Junk Science with Jackie Brittingham

Transfer Colloquium 201

“Junk Science” is when unjustified claims are improperly advertised as scientific. For example, have you ever wondered if…wet hair can give you a cold, if chocolate causes acne, if vaccines can lead to autism, or if organic foods are more nutritious? And how much truth there is to the “five-second rule”? We live in a nation that prides itself as a leader in science, but many of us base decisions on anecdotal evidence, inappropriately represented as scientific information. In this class we will investigate “junk science” and other unjustified claims in advertising, medicine, politics, and old wives’ tales. By investigating literature, internet and media resources, and personal experiences, students will learn to evaluate scientific claims to determine whether claims are data-supported or full of junk.

Meet Your Professor

Jackie Brittingham, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology

I grew up in a small town just outside of Philadelphia and completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology in Philadelphia. I moved to Iowa City to complete a research fellowship in developmental biology before landing my dream job teaching at Simpson College in 1999. I am the the Pre-Health Society advisor. I teach introductory courses in biology and advanced courses in human physiology and embryology, and I get particularly excited when I teach topics related to reproductive biology. I enjoy working with undergraduate students in my research lab where we study genes that direct organ formation in a variety of different animal models.

I live in Indianola, just a few blocks from campus with my husband, a microbiologist at Des Moines University and my two children, Madeline and Andrew.  My family life is a constant source of material for my classroom anecdotes! I love to be outdoors (preferably on my bicycle) and to travel (ask me about Africa!). I enjoy cheering on the Philadelphia Flyers, Phillies and Eagles (usually), and when no one is watching, I can beat the pants off my son in Wii Just Dance!
Life in the fast lane with my son!Jackie B. in Fast Lane





Jackie B. in Ragbrai





Slowing it down with RAGBRAI !