First-year students in Martin Minelli's tutorial, The Person Behind the Discovery, are going deeper than the textbook entries to explore the personalities and background of people who've made outstanding contributions to science.

They will be “studying the historical setting these people worked in, their family background, their education, their professional career, and how they made their significant contribution to science,” says Minelli.

The students will read three biographies together:

  • The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention Silicon Valley by Leslie Berlin;
  • Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family by Shelley Emling; and
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Students will then read biographies of scientists of their choice.

By the end, the students will work together to write a biography about a person for whom no formal biography exists. 

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