Science Seminar, Spring 2015


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Welcome to the Science Seminar 2015 homepage. How have humans understood the universe and our place in it, from ancient to modern times? How have we gone from curiosity to knowledge about our planet, solar system, galaxy, and beyond? What are we still wondering about? Our readings will explore questions like this, from perspectives such as science, literature, mythology, philosophy, and history.We will study roles of science and of storytelling in human searches for understanding and meaning.

Students will work individually and in teams to prepare for each seminar. Teams will post pre-seminar assignments online, and individuals will post essays (and responses to peers' essays) online. We will have two seminars per week, sometimes in person, and sometimes asynchronously. Required online work will contribute importantly to our community-based learning. Individuals will research and report on additional readings to share with the group.

Catalog Program Description . For daily details, see our Moodle site (available to registered students who attend week 1).

Come to the Academic Fair to get a faculty signature. Email your evals from recent faculty ahead of time.

Class Standing: FR-SR.
Prerequisites: Good reading and writing. Willingness to work in teams and to use computers for web-based assignments and information.

The first day of class is Monday 30 March 2015. We meet at 6:00 pm in Sem2 A2109 every Monday. Read Finkel's "Learning Through Writing Together" and bring it to class with Singh's Big Bang. Waitlisted students must attend the first class if you want to get in. Registered students who miss the first class may be dropped from the program, to make room for students who show up.

While much of our work will be online, we will also have occasional meetings on Tuesday or Thursday evenings throughout the quarter.

Our second seminar meeting is Thursday 2 April from 6-8 pm in the CAL (click for directions). Students must fully participate in both of these week 1 meetings to continue in Science Seminar.

ACTIVITIES (check Moodle for details)
do / DUE
Weekend R&R ... Read & write, think & take notes. Pre-seminar with teammates post PIQs
6:00-9:00 pm in Sem2 A2109 - week 1
Bring your readings
Tuesday   Thinking and writing
start Online seminar
Post a short inquiry-based Essay on readings.
Thursday 6:00 -8 pm in the CAL: SciSem week 1 - Moodle & teams workshop Respond to peers' inquiries
Friday   Replies and reflections
Saturday finish Online seminar Post your polished Essay

TEXTBOOKS: You need your own copy of each text in class each day that it is on the syllabus. Evergreen's College Bookstore should have all of the texts you need.  Get your texts before class starts!

Staal, Julius, The New Patterns in the Sky: Myths and Legends of the Stars, Blacksburg, VA: McDonald Woodward, 1988. ISBN: 9780871088581  

Big Bang:  The Origin of the Universe, by Simon Singh (Harper Perennial 2005) 978-0007162215

Bookmark Sky & Telescope and/or access it electronically through the Evergreen Library. (You may wish to subscribe to a hardcopy, but delivery is often delayed for new subscribers.) s&t

Additional seminar readings will be made available free online to students in class.

Science Seminar students will research, share, and report on additional readings as part of your credit-generating work in this program.

Faculty Contact:
Dr. E.J. Zita Zita(at)
Likely credit equivalencies: 4 Cr: Conceptual Astronomy
4 Cr: Multicultural Cosmologies
8 Cr. workload:
* participation in classes and online seminars- 3 cr
* team meetings, PIQs, and facilitation - 3 cr
* research and reports on new readings - 2 cr
updated: 23 Mar.2015 Office hours: by appointment