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Your First BIO 101L Assignment

  • Pick a unique topic from the list or approved by instructors
  • Find minimum of 10 primary research articles using library databases.
  • Write minimum 600 word Introduction summarizing the major findings on your topic.
  • Cite appropriately in text and in Literature Cited section.

The assignment is explained in detail in Chapters 2 & 3 of

Gonser, R. 2014. Principles of Biology I: Laboratory Manual. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

Feynman: What is Science?

What is Science?

Richard Feynman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, aptly summarized the scientific method in simple language during his seven lectures of the Messenger Lectures given at Cornell University in 1964. (See video and transcript below.)

In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. (Don't laugh. That's the truth.) Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what--if this is right, if this law that we guessed is right--to see what it would imply. And then we compare those computation results to nature--or we say compare to experiment or experience--compare it directly with observation to see if it works. 

If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong.

In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is – if it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong. That's all there is to it.”

Feynmen's Messenger Lectures.  This video excerpt is from Lecture 7: Seeking New Laws > Chapter 6: How to Look for New Laws. (16:47-18:33) 

Feynman, Cornell 1964, “The Character of Physical Law”, Messenger Lectures, grabadas BBC 

Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Prize in Physics 1965

Popular Science Pubs

You can go to the ISU Library to the Current Periodicals Section and browse through recent print issues of some popular science magazines to choose your topic. Choose from among the following publications to find something readable for the non-scientist.


You may also search online for an appropriate article. Click the title in the Library Catalog that says [Library Electronic Resources] Realize that you may have to obtain a copy of the full-text article, if required by your professor. If so, the call number and location is provided below.


Popular science magazines are NOT peer-reviewed! They are not scholarly journals. Popular magazines do not include primary research articles, although they may include secondary source articles which report on research. When they do, you can use the clues in the secondary source article (researcher's name, institution where the research was done, the topic, the journal where the research was originally published, etc.) to find the primary source.  

Call Number Locations

3rd Floor

Main Stacks Books
LC – Z  

2nd Floor 

 Main Stacks Books
A – LB

Main Floor 



Lower Level 

Govt Docs,
Educ Materials 


Journals, Microforms,
ISU Theses

Library of Congress Classification Locations

Subject Guide

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Shelley Arvin
Contact me for help. I will work with you to find the way to best help you. Options will consider appropriate agreeable and safe communication and location solutions for you. Email is a good way to contact me.

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Student Lounge A-137 @ 10 AM.
FRI in Science Building,
2nd Floor Lookout from 1-3 PM.
Other appointments as arranged.
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Science Podcasts

Audio files requiring speakers.

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As Many Exceptions As Rules

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