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Natural Sciences

The Dynamic Earth
Natural Science 112 Bergman
3 credits
This course explores how the paradigm of plate tectonics organizes a study of the Earth. Earth scientists see the world as ever-changing, and we will adopt that outlook. Thus, we will put classical geology into the context of plate tectonics, and seek relationships between processes deep in the Earth, such as magnetic field generation and mantle convection, with surface manifestations such as earthquakes and volcanoes. The course is lab-based to give a feel for Earth processes and for how one makes inferences about the deep Earth. Topics include the age and composition of the Earth and solar system, minerals and rocks, plate tectonics, conduction and convection, seismology and the structure of the Earth, and magnetic field generation. No prerequisites.
Last taught S10.
Science Seminar: Global Climate Change
Natural Science 150 Staff
4 credits
This course examines the science of the Earth’s climate, with a focus on understanding the recent scientific realization that human activity could be changing it in profound ways. Topics include solar radiation, the carbon cycle, greenhouse gases, measuring the climate of the past, and predicting the climate of the future. We will also discuss ways that humans might lessen or correct their impact on the climate. The course is designed to be suitable for all students, regardless of previous science background. Lab required. Corequisite: Mathematics 109 or a higher level math course.
This course is generally offered once a year.
Introduction to Paleontology
Natural Science 215 Schmidt
3 credits
This course investigates the nature of fossil organisms and the information we can gain from them. Discussions center on interpretations of the fossil record and hypotheses about the history of life. Field trips are required and some will be relatively long. No prerequisites. Lab fee required.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught S10.
Research Methods
Natural Science 410 Schmidt
4 credits
Topics covered include the nature of scientific methods and the philosophy of science, parametric and non-parametric statistics, and the review and critique of current scientific literature. The course is required for natural science majors and is strongly recommended for environmental studies majors. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught S12.
Natural Science Tutorial
Natural Science 300/400 Staff
4 credits
Under these course numbers, juniors and seniors design tutorials to meet their particular interests and programmatic needs. A student should see the prospective tutor to define an area of mutual interest to pursue either individually or in a small group. A student may register for no more than one tutorial in any semester.