Color, Culture and Conscience in Science and Engineering: Thailand

August 11-24, 2023

The group will travel from Bangkok to Phitsanulok, then on to Chaing Mai to Phitsanulok and back to Bangkok for departure to US.

Two colloquia will be offered:

HC 407: Blinded by Science: Famous Cases of Scientific Fraud, 2 credits

HC 407: The Science and Application of Color, 2 credits


Science is big business, and big business is done all over the world.  Being based in the US, our view of scientific research is from the perspective of the United States, yet valuable contributions to scientific and engineering research have been made from laboratories all over the world.  We will gain a new perspective on science in our host nation of Thailand.  Why Thailand, you might ask?  Well, firstly, there is a strong and longstanding connection between OSU and universities in Thailand.  Next, there is the inspiring cultural history of Thailand, along with the warm and welcoming nature of its people.  Finally, there is the strong and growing scientific community in Thailand.  Your OSU faculty mentors have many personal links to scientists in Thailand, and these connections led to this new study abroad opportunity.  We will visit laboratories in multiple settings and employ culturally significant settings as an outdoor lab while we explore two colloquium courses while in Thailand.


In the first colloquium course Blinded by Science, will discuss the ethics of science buy studying a specific case of international scientific fraud and expanding on that single, recent case with additional examples that you will research and share with the group.  Our case-in-point will be the most egregious and far-reaching single case of fraud in science – the fabricated data that led to the book “Plastic Fantastic” – which radically reshaped how we safeguard scientific integrity in the modern age.  While this will be our central case, we will not limit ourselves to this one field of study (materials science), and instead will also see cases from many other disciplines as well.


In the second colloquium course A World of Color,  we also explore the science of color in multiple settings in Thailand.  Color – and measurement of color – is central to much of science and culture in many nations.  We will examine the many sources of the colors we perceive, systems for quantitatively defining a specific color, and how color can be used to make measurements that yield insight into human and animal health (clinical chemistry) and environmental analysis.  We will study how color manifests in multiple settings, from the atmosphere, to plants and animals, to minerals, and even in man-made objects such as display devices, color fabrics, and paints.   Because color originates from molecular or microscopic mechanisms, the analysis of the color of an object can often also be used to probe the structure of an object.  We will see how these mechanisms map to modern measurement methods and hardware, and then will employ these systems in making measurement that are both scientifically rigorous and timely – for instance, in point-of-care medical diagnostics.

While we might have selected almost any setting for studying scientific integrity and color, we think you will find that there is no better place on the planet than Thailand for us to immerse ourselves in these topics together!  We hope you will join us in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phitsanulok this summer.

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