Mad Science

The idea of a "mad scientist" has been a typical study through much of recent literature. H.G Wells in both "The Invisible Man" and "The Island of Dr. Moreau" provides a strong beginning for the debates within a discussion of whether science can go too far. Recent advancements will also be highlighted to generate this discussion; such as cloning of extinct animals, eliminating disease in human beings, artificial intelligence, CERN and the "God" particle, and the prospects for humanity to survive, on this planet, or another. How much are humans meant to discover and understand? "Frankenstein" would be a classic work to consider with the course, as students often do not understand who the true monster is: hint, it's not the monster. It's important to note that while the United States of America has made several advancements in science, including those controversial to this day, there are also other nations considering what next, and realizing there really is no enforced limits or control in this regard. Religion, politics, and other general topics play a strong role in determining if science can go too far; yet I would hesitate to utilize the term "ethical" or "appropriate" science. Who decides this? Research on what can be considered fact, versus fiction, is also an important focus. Much of the science fiction of the previous generations is reality today, especially the predictions of H.G. Wells.

Course Details
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
140: MWF 12:00-12:150pm
181: MWF 1:00-1:50pm
Spring 2024
The Arts

Trent Margrif

Trent Margrif

A university environment offers an opportunity for students to broaden their learning and shape their understanding of the world, and Trent Margrif wants them to do that every single day. "There are so many resources available and yet far too many students need to be motivated by someone to utilize them." Trent is often that someone, and after the initial complaints students gain a deep appreciation that a professor made them aware of their new surroundings.

Trent is a senior lecturer in First Year Seminar and has taught a First Year Seminar since 2010, Historic Green Buildings and War of the Worlds. He previously taught courses on Architectural History, Cultural Landscapes and Historic Preservation at the graduate level for the Department of History. His personable approach has earned high praise from students, and he was awarded the Rennie W. Brantz Award for Outstanding Teaching in the First Year Seminar for 2013. His courses begin with a discussion of current events and include relating popular culture to academic majors and disciplines to understand difficult topics.

Trent continues to receive contract work for local history projects and research, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Blowing Rock Historical Society. He currently serves on the Cultural Resources Advisory Board for the Town of Boone, and was previously a Cultural Resource & Outreach Specialist for ASU. He earned a Masters Degree in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University and is from the ethnically diverse Upper Peninsula of Michigan. When not avoiding abductions by extra terrestrials, he enjoys hiking and spending time with his wife, who teaches Public History, and 3 year old daughter.