Skip to Main Content

Mathematics and the Natural Sciences

How can humans understand the natural world? What is really there? How does it move? What are matter, energy, space, time, and light? What is life and how does it evolve? At St. John’s, students study mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry through books and experiments that help them face these difficult, basic questions and to see how they might be answered. The program ranges widely, starting with Euclid’s Elements and ending with quantum physics, relativity, and contemporary molecular biology.

NOTE

Mathematics and the natural sciences are a few of the many subjects studied in the college’s integrated great books curriculum. There are no majors at St. John’s. Instead, students explore all these subjects over the course of all four years. Learn more about St. John’s classes.

Books and More

Apollonius Conics

Archimedes Essays

Niels Bohr Essays

Nicolaus Copernicus On the Revolutions of the Spheres

Richard Dedekind Essays on the Theory of Numbers

René Descartes Geometry, Meditations, Rules for the Direction of the Mind

Euclid Elements

Leonhard Euler Essays

Galileo Two New Sciences

Nikolai Lobachevsky Theory of Parallels

Maxwell Essays

Robert Millikan Essays

Minkowski Essays

Isaac Newton Principia

Nicomachus Arithmetic

Blaise Pascal Generation of Conic Sections

Ptolemy Almagest

Ernest Rutherford

Erwin Schrödinger Essays

J. J. Thomson Essays

François Viète Introduction to the Analytical Art

René Descartes Scientific Revolution

Albert Einstein

Gottlob Frege The Foundations of Arithmetic

Jacob Klein Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra

Ernst Mach The Science of Mechanics

C. S. Peirce Selected papers

Bertrand Russell An Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy

Alan Turing “On Computable Numbers with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem”

Action in Classical and Modern Physics, from Leibniz to Feynman

Computing

The Fundamental Theorem of Algebra

Meter and Form in English Poetry

Quantum Phenomena

Readings in the Origins of Algebra

Plato

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Computer Programming

Math

Microbiology

Quantum Mechanics

Erwin Schrodinger’s What Is Life? and Richard Feynman’s QED

The information presented is for illustration purposes only and may not reflect the current reading list and preceptorial and study group offerings. Works listed are studied at one or both campuses, although not always in their entirety.

Filter By

Philosophy to Neurosurgery

Alumni

Dr. Justin Cetas (SF93) is an accomplished neurosurgeon and educator in the Pacific Northwest.

Senior Essay

Turning the World Inside-Out: Why the Newtonian Theory of Planetary Motion Supersedes the Ptolemaic

U.S. Naval Observatory

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Unconventional Path to Medical School

Alumni

Former St. John’s student Richard Babicz (SF09) has done a little bit of everything since he graduated. Now he’s nearing the end of medical school.

Study Group Explores Digital Technology

Tutor

The Mellon Foundation Study Group on Digital Technology is working to determine whether digital technology has a place in the St. John’s curriculum.

Yale School of Medicine, Bloomfield Lab

Internships

Owen Morgan (A17) studied at the Blumenfeld Lab at the Yale Neuroscience Imaging Center.

Senior Essay

Close Your Eyes and Learn Geometry: Embracing Radical Ideas in Lobachevskian Geometry

Lecture

Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive Science Matters for Ethics

Joshua David Greene

Senior Essay

Relating Space and Geometry: The Necessity of Spatial Experience in Association with Multiple Versions of Geometry

Programming for the Environment

Alumni

St. John’s College alumna Sarah Schoedinger (A92) is the senior program manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Education.

Modern Gladiator

Alumni

Michelle Urban (SF08) is CEO of Albuquerque-based Pressure Analysis Company (PAC), which designs and manufactures wireless technology to track head injuries in athletes.

Senior Essay

Chaos and Quanta: Two New Hypotheses in Max Plank’s Theory of Heat Radiation

Student Connects with Alumni for Career in Physics

Johnnies

Marybeth Beydler (A16), St. John’s student and spring intern at CERN, spoke about the alumni network at the college.

Environmental Club

Student Group

The St. John’s Environmental Club is devoted to creating awareness on campus about issues relating to protection, conservation, preservation, and restoration—with an emphasis on educating and empowering students.

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Internships

St. John’s College graduate Krisin Hoch (SF16) spent her summer studying the cosmos as part of the Ariel Internship Program.

