HONORS 232 - Honors Core in Natural Science
Section: 001 Are We Alone?
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Honors Program (HONORS)
Department: LSA Honors
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
BS, NS, QR/2
Other:
Honors
BS:
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
Repeatability:
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” - Arthur C. Clarke

As part of the Honors Core Curriculum, this course introduces Honors students to a range of questions, ideas, and techniques to ask, ‘Are we alone?’ Do intelligent extraterrestrials (ETs) exist? If they exist, have they been here before? Can we – should we – try to communicate? Would we even recognize ETs if we met them?

The framework for the course is the ‘Fermi Paradox’, first posed by Enrico Fermi in 1950 – ‘Where are they?’ We will explore the argument that, given the age of the Galaxy, if intelligent and technologically advanced civilizations exist elsewhere it appears inevitable that extraterrestrials should already have visited, colonized or communicated with the Earth. Is it possible that the conditions for the origins of life are rare? We will explore the origin of the elements, stars and planets thought to be important for the development of life. Is it possible that the emergence of life and evolution of intelligence is well-nigh impossible? We will ponder what life is, and explore the story of the emergence and development of life on the Earth, along with how we know that story. Is it possible that interstellar travel is impossible, or that civilizations are doomed to annihilation? We will investigate the dangers to civilization posed by nature and ourselves, the challenges of communication and interstellar travel, and the possible benefits and dangers of contacting ET.

Course Requirements:

This course serves first and second year Honors students, with diverse interests and goals. Accordingly, our assessments combine flexibility with a core set of assessments that all students need to master. Students will all complete regular readings with weekly written and quantitative responses. In lecture, students explore the central themes using a variety of formats and techniques (including in-class assessment techniques). Outside of class, students will be given substantial flexibility in creating their own course of study, drawing from a range of small, medium and large assignments. Small assignments are similar in scope to biweekly homework sets; large assignments are of the scale of an ambitious term paper. At least one assignment will involve a presentation during discussion section. One or more of the assignments need to be quantitative in character. This allows students to deeply pursue the topics in which they’re the most interested, in ways they find engaging.

HONORS 232 - Honors Core in Natural Science
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
31118
Open
144
 
-
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: STUDENTS ARE AUTO-ENROLLED IN LECTURE WHEN THEY ELECT A DISCUSSION.
002 (DIS)
P
31119
Open
18
18LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
Tu 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: STUDENTS ARE AUTO-ENROLLED IN LECTURE WHEN THEY ELECT A DISCUSSION.
003 (DIS)
P
31120
Open
18
18LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
W 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Note: STUDENTS ARE AUTO-ENROLLED IN LECTURE WHEN THEY ELECT A DISCUSSION.
004 (DIS)
P
31121
Open
18
18LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
F 9:00AM - 10:00AM
Note: STUDENTS ARE AUTO-ENROLLED IN LECTURE WHEN THEY ELECT A DISCUSSION.
005 (DIS)
P
31122
Open
18
18LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
F 10:00AM - 11:00AM
Note: STUDENTS ARE AUTO-ENROLLED IN LECTURE WHEN THEY ELECT A DISCUSSION.
006 (DIS)
P
31123
Open
18
18LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
F 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Note: STUDENTS ARE AUTO-ENROLLED IN LECTURE WHEN THEY ELECT A DISCUSSION.
007 (DIS)
P
31124
Open
18
18LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
F 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Note: STUDENTS ARE AUTO-ENROLLED IN LECTURE WHEN THEY ELECT A DISCUSSION.
008 (DIS)
P
33346
Open
18
18LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
Tu 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: STUDENTS ARE AUTO-ENROLLED IN LECTURE WHEN THEY ELECT A DISCUSSION.
009 (DIS)
P
33351
Open
18
18LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
W 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Note: STUDENTS ARE AUTO-ENROLLED IN LECTURE WHEN THEY ELECT A DISCUSSION.
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