least some of the upper-level biology courses should include labs. For example, students might take a lab along with genetics, molecular biology, or biochemistry, but not necessarily with all three courses.
Alternatively, a more quantitative track could be designed as an option for students who are interested in exploring the interfaces between biology, mathematics, computer science, and the physical sciences (Curriculum B).
A more radical change in undergraduate biology proposal appears as Potential Curriculum C below. The key idea is that contemporary biology cannot be taught effectively until students have a sufficiently strong background in chemistry, physics, math, and computer science. Consequently, biology is not taught in the first year, apart from a seminar designed to whet the appetite of students for biological research and stimulate their acquisition of a strong background in the physical sciences. Rather, the first year is devoted to providing students with the requisite background in the physical sciences and mathematics.
It is difficult to teach chemistry, physics, math, and computer science all in the first year. To succeed, the content of these courses has to be quite different from that of traditional courses in these areas. Also, the notion that an introductory course must occupy two semesters in the same academic year would have to be put aside. The primary objective of the first year would be to provide students with the physical science knowledge and tools needed to effectively study biology starting in the second year at a level that prepares them for contemporary biological research as it is being carried out today. In the proposed curriculum, Chemistry I and II would introduce students to inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and key aspects of biomolecular interactions. Math I would deal with differential calculus and elementary linear algebra, and Math II with integral calculus, probability, and statistics. Computer Science I would teach algorithms, simulation of dynamical systems, string (sequence) comparisons, and clustering; a high-level language such as Matlab or Mathematica would be used. Physics I would present mechanics, followed by equilibrium statistical physics. Waves, electrostatics, and collective phenomena would be presented in Physics II, followed by signal analysis and processing, basic quantum mechanics, and spectroscopy in Physics III.
The four-semester core biology sequence (Molecular Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Genetics, and Evolutionary Biology/Ecology) starting in the sophomore year could be taught with a quantitative emphasis that would draw more heavily than now on the physical sciences, mathematics, and computer science. For example, emergent system properties at