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
Syllabus Spring 2014

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
Syllabus Spring 2014

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
Syllabus Spring 2014

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
Syllabus Spring 2014

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

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
Syllabus Spring 2014

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
Syllabus Spring 2014

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 Vandegrift
Jennifer Burns Levin
Miriam Deutsch
Judith Eisen
Karen Guillemin
CRN 35237, TR 14:00-15:50, 45 LIB, 4 credits
Syllabus Spring 2014

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

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
Syllabus Spring 2014

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
Syllabus Spring 2014