Syllabus for SCI201: Popular Science

Science as Metaphor

Summer Block
3 min readFeb 11, 2015


Week One: String Theory

Can we unify general relativity and quantum mechanics? Can two seemingly irreconcilable opposites create consensus? We will read about an over-achieving daughter and her free-spirited mother finding common ground at an electronic music festival.

Week Two: Parallel Universes

Is there another one of us out there, living a parallel life? We investigate twin brothers, separated at birth, who lead eerily similar lives.

Week Three: Black Holes

Black holes are some of the most complex and mysterious objects in the universe. We will meet several young men who lost themselves in the “black hole” of online role-playing games.

Week Four: Quantum Mechanics

If everything is relative, does that mean there’s no such thing as right and wrong? Is free will an illusion? Maybe there’s no such thing as truth or reality and nothing really matters. No reading.

Week Five: Special Relativity

Is time travel possible? We will read about a young widow who finds comfort researching genealogy, a bootlegger’s son wrestling with his family’s checkered past, and a series of interviews with temporary seasonal employees at Colonial…



Summer Block

Writer for Catapult, Longreads, The Awl, The Toast, The Rumpus, McSweeney’s, and so on. Owner of After-Party Taxidermy. Working on a book about Halloween.