GSTR332.101 Syllabus

GSTR332.101 Syllabus - GSTR332E: Scientific Knowledge...

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Unformatted text preview: GSTR332E: Scientific Knowledge & Inquiry "Life, the Universe, and Everything" Fall 2010 Dr. Michael Berheide Class Meetings: TR, 10:00-11:50, Science 17 "This department [Natural Science] is one not only of thrilling and healthful interest but profoundly affects the material and moral prosperity of our [human] race. It is God's marvelous textbook but partially opened to us in these latter days: And it behooves our Christian institutions not to allow their attachment to the hereditary claims of linguistic and mathematical study so to absorb them that they too largely give over the study of physical science to materialistic atheists." --- Charles G. Fairchild (President Fairchild's brother), June, 1878 CATALOG DESCRIPTION GSTR332 SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE & INQUIRY Prerequisites: Practical Reasoning with Quantitative Emphasis (PRQ) and sophomore standing Offered: Typically Fall and Spring terms This course invites students to explore a variety of scientific disciplines in order to understand what science is, does, and tells us about the natural world around us. Employing an integrative approach to the natural sciences, the course emphasizes the historical development of laws, models, and theories, as well as basic scientific literacy important to contemporary concerns. Each section of the course includes inquiry-based learning (lab) experiences. Section Description: Things You Should Know -- and How We Know Them. Do you feel left out of the conversation when your fishing buddies are talking about adenosine triphosphate? Have you recently misspelled "megaparsec" on a job application? Are you embarrassed at cocktail parties when everyone else is talking about H. ergaster and you can think of nothing witty to say? Then this is the course for you! We are going to spend the entire semester learning basic facts about the natural world that any educated college graduate should know, and, more importantly, the fascinating ways in which these things have come to be learned. Never be intimidated again! REQUIREMENTS Readings Awhile back, I tried using Bill Bryson's wonderful A Short History of Nearly Everything, instead of a textbook. Students very much enjoyed that book, but universally complained that they also wanted a text. Therefore, you have them to blame for the fact that I now assign, in addition to the Bryson work, Trefil & Hazen's The Sciences: An Integrated Approach, 6e, which is available at the bookstore. Fortunately, it's one of those rarest of things: a good textbook. I like it, and I think you will, too. 1 One problem that we face, however, is that the order of presentation of material in the two books is quite different. Try as I might, I cannot seem to get them to connect in any sensible way. Therefore, I have decided simply to read Bryson first--just like a real book!--and then turn to the textbook. Actually, we'll read a good chunk of it, move to the text, and then return. I really do think that this just might work. Quite a bit of additional reading, in the form of handouts and websites, will also be required, but they will not require you to purchase anything. Examinations (65%) There will be three "Unit Exams," worth 15% of your total grade apiece, and a final, comprehensive exam, worth 20%. Labs and Other Assignments (15%) From time to time, you will be required to participate in hands-on Lab assignments, and to submit certain other written work beyond simple homework. These assignments will be worth a total of 15% of your final grade. Homework Homework will be assigned frequently, to help you keep up with the materials and prepare you for the exams. Many of the assignments will come from questions in the textbook, while others will be devised by me. Virtually all of them will involve some "quantitative reasoning" component. Assignments will be graded on a 5-point scale, according to the scheme below: Acceptable Unacceptable On time 5 points 3 points Late 3 points 2 points Unacceptable homework may be revised within one week of being returned by the instructor, and, if then acceptable, will be awarded an additional point. Revisions may be submitted only once, however. Your grade for the homework will be calculated by dividing the number of points you received by the number possible, i.e., 5 points for each assignment. The resulting percentage will be worth 20% of your final grade in the course. Compliance with a standard format for the homework will be required for acceptability. More on this later. Attendance Attendance is necessary (my lectures are often not about the readings, you will find), but not required, although I will take note of excessive absences--by circulating a sign-in sheet--in case the Dean calls wondering where you are. 2 GRADING The official definition of letter grades adopted by the College Faculty and placed in the College Catalog is as follows: The quality of a student's academic achievement in each Berea College course is reported through final course grades as follows: A: Excellent work B: Good work C: Competent work D: Poor work which is still worthy of credit F: Failing work which is unworthy of credit I: Incomplete (Assigned only when some portion of a course has not been completed for good and sufficient reason. Courses in which I grades are assigned must be completed not later than the end of the next regular term in which the student is enrolled or the grade will be recorded as "F" on the permanent record. Note that instructors may set an earlier deadline for completion of incomplete work than that set by the College.) In addition, the course grades of A, B, C, and D may be modified by a plus (+) or minus (-) suffix, indicating achievement which is respectively at the higher or lower segment of each of these grade ranges. Grade Point Average: For purposes of computing the Grade Point Average (GPA), the following weights are used: A+ / A / CA=4.0; A- =3.7; B+=3.3; B=3.0; B-=2.7; C+=2.3; C=2.0; C-=1.7; D+=1.3; D=1.0; D-=0.7; and F / CF=0.0. S, SC, I, and U grades are not used in calculating GPA. This course naturally follows these guidelines. "C" means "competent," we are told--but how competent and for what purpose? My view on this is that a C shall mean "acceptable college-level work." After all, if one gets all Cs, one receives a college diploma. "B" indicates better than "competent," while "A" is reserved for exceptional work--generally produced only by about the top 5-8% of students -- how else can one be "excellent"? "D" represents poor work, generally below acceptability, and "F" represents work that is completely unacceptable--work that I cannot certify as worthy of graduation credit from Berea College. To aid calculation, actual grades on assignments are given in number form, based on a percent scale in which 90 = A, 80 = B, etc., and pluses and minuses are determined by the second digit of the percentage: 0, 1, 2 = "-", and 7, 8, 9 = "+". At the end of the semester, the total number of raw points you have earned will be divided by the total possible (800), to yield a final percentage, which will then be translated back into your final letter grade. 3 Other Matters Disability Statement Students who have a disability that may prevent them from fully demonstrating their abilities should contact the Disability Services Coordinator at (859) 985-3212, or email the Director of Counseling & Disability Services at, to discuss accommodations necessary to ensure full participation in this course. Upon request, this syllabus can be made available in alternative forms. Instructor Evaluation Questionnaire: At the end of the semester, you will be invited to share your thoughts about this course (and its instructor!) by filling out an on-line Instructor Evaluation Questionnaire. I strongly encourage you to do this, as I rely on student input to help me improve my classes and my teaching. You will be doing me a great favor. Special Dates Exams (Attendance Required): TBA Exam 1 Exam 2 Exam 3 Final Exam (1:00pm-2:50pm) Class Dismissed: Sep. 2: Son's Wedding in Chicago Oct. 12: Midterm Reading Period Nov. 25: Thanksgiving Break Labs (Attendance Required): TBA COURSE OUTLINE In order to encourage class attendance, I will not present a detailed course schedule. If you want to know what's coming up when, come to class! For the record, the general outline will follow this plan. 4 The Nature of Science Science and Its Methods The First Principle of Science Scientific Notation Science as a Pursuit What Science is NOT How much is a billion? Light Years, AU and Parsecs How About Some Physics? Wandering Around the Universe The Ptolemaic View Galileo Speed, Velocity and Acceleration Newton Zeno's Paradoxes Gravity Energy Work, Energy, Power Forms of Energy Heat and Thermodynamics Temperature and Heat Transferring Heat Conduction Convection Radiation The Laws of Thermodynamics Entropy Electricity and Magnetism Electrons and Currents Fields Monopoles AC/DC [no, not those guys] Maxwell's Equations Electromagnetic Radiation Longitudinal and Transverse Waves Electromagnetic Waves 5 The EM Spectrum How Some Things Work Relativity Maxwell's Equations, again Reference Frames Special Relativity The Lorenz Factor General Relativity Puzzles and Conundrums The Atom The Thomson Model Demonstrating the Thomson Experiment The Rutherford Model The Rutherford Experiment The Bohr Model The Periodic Table Quantum Leaps Heisenburg Uncertainty Wave-Particle Duality The Double-Slit Test The deBroglie Equation How About Some Chemistry? Chemical Bonds Where Chemistry Happens Types of Bonds The Hydrogen Bond States of Matter Basic Reactions Material Properties Basic Properties Semiconductors Information Processing How About Some More Physics? The Nucleus Radioactivity 6 Half-Lives Logarithms Isotopes The U-238 Decay Chain Fission and Fusion The Standard Model Reductionism and Science Leptons, Hadrons and Antimatter Quarks Fundamental Forces GUTs Maybe It's a Little Astronomy You Want? Stars How Telescopes Work Astronomical Distances The HR Diagram and the Life Cycle of Stars Black Holes Cosmology The Age of the Universe How We Got Here: The Evidence Olber's Paradox The Big Bang "Freeze Outs" Some Misconceptions about the Big Bang Galaxy Formation The Future of the Universe The Solar System The Nebular Hypothesis The Big Splash Differentiation The Rare Earth Hypothesis The "Nine" Planets Asteroids, Comets and Meteors The Oort Cloud and the Kuiper Belt Did Someone Say "Geology"? Why not? 7 The Earth Plate Tectonics Earth's Structure Convection Tectonic Plates and Boundaries Earthquakes S and P Waves Examining the Earth's Interior Earth Cycles The Nature of Cycles Water, Rock and Carbon Milankovitch Cycles and Ice Ages Life! Now, That's The Stuff Ecosystems and Life Strategies Ecosystems: Life and Matter Trophic Layers The Linnean System Molecules and Cells Enzymes and Proteins Isomers Organelles and Functions The Phospholipid Bilayer Metabolism and ATP Genetics The Rules of Classical Genetics Alleles Punnett Squares Modern Genetics The Central Dogma Transcription and Translation DNA and RNA Genes and Proteins Mutation Evolution: Origins and Change What Evolution Is What Evolution Is NOT Mitosis and Meiosis "Selfish" Genes 8 Evolutionarily Stable Strategies Origins of Life Extinction and Evolution 9 ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/11/2012 for the course GSTR 332 taught by Professor Berheide during the Spring '10 term at Berea.

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