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If you have questions about this program, email the program leader listed below.

Science and Social Progress

The arrangements for the travel, housing, meals, excursions and course content of this program have been made by the leader. Questions about this program can only be answered by the program leader listed below.

Program Type Departmental
Program Location Bogota, Villa de Leyva, Colombia
Course # SA 10807
Duration Summer
Upcoming Program Dates
To Be Announced
Past Dates
Summer 2019 05/11/19 to 05/28/19

Program Leader

Name Adam Wasserman
Phone765 494 2348

Program Description


Call Out:  February 14th (Thursday) at 12:00pm in WTHR 117D.

For details, visit the course website


Overview: A group of about 15 Purdue students will meet at Purdue for the first week and travel to Bogotá for an 18-day stay. The students from Purdue will interact with a group of a similar size from Universidad de Los Andes. Purdue faculty will guide in-depth small-group discussions based on the many excellent, freely-available materials on "Science and Social Progress" from UNESCO and the World Economic Forum.  

Students from different majors will get together to discuss strategies for choosing worthwhile research questions. In the process, students will use their major-specific backgrounds to analyze a range of real-world problems while developing a sensitivity for the more subjective and complex cultural aspects involved.

Five overarching questions will be addressed:

I.    What is the status of science funding and infrastructure in the US and in Colombia.
II.    How has science research and innovation evolved in the US and in Colombia, and what are the current trends of science funding in the two countries.
III.    How have GDP and other indicators evolved over time and how are these indicators related to science research and innovation (public, private, military).
IV.    What are some of the outstanding current challenges to science progress in the US and Colombia (energy, water resources, land management).
V.    How is ethical behavior in science affected by evolving socio-economic, geo-political, and environmental trends?  What are the moral obligations of scientists and engineers with respect to social progress. What is ethical in terms of R&D funding?

The course will involve visists to museums, industry, universities, flower and coffee plantations, seminars by invited speakers, and a 3-day trip to historic Villa de Leyva.



Academic Credit

3 credits

This course will meet the College of Science "Great Issues" requirement OR the culture requirement for the College of Science


Students who have taken a course on general chemistry or general physics, or calculus, are eligible to apply.

Program Cost

$2,400 (Note that you can apply for Study-abroad scholarships). This does not include airfare and transportation to/from airport in the U.S., and it also does not include some meals (~$200), passport costs (~$175), extending housing at Purdue for the first week (~$130), activating roaming for the phone (~$100), and possibly additional (unanticipated) costs. 

Application Deadline

March 1st, but the sooner you apply, the better your chances of getting a spot (We are limited to 15 spots).

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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