2012-13 Catalog

Decorative graphic

2012-13 Undergraduate Index A-Z

Need help finding the right program? Contact Academic Advising
Tips for Using the Catalog

Philosophy Of Science [clear]

Title   Offering Standing Credits Credits When F W S Su Description Preparatory Faculty Days Multiple Standings Start Quarters Open Quarters
Rebecca Chamberlain
  Program FR–SRFreshmen - Senior 8 08 Day and Evening Su 13Summer Session II The program combines interdisciplinary study of science and humanities with fieldwork. We will explore a variety of cosmological concepts from mythology, literature, philosophy, and history, to an introduction to astronomy, archeo-astronomy, and theories about the origins of the universe. We will employ scientific methods of observation, investigation, hands-on activities, and strategies that foster inquiry based learning and engage the imagination. This class is focused on field work, and activities are designed for amateur astronomers and those interested in inquiry-based science education, as well as those interested in exploring literary, philosophical, cultural, and historical cosmological traditions.Students will participate in a variety of activities from telling star-stories under the night sky to working in a computer lab to create educational planetarium programs.  Through readings, lectures, films, workshops, and discussions, participants will deepen their understanding of the principles of astronomy and refine their understanding of the role that cosmology plays in our lives through the stories we tell, the observations we make, and the questions we ask. Students will develop skills an appreciation for the ways we uncover our place in the universe through scientific theories and cultural stories, imagination and intellect, qualitative and quantitative processes, and "hands on" observation.We will visit Pine Mountain Observatory, and participate in field studies at the Oregon Star Party, which include workshops with mentors, scientists, storytellers, and astronomers. We will develop a variety of techniques to enhance our observation skills including use of star-maps and navigation guides to identify objects in the night sky, how to operate 8” and 10” Dobsonian telescopes to find deep space objects, and how to use binoculars and other tools.  We will be camping and doing field work in the high desert for a week. Rebecca Chamberlain Wed Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Summer Summer
Jennifer Calkins
Signature Required: Spring 
  Contract JR–SRJunior - Senior 16 16 Day, Evening and Weekend S 13Spring This individual study opportunity will facilitate independent student molecular genomic lab and evolutionary ecological field work with animal species. Students may also have the opportunity to integrate creative writing and multimedia work into their studies. With faculty guidance, students will engage in integrative projects investigating the evolution of focal taxa by incorporating methods such as sequencing, bioinformatic analysis, niche analysis and vertebrate field ecology. All participants will also work as a cohesive lab group, meeting regularly to share and trouble-shoot projects and read and discuss research papers. They will also have the opportunity to interact with faculty, students and postdocs from other colleges such as the UW and Occidental College in Los Angeles. Jennifer Calkins Junior JR Senior SR Spring Spring
Arun Chandra and Richard Weiss
  Program FR–SOFreshmen - Sophomore 16 16 Day F 12 Fall W 13Winter Systems are not only of things but the relations between them.Mathematics offers an elegant language for the creation and analysis of relations and patterns, in and out of time. In its essence it is about order, continuity and difference.Music (when not merely reproduction) comes into being when a composer desires, specifies and implements sounds in a system of relations. ("Style" being a short-hand for a particular system of sounds and their relations.)Thus, music realizes the offer of mathematics when an implementation of desire involves systems of thought: what you want is what you get---but you have to want something! and articulate it! in a language! of things! and relations!---which is cybernetics."Cybernetics is a way of thinking about ways of thinking, of which it is one." --Larry Richards.This program interleaves the composition of computer music with the mathematics and analysis of sound. We will explore how it relates to scientific methodology, creative insight and contemporary technology. We will address "things" such as music and sound, rhythms and pulses, harmonics and resonances, the physical, geometrical, and psycho-physical bases of sound, acoustics, and their differing sets of relations by which they become "systems".A composer/musician and a computer scientist/mathematician will collaborate to offer a creative and practical, accessible and deeply engaging introduction to these subjects for interested non-specialists. Our math will be at a pre-calculus level, though students may do research projects at a more advanced level if they choose. Interdisciplinary projects could include creating music algorithmically with computers, or analyzing sound mathematically.Cybernetics offers both a philosophy underlying systems of thought, as well as frameworks with which one can both analyze and create. This program is designed for those who find their art in numbers, their science in notes, their thoughts on the ground, and their feet in the stars. By combining music, mathematics and computer science, this program contributes to a liberal arts education, and appeals to the creativity of both buttocks of the brain. Arun Chandra Richard Weiss Mon Mon Tue Tue Thu Thu Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Fall Fall Winter
