Texas Tech University

Pi2 Cohorts

Design will be incorporated into the five major cohort areas below

Design is a crucial tool for students of all disciplines. It enriches the capacity of the creator to explore possibilities on how to communicate her/his ideas and successfully connect with a general audience. Beyond aesthetics, design also supplements the student with creative tools to envision different approaches for research. As part of these cohorts, design will play an important interdisciplinary part in the development of students' capacity for research through the presentation of relevant examples for their disciplines and practice exercises.

archaeology hat and pick

COHORT 1: Arts, Cultures, Music and Social Sciences (13 things)

Each week explores a different approach to the study of things. Material culture studies, archaeology, science studies, design studies, consumption studies, the sociology of technology, phenomenology, etc.; the course will explore a range of approaches in dealing with 13 things: the wheel, a Neolithic Megalith, an Ancient Greek perfume jar, the castle of Acrocorinth, a watermill, a map, the pocket watch, barbed wire, the light bulb, the blade, the portable radio, the camera, and the personal computer. Placing emphasis on questions of human/thing relations over the long term, the course critically questions the importance of goods, artifacts and stuff for humanity. Designed to appeal to a wide range of students, the course builds a rich toolkit to aid in the 'unpacking' of thing from a number of angles. Students are charged with the task of selecting a thing, whether ancient or contemporary, and researching it building on the perspectives encountered in the course.


Disciplines included in cohort 1

  • Archaeology
  • Social Sciences
  • Communication
  • Materials Science
  • History
  • Art
  • Political Science
  • Language
  • Design
  • Economics
  • Psychology

 stack of books

COHORT 2: Engineering and Process Sciences: Meeting Humanity's Challenges in the 21st Century

By 2050, there will be 10 billion people on Spaceship Earth, all deserving to live as well as Americans. Meanwhile, global climate change will change our lifestyles in unexpected and potentially undesirable ways. We need talented young people to develop new solutions to these challenges through research.

Each week we will investigate a challenge facing humankind and possible technical approaches to meeting the challenge. For example, can we use gold nanoparticles to capture more energy in the form of sunlight? Can we remove CO2 from the air and reduce global warming? In the process, the course will prepare the student for conducting meaningful and ethical research.


Disciplines included in cohort 2

  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical and Civil Engineering
  • Chemical and Materials Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Energetics

 math compass

COHORT 3: Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Let's Understand Something of the World Around Us! Every day we are challenged to understand the newest changes around us. As members of an educated part of society, we are expected to have relevant, well thought out responses. Is the world heating? How can we tell? What's the most effective way to counter the heating effects of seven billion people? Back to the stone age? Convert to photovoltaics? Go with wind power? What do they mean when they say 'clean coal'? NASA is testing an electromagnetic drive that contradicts the known laws of science? Who thought that was a good idea? Why must we test it even if conventional wisdom says it's not real. NASA is spending money on a warp engine design, new launch vehicles, a mission to mars, and a return to the moon. What do these imply about scientific thought?

On a more mundane level, you need to know what the scientific method really is. You need to grasp how to approach scientific claims to understand what is real and what is a journalist's flight of fancy. And then what constitutes an ethical use of man's knowledge?


Disciplines included in cohort 3

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Geosciences
  • Physics
  • Engineering

 heart rate line chart

COHORT 4: Health and Environmental Sciences: How to Address Human Health Concerns in an Interconnected Age

Recent disease outbreaks and epidemics such as the Ebola and Zika viruses demonstrate the need for new healthcare strategies and treatment measures worldwide. Globalization, climate change, encroachment into new environments, and increased trade and travel contribute to the emergence and spread of new diseases and present unique challenges to disease containment. Throughout this course, students will be introduced to new concepts regarding global health, how environmental and animal health impacts human health, and the development of new strategies to combat and contain disease.


Disciplines included in cohort 4

  • Natural Resource Management
  • Ecology
  • Biology
  • Biomedical
  • Engineering
  • Medical
  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Science and Human Health
  • Architecture, Health Design
  • Atmospheric Science, Climate Science
  • Arts and Medicine

 double helix dna strand

COHORT 5: Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Natural Sciences: Life Sciences in the 21st Century

For hundreds of years, biological knowledge advanced at a regular, but often plodding rate. Technological advances over the past 50 years have completely changed the life sciences. We have sequenced entire genomes for thousands of species, and have begun to understand how gene regulation and expression actually work at the genomic level. Soon there will be drugs or genetically modified agents that will be able to cure diseases in every single individual. Your generation will help make this happen, but it will only come from new advances in research. Understanding research and recognizing how you can become a scientist could be among the most transformational moments in your life.


Disciplines included in cohort 5

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Animal Science
  • Environmental and Human Health
  • Microbiology
  • Plant and Soil Science
  • Molecular and Quantitative Genetics
  • Forensics
  • Natural Fibers
  • Bioinformatics