The da Vinci Program Description

The da Vinci Program (DVP) in the UM College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) - inspired by the artist, humanist, and scientific genius Leonardo da Vinci - aims to enhance the opportunities for incoming freshman and sophomore students to explore the interdisciplinary connections among the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

The da Vinci Program encourages students to rethink the map of human knowledge. It emphasizes connections between humanistic and scientific inquiry and their modes of understanding: objectivity, critical analysis, self-reflexivity, the nature of proof, authority, and the logic and rhetoric of written expression. It also helps define the distinctive elements that humanities classes can offer to STEM-minded students: a chance to reflect on questions of human values, ethics, and aesthetics. At the same time, it introduces humanities students to conceptually new means of investigating the traditional fields.

 

PROGRAM OF STUDY WITH SAMPLE COURSES:

Freshman Year - Fall Semester

Leonardo da Vinci Course
The first course for da Vinci Program Students in Fall 2014 examines the historical figure of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) as a case study of a person whose interests encompassed different areas of knowledge. Known as a painter, anatomist, engineer, architect, musician, stage set designer, mathematician, inventor, and much more, Leonardo seems to incarnate “Renaissance Man.” How was it possible for him to pursue so many interests during his lifetime? Among our goals:

acquainting ourselves with the life trajectory, experience, and myths surrounding Leonardo;
exploring the educational and training system in place in the Renaissance;
discovering how “modern” disciplines separate activities that in the past were much more closely connected;
discovering how such separations can be questioned and bridged.

From Agora to Royal Society: The Evolution of Scientific Narrative Course
This course will examine scientific narrative as a form that has evolved over time. We will begin with the Greek oral tradition, as it has come down through Roman texts; then, we will read English translations of early Modern medical writers, including Bartholomeus Metlinger of Augsberg and the female physician Trotula of Salerno, and consider the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, Andreas Vesalius, and other Renaissance anatomists. After considering the foundations of modern scientific method as laid down by Francis Bacon and René Descartes, and early influential medical researchers like Hieronymous Fabricius ab Aquapendente and William Harvey, we'll end with the establishment of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, which marked a major shift in the shaping of scientific narrative.

Freshman Year – Spring Semester

History and Philosophy of Science Course
Guest faculty from various disciplines will contribute.

Sophomore Year – Fall Semester

Science and Society or Art Science Course
Guest faculty from various disciplines will contribute.

Sophomore Year – Spring Semester
Research Seminar Course

A research/class project involving either a photo lab/visual media project or research in digital humanities.
Guest faculty from various disciplines will contribute.

Junior Year – Fall Semester

DVP Program co-listed sections of regular course offerings, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary classes.

Examples: History of Science; Medicine and Literature.

Topic-Based Seminar #1 Course
Choose from a list of 5-6 seminars.
Topics include a major contemporary ethical, intellectual, and aesthetic question.
Examples:
The Science and Poetry of Environmental Change; Medicine, Healing, and Religion.

Junior Year – Spring Semester

DVP Program co-listed sections of regular course offerings, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary classes.

Examples: History of Science; Medicine and Literature.

Topic-Based Seminar #2 Course
Choose from a list of 5-6 seminars.
Topics include a major contemporary ethical, intellectual, and aesthetic question.
Examples: The Science and Poetry of Environmental Change; Medicine, Healing, and Religion.

Senior Year – Fall Semester

DVP Symposium
DVP students present on an interdisciplinary issue or question at a symposium open to the public.

Senior Year – Spring Semester

DVP Symposium
DVP students present on an interdisciplinary issue or question at a symposium open to the public.

 

FAQs:

Q: How can I participate in the da Vinci Program?

A: It is by invitation only to high-performing students.

Q: How many students usually enroll in this program?

A: The University Admissions Office extends invitations to a select group of high-achieving admitted students, of which only the first 40 to accept the invitation become each year's cohort.

Q: Do I have to be a student in the College of Arts & Sciences to participate?

A: Yes. You don’t need to have declared a particular major to be invited to the program.