Photo: David Parks. Chamaeleo pardalis, from Madagascar. Click on the picture for more.

Wednesdays 6 — 10 pm Longhouse 1007b
Saturdays 9 am — 5 pm Lecture Hall 3 Apr 5, 19; May 3, 17, 31.
CRN: 30262 Credits: 8

Allen Mauney
360 867 5458
(use @ in place of [at])
mail: 3220 Lib
office: 3210 Lib

Kevin Hogan
360 867 5078
(use @ in place of [at])
mail: 3127 Sem
office: 4163 Sem

In this program we will address concepts and phenomena that are improbable or counterintuitive. Should we distrust an idea just because it’s unpopular? We will consider a variety of topics in the physical, biological, and social sciences, and seek to develop the analytical skills for distinguishing between the probable and the absurd. Credit will be awarded in science, research methods, and statistics. Students will evaluate the scientific merit of (controversial) topics of their choice.

Tentative Syllabus WebX Book List Possible projects
Science Links Covenant Portfolio Liberal Arts Forum


At this site, you can access some excellent study material on evolutionary biology (see chapters 20 through 25) and a tutorial on natural selection.

Color vision

This site was the source for many of the figures in the lecture on Wednesday 21 May. Here is a simpler representation of the opponent processing model of color vision. Here you can mix light of different colors.

Adaptive Evolution of Photoreceptors and Visual Pigments in Vertebrates by Shozo Yokoyama and Ruth Yokoyama, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 27. (1996), pp. 543-567.

Would you like to be a tetrachromat?

True weirdness

Are you still confused by the metric system?

Perhaps you'd like to step into a parallel universe?

Are you hearing colors and smelling sounds? Maybe you have synesthesia!

Weird Research, Anomalous Physics with lots of links to a world of weird science

Read about the colossal squid (larger than the merely giant squid) here and here.

The Annals of Improbable Research (includes the IgNobel prize winners).

Beware of the Underground Meat-Eating Plant!

I think that the world is a better place because it has Hawaiian Happyface Spiders in it.

Ride into space in the Space Elevator.

Just plain weirdness

Find out how to tell if your cow has Mad Cow Disease

How fast is Santa Claus?

Not so weird

Read about the properties of water (rather weird, actually) and see the phase diagram (solid, liquid, gas)

A brief discussion of surface to volume ratio in biology

The Evergreen State College