What the student can expect to learn
We will take up the question of What is fun about a protein? through three main activities.
- The first activity will provide scientific background through class discussion, reading and studying. The student can expect to gain a good understanding of the current state of the art of portraying protein molecules. The knowledge base we will discuss (and the data base of protein structures we will refer to constantly) are state-of-the-art and high-level. You don’t need a science background to take this colloquium, but if you do have a scientific bent, you will gain from this course some cool moves to get into areas of molecular science that are not covered very extensively in the usual undergraduate science curriculum.
- The second activity will be the selection and design of an artistic protein toy inspired by scientific knowledge of a known protein molecule. Here you will choose a protein molecule and develop a work plan for making that protein into something fun. An important part of this activity will be sharing your concept by putting it up for critique.
- In the third activity you will construct a working toy from your design. Do not wait until too late in the term to start putting it together. Instead, by fifth week, you should build a preliminary version of your project in order to discover the inevitable bugs in your design. Go back to the design table and then make another stab at a preliminary build. You want to end up at week 10 with a design and a reasonably well-working project that is really, truly fun.
What is expected of the student
- Classroom attendance.
- Classroom participation.
- Willingness to share personal progress at all stages of your course project by speaking up and by contributing posts on our course blog at http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/psquared
- Meet design deadlines, including the preliminary design review, final design review, and classroom critiques.
- It would be nice if you volunteer to join one (or more) of the course committees we will probably set up as the course moves along.
- Show up (with your protein toy) at our show at the end of the term.
When/where we meet
Strand 237 MW 11-11:50
If a student comes to class, participates in our discussions, and meets each course deadline including the final deadline of producing a working protein toy — that will be a sufficiently strong performance to merit the receipt of an A letter grade in this 2-credit colloquium course.
- We will make heavy use of online resources such as the Protein Data Bank.
- An optional, recommended, but completely not-required book is Introduction to Protein Structure by Branden and Tooze (Second edition; 1999; ISBN 0815323050; about $70. If you find a used copy, grab it! This is a great book.
- I have a list of other books you might like to check out from the library.
- I am also happy to lend you a biochemistry textbook if that will help.
Cost of materials
Art materials will probably cost you around $10- $20 (glue, tape, wire, other cheap materials). Let’s hold down the cost. Try to use the stuff you find lying around in the back of your closet. Save money.