Senior Essay

Imaginary Geometry and Our Understanding of Space

Conservation Ecology Center at the Smithsonian National Zoo

Internships

Andrea Hill (A16) studied chimpanzee eating habits at the Conservation Ecology Center at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC.

Finding Fulfillment in Solar Energy

Alumni

St. John’s College alumnus Ethan Goddard (A14) is now a commercial project manager for a solar company in Maryland.

Working for the Environment

Alumni

Alumna Sophie Stauffer (SF12) recently completed post-master’s work at Los Alamos National Laboratory and is set to begin a new job with the New Mexico Environment Department.

University of Maryland, Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

Hume’s Empirical Mathematics

A Connection to Outer Space

Johnnies

When St. John’s College junior Catherine Baldwin interned at the NASA History Program Office last summer, it provided her with a connection to the hit movie “Hidden Figures.”

Anne Arundel Medical Center

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Sustainability

Student Group

Advanced Institute for Science and Technology

Internships

During his Hodson summer internship, St. John’s student Tri Nguyen (A17) went from novice in the lab to performing his own experiments.

Senior Essay

Structures of Mathematical Thought: An Essay on Kant’s Philosophy of the Mathematical Mind

Senior Essay

The Role of Beauty in Science as Seen in the Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen Paper and Responses to it Within the Context of Quantum Theory

A Space Odyssey

Alumni

St. John’s College alumnus Tai Ragan (SF15) is set to begin a new job at NASA.

An Internship for the Dogs

Internships

The program focused on helping train search-and-rescue dogs at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center in Philadelphia.

Senior Essay

Mind the Gap: The Philosophical Implications of the Divide of Logic and Intuition in Lobachevski

Conservation in the Prairie

Alumni

Julia Leone (A12) recently was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to continue her work in conservation biology.

Windward Education and Research Center

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Quality Books to Quality Engineering

Alumni

Andrew Mize (A12) is a quality engineer specialist at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, the company’s largest motor vehicle manufacturing plant.

Lecture

Leibniz’s Monadology and the Philosophical Foundations of Non-locality in Quantum Mechanics

J.H. Beall

A Lesson in Perseverance

Alumni

St. John’s College alumnus Matt Carver learned a lot in Annapolis, but he says the ability to push his own limits was among the most important lessons.​

City of Hope, Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Start-Up Soars Over Competition

Alumni

St. John’s College graduate Robert Morris (SF04) is CEO of TerrAvion, a company that produces the highest volume of aerial imagery for agriculture in the nation.

Senior Essay

The Concept of Mass in Newton’s Principia

Dutton Road Veterinary Clinic

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

Beyond the Flaming Ramparts: Dirac’s Symbolic Method

Alumni in Science

Alumni

Four St. John’s College alumni who went on to prominent careers in math and science gave advice to students during the Alumni in Science Panel on the Annapolis campus.

Lecture

Newton’s Double Pendulum Experiment: Talk and Demonstration

Curtis Wilson

Searching for a Cure

Alumni

St. John’s College alum David Hysong (AGI11) has been named one of Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” for his efforts in cancer therapy development.

University of Pittsburgh Neurological Surgery Dept. Hillman Cancer Center

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Float Brings Hope to Rose Parade

Alumni

St. John’s College alum Dr. Stephen Forman was part of a group that received national attention at the 128th Rose Parade in California.

Senior Essay

In Search of the Absolute—How Maxwell’s Electromagnetic Hammer Came Down on Relativity

Lecture

The Power of a Point: Euclid’s Elements and Steiner’s Geometrical Reflections

Michael N. Fried

George Mason University School of Physics Astronomy & Computational Sciences

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

Michael Faraday Describes Magnetism Heuristically

Lecture

What is a Q.E.F.? Reflections on the Nature of Geometrical Making

Michael Augros

Senior Essay

The Probability Function in Quantum Mechanics: A Formal Cause Beyond Space and Time

Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

What is a Curve? A Search for Continuity in Leibniz’s Calculus

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Graduate Student Leads a Life of Service

Alumni

Erinn Woodside applied and started at the Graduate Institute at St. John’s College while still an active duty officer in the US Air Force.

Tufts University, Advanced Integrated Circuits & Systems Lab

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

God’s Great Mathematical Waltz

Senior Essay

On the Paradox of Quantum Theory

Senior Essay

Geometry and Necessity

University of Maryland, Department of Physics, Physics Education Research Group

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.