experience in an article in the October 6, 2005 Chronicle of Higher Education (pdf) and also "The Economist as Biologist" in the Dec. 2005 issue of the Swarthmore College Bulletin (pdf).
In the summer of 2007, two more Swarthmore faculty braved the microbiology laboratory for a month: Barbara Milewski, a musicologist from the Department of Music and Dance and Bruce Maxwell, who was in the Engineering Department at Swarthmore and is now chair of Computer Science at Colby College. They conducted numerous studies: using different ways to measure cell growth and viability; purifying plasmids and creating new strains by transforming plasmids into novel genetic host backgrounds.
In the summer of 2011, Tim Burke from the Department of History at Swarthmore spent time in the lab looking at antibiotic susceptibility and resistance in isolates from the Swarthmore campus. As part of the Vollmer group, he engaged us in discussion about the role of science in a liberal arts education and experienced the mentor-student relationship as it applies to laboratory research.
We hope that continuation of this type of interaction will build bridges that span the "two cultures" and promote science literacy on campus.