2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Meaning, Math and Motion

Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty: Krishna Chowdary physics, Rachel Hastings linguistics, mathematics

Fields of Study: linguistics, mathematics and physics

Fall: CRN (Credit) Level 10074 (16) Fr; 10076 (16) So - Sr  

Winter: Enrollment Accepting New Students  CRN (Credit) Level 20044 (16) Fr; 20045 (16) So - Sr; 20398 (1-16)  Signature Required Students will need to: (1) have successfully completed 1 quarter of (differential) calculus; (2) have successfully completed 1 quarter of algebra-based or calculus-based physics (mechanics); (3) read several linguistics articles and Metaphors We Live By (Lakoff and Johnson). Contact Krishna Chowdary (chowdark@evergreen.edu or 360-867-6156) or Rachel Hastings (hastingsr@evergreen.edu or 360-867-6151) or meet with them at the Academic Fair December 1, 2010.  

Credits: 16(F); 16(W)

Class Standing: Freshmen - Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmenFreshmen - Senior

Offered During: Day

Prerequisites: Intermediate algebra.


This challenging program is an integrated introduction to linguistics, mathematics and physics. We invite serious students of various backgrounds who are interested in reading, writing, communicating and calculating in order to become quantitatively literate citizens. Students will be supported in developing a firm background in physics, mathematics and linguistics at the college level, and becoming prepared for further work in these areas.

We believe any area of inquiry involves entering into a previously ongoing conversation. Quoting a charming articulation by Kinsman (a mathematician-turned-oceanographer, in the preface to Wind Waves): "To the beginner, science is a conversation that has been in progress for a very long time. Science resembles the babble at a party; some of the participants are euphoric, some saturnine, some quarrelsome, and some inspired beyond their usual capacity. Whatever else happens, the conversation cannot proceed systematically or at the level of humdrum sobriety. Some scientists wander from group to group, while others remain fixed. Some groups talk about similar things, and occasionally conversations pass from one group to another. You have arrived in the middle of the party." Our collective work is to catch up on the conversation, which means being deliberate about how we calculate and convince, speak and write, listen and read, and also means acquiring the science content and process skills required to judge what is being argued.

In addition to learning science content and process skills, mathematics and physics studies will be supported by applying techniques of linguistic analysis which help to illuminate the conventions and assumptions upon which the conversation relies. The study of linguistics will be deepened by using scientific texts as case studies for identifying and analyzing linguistic conventions. For example, we may study the source and nature of unstated assumptions, conventions of scientific logic, the nature and role of definitions in scientific inquiry, and the linguistic conventions found in different kinds of scientific texts.

This program is designed for students with high school math who are ready for pre-calculus, but requires no prior preparation in linguistics or physics. It is intended for students serious about understanding language, improving their writing, and learning physics and mathematics, including calculus. The work will be intensive in both science and language, and students should expect to spend over 50 hours per week engaged with material. Students will participate in seminar, labs, workshops and lectures. Students will perform linguistic analyses of texts, do weekly problem sets in all areas that combine concepts, calculations and communication, and write about linguistics, math and physics. Quizzes and exams will be among the methods used to assess student learning.

In fall quarter, we will study pre-calculus and begin calculus. In winter, we will continue the study of differential calculus and move on to integral calculus. In physics, topics will include mechanics and electromagnetism (algebra- and then calculus-based) over the two quarters. In linguistics, we will study principles of pragmatics, semantics and discourse analysis in both quarters.

Maximum Enrollment: 48

Required Fees: Fall/Winter $50 per quarter to cover field trips and physics toy kits.

Preparatory for studies or careers in: education, linguistics, mathematics, physics, quantitative literacy, and writing.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
November 22nd, 2010 Winter entrance requirements updated.