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Dive Deep. CSET faculty conduct wide-ranging, vital research that connects the public to the marvels of modern science. This interdisciplinary research crosses traditional academic approaches with the methods of the creative arts to help our students become better communicators of discovery, while engaging the public. The Science Communication Media Collaborative highlights the research of many CSET faculty.

Faculty Publications

Michael Bess

Planet in Peril: Humanity’s Four Greatest Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them

The top four mega-dangers facing humankind are climate change, nuclear weapons, pandemics, and artificial intelligence. Michael Bess, Chancellor’s Professor of History, outlines the solutions that have been tried, and analyzes why they have thus far fallen short. These four existential dangers present a special kind of challenge that urgently requires planet-level responses, yet today’s international institutions have so far failed to meet this need.



Jay Clayton

Literature, Science, and Public Policy: From Darwin to Genomics

Literature, Science, and Public Policy shows how literature can influence public policy concerning scientific controversies in genetics and other areas. Literature brings unique insights to issues involving cloning, GMOs, gene editing, and more by dramatizing their full human complexity. Literature’s value for public policy is demonstrated by striking examples that range from the literary response to evolution in the Victorian era through the modern synthesis of evolution and genetics in the mid-twentieth century to present-day genomics. Outlining practical steps for humanists who want to help shape public policy, this book offers vivid readings of novels by H. G. Wells, H. Rider Haggard, Aldous Huxley, Robert Heinlein, Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, David Mitchell, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Gary Shteyngart, and others that illustrate the important insights that literary studies can bring to debates about science and society.

Amanda Little

The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World

Climate models show that global crop production will decline every decade for the rest of this century due to drought, heat, and flooding. Water supplies are in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the world’s population is expected to grow another 30 percent by midcentury. So how, really, will we feed nine billion people sustainably in the coming decades?

Amanda Little, writer-in-residence of English, spent three years traveling through a dozen countries and as many U.S. states in search of answers to this question. Her journey took her from an apple orchard in Wisconsin to a remote control organic farm in Shanghai, from Norwegian fish farms to famine-stricken regions of Ethiopia.


Stephen Ornes

Math Art: Truth, Beauty, and Equations

The worlds of visual art and mathematics come together in this volume as Stephen Ornes explores the growing sensation of math art, presenting more than 80 pieces, including a crocheted, colorful representation of non-Euclidian geometry that looks like sea coral, and a 65-ton, 28-foot-tall bronze sculpture covered in a space-filling curve.

From 3D-printed objects that give real form to abstract mathematical theories, to mystic fractals, to Andy Warhol as a solution to the Traveling Salesman Problem, these artworks embody some of strangest, most beautiful relationships among numbers and across dimensions.