EJ Zita
  Program FR–SRFreshmen - Senior 16 16 Day W 13Winter We are interested in symmetries in nature and the universe, and in human understanding and interaction with nature. We will read books and articles on astrophysics, cosmology and/or the environment to explore topics such as these. Physicists have discovered new puzzles which your generation will solve. Why is the expansion of the universe accelerating? What are dark matter and dark energy? Why is there matter, space, and time? Why do these take the forms that we observe?We will read about and discuss the beauty and importance of quantitative study of nature and our place in the natural world. Students will gain a deeper physical understanding of the universe, with little or no math.We will share our insights, ideas, and questions about the readings and our wonder about the universe. Students will write weekly short essays and many responses to peers' essays. Students will meet with their team (of 3 peers) at least one day before each class to complete pre-seminar assignments.Learning goals include deeper qualitative understanding of physics, related sciences and the scientific method; more sophisticated capabilities as science-literate citizens; and improved skills in writing, critical thinking, teamwork and communication.Program webpage: EJ Zita Tue Thu Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Winter Winter
Joseph Tougas and Rebecca Sunderman
  Program FR–SOFreshmen - Sophomore 16 16 Day S 13Spring We have inherited a scientific worldview that provides explanations for many phenomena that were great mysteries to earlier generations. It's easy to overlook how amazing it is that we can explain visible effects in terms of invisible objects such as molecules, atoms and electrons. How did this scientific worldview come to be? This program will follow the historical development of scientific thought from the teachings and practices of alchemy to modern chemistry. We will pay special attention to the meaning of scientific beliefs about the basic structure of material reality in different historical periods, as this structure can be discovered by observing the changes and transformations of visible substances. We will work hands-on in the laboratory with some of the "magical" transformation that so intrigued early scientific researchers. We will explore how the modern scientific method evolved and how it can be applied to everyday problems and puzzles, as we learn about concepts of chemistry--the periodic table of elements, chemical properties, and energy. This will give us material for philosophical reflection on the nature of knowledge, and how ideas about knowledge have changed historically. This program does not require any previous science or philosophy experience. science and education. Joseph Tougas Rebecca Sunderman Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Spring Spring
Heather Heying and Jennifer Calkins
  Program JR–SRJunior - Senior 16 16 Day F 12 Fall W 13Winter S 13Spring Evolution provides an explanation for the extraordinary biological diversity on this planet. In this program, we will focus on macroevolutionary processes, specifically speciation and the evidence it leaves behind. In doing so, we will address several philosophical questions, including: How do we make claims of knowledge in an historical science such as evolution? We will investigate questions that may seem simple at first--What is a species?--but turn out to have myriad, conflicting answers. This complexity, and our attempts to discern the pattern in that complexity, will be our focus.We will use the vertebrates as our model with which to study evolution, reviewing the morphological and genomic history and diversity of this clade. Innovations have marked the history of vertebrates, including the origins of cartilage, bone, brains, endothermy, and the amniotic egg, which allowed for the invasion of terrestrial habitats. The transformation of existing structures to take on new functions has been another notable feature of vertebrate evolution: from swim bladder into lungs, hands into wings, and scales into both feathers and hair.  This vertebrate diversification involved genomic innovation, particularly that involving the variation in the regulation of gene expression and regular bouts of gene duplication and diversification.Classroom work will include workshops and lectures in which active participation by all students will facilitate an enriching learning community. The labs will involve studying the focal traits of the primary two approaches to studying vertebrate evolution: morphological and molecular.In the wet lab, we will study the comparative anatomy of vertebrate skulls and skeletons, and dissect cats and sharks. We will also sequence genes and portions of the genome of various vertebrates.  In the computer lab, we will use analyze our genomic data.  We will combine our morphological and molecular investigations using software designed for systematic character analysis and for testing the pattern of selection across traits.  Using this software, students will generate and analyze molecular and morphological datasets. There will be two multi-day field trips. Students will present short lectures on topics in genomics, molecular evolution, anatomy or physiology (e.g. circulatory system, musclephysiology). Students will also conduct extensive research on a current unresolved topic in vertebrate evolution, and will present that research in both a paper and a talk. Heather Heying Jennifer Calkins Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall