2013-2014 Courses


Summer 2014 Courses

HPHY 111    The Science of Sex
We will explore topics that are often ignored due to culture stigma, but have a great impact on human health and wellness. In addition to daily assignments, each student will design and conduct their own mini-research project, on a topic of choice, and report the findings to the class. As a beginning point for further exploration, we will use science journalist Mary Roach’s book “Bonk: the curious coupling of science and sex”.  Students should come prepared for lively, light-hearted, brazen, direct, and scientifically accurate assignments and discussions on the anatomy and physiology of human sexual function.
Sierra Dawson sdawson@uoregon.edu
CRN 48106, MTWR 11:00-13:20, 7/21-8/13, 41 LIB, 4  credits


Spring 2014 Courses

ASTR 122    Birth & Death of Stars
Our star, the Sun, is the source of all the energy necessary to sustain life on our world. Students will study the birth, evolution and death of stars in the Milky Way galaxy, with a particular emphasis on the underlying science behind stellar and galactic evolution, the observational aspect to astronomy and our knowledge of how the Universe operates. The interplay between technology (telescopes, space observatories) and knowledge gained about the stars is a key theme to the course.
Scott Fisher
CRN 33467, MWF 9:00-9:50, 115 LA, 4 credits

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BI 132    Introduction to Animal Behavior
We will explore behaviors found in a variety of animals and mechanisms behind them, how they develop, their evolutionary history, and what functions they might serve. Hands-on activities allow us to ask questions about animal behavior and design experiments to search for answers. Examples will be used to illustrate concepts in animal behavior and serve to develop an appreciation for the many interesting things that animals do to survive and reproduce. We will also examine the methods with which scientists study these behaviors. Students will better understand how science works and become comfortable evaluating scientific information, a skill required by all people whether or not they pursue a career in the sciences.
Debbie Schlenoff
CRN 33549, MW 16:00-17:20, 282 LIL, 4 credits

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BI 150    The Ocean Planet
Much marine life is easily observed from shore – if one pays attention. Using field trips to the Oregon coast early in the course, and then facilitated use of field guides and discussion, the course will introduce the general foundations of marine biology, and help students discover the natural world, and their own ability to absorb it and learn about it, even if they are not scientists. Students will work in groups to develop case studies on topics such as oil spills and oil spill response, marine reserves, management of fisheries, and oceans and human health. Students will learn foundations of marine biology and scientific reasoning and methodology and information that may also be relevant to solving environmental problems.
Michelle Wood
CRN 39432, MWF 15:00-15:50, 106 DEA, 4 credits

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BI/CH/GEOL/PHYS 407/507    Seminar: Teaching Science
We will read, discuss, and apply a variety of techniques from science education literature to improve science education. Students will be active participants in the exploration of scientific teaching. Using concepts and information introduced in class, students will develop and teach an activity to be used in an undergraduate science course.
Elly Vandegrift and Mark Carrier
R 10:00-11:50, 202 CAS, 2 credits

CRNs Biology Chemistry Geological Sciences Physics
Undergraduate 38657 BI 407 38882 CH 407 38704 GEOL 407 38721 PHYS 407
Graduate 38655 BI 507 38883 CH 507 38705 GEOL 507 38722 PHYS 507

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GEOL 103   Evolving Earth
We will explore the geological history of the Earth with an emphasis on biological evolution, the fossil record, and factors involved in maintaining habitable surface environments. We will also discuss the geologial time scale, geological maps and sections, and fossil recognition in the field and hands-on laboratories. We start with theories of the origin of the universe and solar system and proceeds through major events in the evolution of surface environments such as the oxygenation of the atmosphere, the evolutionary radiation of marine invertebrates, the rise of plants on land, major extinctions of trilobites and dinosaurs, and the evolution of humans and other mammals. Students will learn about carbon and sulfur cycles,icehouse, and greenhouse global paleoclimatic regimes and how they regulate the Earth’s air and water.
Edward Davis
CRN 35060, MW 10:00-11:20, 123 GSH, 4 credits
CRN 35061, MW 14:00-15:20, 282 LIL, 4 credits

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GEOL 110   People, Rocks, & Fire
We will build understanding of how past societies adapted to widespread and often dramatic changes in their foods and fuels, and more importantly, how our current society can learn from their successes and failures in addressing contemporary global energy questions. Principles of thermodynamics, geology, and ecology establish a scientific context for consideration of coal and petroleum formation, the dilemmas faced by ancient agricultural societies, the usefulness of fossil fuels in creating mechanical energy and the resulting explosion of growth in the Industrial Revolution, and the transformation of industrialized societies into city-dwelling populations. These considerations lead us to the present day, in which developed societies utterly depend on fossil energy, limits to petroleum and impending climate change are widely acknowledged, and volatile debates pit environmental preservation against natural gas, oil, and coal extraction.
Alan Rempel and Andie Rempel
CRN 35080, TR 12:00-13:20, 221 MCK, 4 credits

