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Layale Bazzi, Alan Wildeman and Erica Stevens Abbitt.Layale Bazzi accepts a semester’s free tuition from UWindsor president Alan Wildeman and Erica Stevens Abbitt, director of the Humanities Research Group.

Physics student wins praise and prize for defense of humanities

Disciplines in the humanities provide a frame for her to understand the implications of her work in sciences, says Layale Bazzi. The second-year physics student took top honours in the “Why Humanities” competition for her impassioned defense of their importance.

“Day in and day out, I am differentiating, integrating, rearranging and solving equations that describe the physical world around us,” she wrote. “What I can’t tell you are the ethical implications. All I can provide are facts about nature, and not human nature.”

Her insight won Bazzi a semester’s free tuition, announced Monday, September 26, at a reception celebrating all entrants. Other finalists received tickets to the Windsor International Film Festival: Alexa diCecco, Abrial Cooke, Victoria Pedri and Andrew Deane. Creative writing major Marisa Bordonaro received an honourable mention for her poem, “Humanities: Hidden Bonds.”

Professor Erica Stevens Abbitt, director of the Humanities Research Group, said the innovative entries demonstrate that students believe the humanities represent core values shared across campus and between disciplines.

“I think it’s noteworthy that the winner is a gifted writer who is also a science major,” she said. “For over a year, HRG has hosted a range of public lectures exploring the contemporary relevance of the humanities. We’ve had scholars in many fields speak on the subject.”

Or, as Bazzi’s essay states, “The study of humanities provides a bridge between the infamous crazy scientist and the general public.” Read her winning entry here.

More information on the Humanities Research Group and upcoming events is available on its website.