• Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

    Header of Scientific Communication at Transmitting Science

Online Course – 1st Edition

Lessons in Scientific Thinking: Understanding Evolution

August 24th-28th, 2020

Scientific communication

Scientific Communication


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Lessons in Scientific Thinking: Understanding Evolution

Course overview

How can we teach students to think like scientists? In this course, current and prospective science instructors and advisors will work with various modes of thinking employed in science, in the context of applying them to understanding evolutionary history and processes. The course is intended to help participants develop advanced and subtle thinking skills to improve their understanding and teaching of central evolutionary and scientific concepts.

This course is intended for
– University faculty or secondary teachers who will teach scientific thinking or evolution
– Faculty in teacher education
– Graduate students in any field
– Anyone interested in being able to understand science better

In addition to online lectures (10 hours), the course will include reading/viewing assignments, writing assignments, and group discussions (7.5 hours). Each lesson will include other resources for teaching the information and concepts (readings, exercises, videos).


All participants must have a personal computer. Webcam and headphones are strongly recommended, and a good internet connection.




This course will be delivered online.

Please check the schedule for the live online part, and be aware that it is GMT+1.


August 24th-28th, 2020




17.5 hours online.

This course is equivalent to 1 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.


Places are limited to 20 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.

Brian Metscher instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Brian Metscher
University of Vienna


  • The nature and practice of science; the scope of scientific knowledge.
    • Scientific thinking: knowing how we know.
  • How we ask questions and test hypotheses; how scientific knowledge advances.
    • Conditional thinking: facts, theories, hypotheses.
  • Greek and medieval ideas; history of our worldview.
    • Darwinian thinking: the emergence of modern science.
  • The ideas that make up evolution; how science uses evolutionary theory.
    • New theory, new questions: the science of evolution.
  • Genetic and non-genetic inheritance, genes in development, sources of variation.
    • Theorizing and experimenting: how inheritance works.
  • Populations as dynamic and statistical systems; modeling and predicting changes.
    • Process thinking: natural selection and adaptation.
  • The roles of genes in evolution; what underlies evolutionary change?
    • Mechanistic thinking: “selfish” genes, inclusive fitness.
  • Divergence, demes, ecological niches, and reproductive isolation; coevolution.
    • Systems thinking: how new species form.
  • How we reconstruct evolutionary history; human descent.
    • Forensic thinking: paleontology and historical inference.
  • Evolution of complexity and of imperfection; our coevolution with microbes.
    • Evolutionary thinking applied to humans: aging, obstetrics, and diseases.


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until July 31st, 2020):
  • 186 € *
    (148.8 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Regular (after July 31st, 2020):
  • 230 € *
    (184 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Price is VAT included.
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.

You can check the list of Ambassador Institutions. If you want your institution to become a Transmitting Science Ambassador please contact us at communication@transmittingscience.com


  • Monday to Friday:
    • 9:00 to 11:00 online live lessons (GMT+1).

The rest of the time will be taught with assignments and readings, to be done between the live sessions.


Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the Course Fee. We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact courses@transmittingscience.com).

Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Ambassador Institutions). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Unemployed scientists living in the country were the course will be held, as well as PhD students based in that country without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinator. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.