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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why should I read this book?
  2. How can I participate in the Common Reading Experience if I’m not a first-year student? How can I get a copy of the book?
  3. What is Rocky Flats?
  4. Why is the story of Full Body Burden so important?
  5. What messages should be taken from the story?


Why should I read this book?

It is important that you and others read this book. It addresses real issues on ethical decision making and medical advances through research. You will learn how these issues impact the advancement of our global society. As the author states, this book “brings together many disparate fields…and allows them to explore the real-world consequences of intellectual discoveries…bringing together health, community, family, ethics, religion, science, storytelling, history, business, law, and humanity.”


How can I participate in the Common Reading Experience if I’m not a first-year student? How can I get a copy of the book?

While the Common Reading Experience engages the incoming first-year students, participation from all other students and members of the university community is welcome. Other faculty will integrate parts of the book and its issues into their classes. Both undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to participate and can attend the public events and join in the discussion across campus. You can purchase a copy of the book at the USF Bookstore. Additional copies are available from the USF Library in paperback and e-book editions.


What is Rocky Flats?

Rocky Flats was a vital part of the U.S. nuclear weapons program located near Denver, Colorado. Few people knew it existed or what the plant produced. From 1952 to 1989, the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant produced more than 70,000 plutonium pits or “triggers” for nuclear bombs. Each pit contained enough breathable particles of plutonium to kill every person on earth.

The plant was veiled in secrecy. Colorado residents were kept unaware of the plant’s activities. Workers were not allowed to talk about their work.

There was extensive radioactive and toxic contamination in the air, water, and soil, both on-site and off-site. In addition to plutonium, off-site contaminants included tritium, beryllium, and dioxin, as well as between 1,100 and 5,400 tons of carbon tetrachloride.

Residential areas around Rocky Flats, particularly south and east of the plant (including the neighborhood where author Kristen Iversen grew up), were contaminated by Rocky Flats.


Why is the story of Full Body Burden so important?


What messages should be taken from the story?

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