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HC 441H   Bread 101
Bread is a very complex medium, looking nothing like the original seed of grain from which it originates. Yet when we mix a few simple ingredients we are able to induce a transformation that results in an edible, highly nourishing, staple food product crucial for sustenance in many cultures. In “Bread 101,” students will explore with a team of faculty from the sciences and humanities the energy requirements, biomedical and biochemical aspects, and local and sociopolitical context of bread production. Students will read and discuss a variety of primary and secondary literature related to wheat production, the microbiological, chemical, and physical processes that transform wheat into bread, the energy cost of this transformation, and cultural implications of bread production. There will likely be a field trip and guest speakers. Course work will include active discussions, short essays, problem sets, and larger projects.
Elly VandegriftJennifer Burns LevinMiriam DeutschJudith EisenKaren Guillemin
CRN 35237, TR 14:00-15:50, 45 LIB, 4 credits

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HC 441H   Quantum Mechanics for Everyone
Quantum mechanics (QM) is the theory of nature at its most fundamental level. Although the fruits of our understanding of QM, such as lasers and computers, are familiar technologies, the inner working of atoms and the behavior of electrons and photons are anything but familiar. This course treats the most important ideas of QM, using only basic algebra and geometry. Students will learn about the experiments that led to the creation of QM, explore the theoretical ideas of QM, and learn about modern applications such as quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation. The course employs active, inquiry-based teaching methods to improve creative and critical reasoning. Students will learn through hands-on in-class activities, including experimenting with lasers.
Michael Raymer
CRN 35236, TR 09:00-10:50, 107 KLA, 4 credits

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PHYS 155   Physics Behind Internet
We will explore the Internet as a network of millions of computers capable of exchanging data files containing information. The technology that makes this possible is the result of the efforts of tens of thousands of physicists, engineers, and computer scientists over more than a hundred years. The development of the Internet is an amazing story of the transformation of fundamental physics discoveries into practical systems. We will introduce the physical concepts that explain how information is stored, transmitted, processed, and retrieved.
Eric Corwin
CRN 38638, MWF 12:00-12:50, 110 WIL, 4 credits

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PHYS 171   The Physics of Life
What are you made of? This simple question both puzzles and fascinates scientists. It is easy to list you “components” – cells, bones, muscles, etc. – but this is neither interesting nor illuminating. What is it about your flesh that makes you “squishy?” Would you be better off with a skeleton of wood rather than bone? If you shrank a whale to the size of a bacterium, could it swim the same way? These questions bring together concepts from a variety of disciplines, mixing together biology, chemistry, and physics. Students will explore topics in biophysics and biomaterials using readings, discussions, and hands-on activities to study the physical properties of biological materials, as well as the constraints these properties place on living organisms.
Raghu Parthasarathy
CRN 37422, TR 14:00-15:20, 101 LIB, 4 credits

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Winter 2014 Courses

ASTR 122 Birth & Death of Stars
Our star, the Sun, is the source of all the energy necessary to sustain life on our world. Students will study the birth, evolution and death of stars in the Milky Way galaxy, with a particular emphasis on the underlying science behind stellar and galactic evolution, the observational aspect to astronomy and our knowledge of how the Universe operates. The interplay between technology (telescopes, space observatories) and knowledge gained about the stars is a key theme to the course.
Scott Fisher
CRN 22171, MWF 15:00-15:50, 100 WILL, 4 credits

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BI 123   Biology of Cancer
We tend to think of cancer as a single disease that affects many different tissues or organs. However, cancer is really a collection of over one hundred diseases that show various clinical manifestations, but have similar underlying causes and effects: the normal genetic controls of cell division malfunction, allowing a cell to undergo unbridled proliferation. Students will explore the underlying genetic causes of cancer; factors, including lifestyle choices that increase cancer risk; the detection and diagnosis of cancers; and contemporary therapies to mitigate or cure cancers. Finally, the detection and diagnosis of various cancers, how our natural immune defenses respond to cancerous cells, and the therapies to cure or mitigate cancer, both traditional and experimental will be explored.
Alan Kelly
CRN 22239, MWF 15:00-15:50, 123 PAC, 4 credits

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BI/CH 140M   Science, Policy, and Biology
Students will assess how policy decisions affect the types of research that can be conducted, and the potential ramifications for human health and the environment. The course will be topical, based around items of particular interest in the news. Topics may include stem cells, genetically modified foods, human genetic testing, trans-fats, spread of E. coli in the food supply, the basis of scientific controversies, or other current biological issues.  Because the underlying biology of topics covered by this course are derived from biological and biochemical research, students may register for either Biology or Chemistry credit.
Judith Eisen and Leslie Coonrod
CRN 22257/27462, TR 10:00-11:20, 220 HED, 4 credits

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CH/PHYS 157M   Information, Quantum Mechanics, and DNA
What is information, and how is it measured? How is information stored in and transferred between biological molecules? How does this relate to compressing music files onto a compact disk or into an mp3 format? Students will explore how the concept of information in physics describes complex systems such as gases and liquids, how a theory of information improved communications technology (including computer and Internet technology), and how DNA encodes complex molecular processes leading to life and heredity. This is an interdisciplinary course focusing on the atomic and molecular basis of the DNA molecule and how this molecule stores and transfers information. Students may register for either a Chemistry or Physics credit.
Michael Raymer and Marina Guenza
CRN 22519, TR 15:30-17:20, 41 LIB, 4 c10140redits

