2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Astronomy and Cosmology: Stars and Stories

Summer 2013 quarter

Rebecca Chamberlain literature, writing, yoga
Fields of Study
astronomy, education, field studies, literature, philosophy and philosophy of science
Preparatory for studies or careers in
astronomy, education, interpretive work (museums, parks, observatories, outdoor education), scientific research, writing, literature, philosophy, cultural studies, mythology and storytelling 

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.

Advertised Schedule
2-10p M/W July 29, 31, Aug. 14, 19; field studies (Aug. 6-11)
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$30 lab fee plus $400 for travel and field study expenses, guest lecturers, and lab supplies
Special Expenses
Students must bring their own camping gear, supplies, food, etc. for camping in the high desert. Contact instructor for details.
Offered During
Day and Evening