2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Transmutation: The Alchemy of Scientific Thought

Spring 2013 quarter

Joseph Tougas philosophy , Rebecca Sunderman physical and inorganic chemistry
Fields of Study
chemistry, history and philosophy of science
Preparatory for studies or careers in
science and education.

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.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$35 for presentation posters.
Offered During