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PHYS 161   Physics of Energy and Environment
Students will learn what energy is, how it is transformed from one form to another (for example, from fossil fuels to electrical energy), and how it is used.  We will focus especially on the role of energy in our everyday lives and the environmental consequences of global energy consumption, most notably climate change and its impact on our future. Using principles of physics we will explore why major changes in our energy consumption habits will be required during our lifetimes and what some of the alternatives might be.
Raghu Parthasarathy
CRN 28033, TR 10:00-11:50, 110 WIL, 4 credits

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PHYS 163   Nanoscience and Society
We see the promise of Nanotechnology everywhere—from cosmetics for human wrinkles, to real-life DNA robots engineered to target and kill cancer cells. Students will understand how physical properties of matter change with scale by exploring applications of core scientific theories in Nanotechnology with examples from biomedical applications, advanced soldier technologies, and materials engineering. In addition to its great promise, Nanotechnology may also harbor hazards. While learning to distinguish between scientific fact and futuristic fiction, we will examine issues such as the ethics of creating new materials, environmental hazards and required containment of nanoparticles, and regulations that must exist for Nanotech to live up to its promise.
Miriam Deutsch
CRN 27562, TR 14:00-15:00, 110 WIL, 4 credits

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Fall 2013 Courses

ASTR 121 The Solar System
Over the past 20 years there has been an explosion in our understanding of the contents, formation and evolution of the Solar System, mainly due to numerous NASA missions and probes. The study of the characteristics of the other planets has provided tremendous insight and understanding of Earth and the changes under our influence. This course, specifically designed for non-science students, will explore the science behind our exploration of the Solar System providing students with a background to be able to make informed choices as citizens and voters on issues related to our environment and the future of science research.
Scott Fisher
CRN 11757, MW 16:00-17:20, 100 WILL, 4 credits

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CH 111 Intro Chemical Principles
Take a moment and look around you. Chemistry is everywhere in our modern society—providing adequate food, clothing and shelter to designing cleaner and more efficient sources of energy, developing new materials for modern medical diagnostics and pharmaceuticals, and creating new modes of communication and data storage. It’s truly amazing how the behavior of atoms, molecules, and ions determines the world we have to live in, our shapes and sizes, and even how we feel on a given day. CH 111 is an introductory chemistry course designed for students with a limited background in chemistry. In addition to lectures, there will be classroom activities, demonstrations and study assignments designed to help you develop the critical thinking skills necessary for a successful chemical adventure.
Mark Lonergan
CRN 12139, MW 12:00-1320 & F 12:00-12:50, 123 PAC, 4 credits, Prereq: MATH 95

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J 463/563 Special Topics: Reporting Science
The course, open to journalism majors and undergrad and graduate students in the natural sciences, will be taught by Jon Palfreman, KEZI Distinguished Professor of Broadcast Journalism. Admission to the course is by instructor consent. There are 16 slots. This course is about reporting and communicating science. Working in teams and individually, students will report on scientific research going on at the U of O and OSU. During class time, we will host sessions with visiting scientists and celebrated science journalists, and share exemplary examples of science journalism. Interested students should send a one paragraph statement to Jon Palfreman (please include ID number), detailing their academic history and reasons for taking this course.
Jon Palfreman
CRN 14159, MW 10:00-11:50, 306 ALL, 4 credits

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PHYS 152 Physics of Sound and Music
This course explores the science of sounds and music all around us. Through demonstrations and class activities students will explore the science behind waves, resonance, overtones, enclosures (e.g. instruments) to amplify and focus waves, human hearing, pitch, musical temperament, and simple electronics. The material is especially useful to students interested in music creation and performance, recording, sound synthesis, and optimization of room and auditorium acoustics. We will also apply these concepts to specific families of instruments. Descriptions involve elementary math and simple algebra. Students will leave the course able to apply these concepts to their everyday experiences with sound and music.
Dan Steck
CRN 15816, TR 14:00-15:50, 100 WILL, 4 credits

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PHYS 156M Scientific Revolutions
This course, designed for non-science students, will examine scientific revolutions that have dramatically altered the ways in which we view the world. Our discussions will provide non-technical explorations of major concepts (including quantum mechanics, evolution, plate tectonics, and chaos theory) central to a diverse group of scientific disciplines. Topics will be explored through discussions and group activities focusing on understanding what these revolutions were, and what views they superseded. Students will gain an understanding of how science generates questions and defines the questions it investigates, while considering scientific revolutions in their respective historical contexts. We will also explore the technological and societal consequences of these revolutions to understand the role of scientific discoveries in shaping our lives.
Raghu Parthasarathy
CRN 16822, 1400-1550 TR, 191 Anstett, 4 credits

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