The following courses will offer special implementations for the Theme Semester. These will be unique opportunities, which may never be repeated.
RCHUMS 481 Looking In, Looking Out: Art and Astronomy (no LSA credit)
University Writing Universe
History Colloquium: Galilean Moments in Astronomy
Art in Public Spaces: FestiFools, and Beauty and the Beast
Great Books in Physics
Play Production Seminar: Brecht’s Galileo
Of special note are three brand-new courses created expressly for the theme semester:
This course introduces the exciting new field of astrobiology, exploring the origins of life in the Universe. Scientific methods and an overview of star and planet formation are included. The course then explores the origin of life on Earth, focusing on the emergence and diversity of life on our planet. These factors will then be used to explore the question of life in the Solar System now or potentially in the past. We then delve into the exciting search for "extra-solar" planets and their biological potential. Finally, we speculate on the existence of life in the Universe, the possibility of communication with E.T. and, ultimately, travel between the stars. This course is intended for non-science concentrators with a basic high school background. (3 credits, BS, QR/2, NS)
Tour the constellations that are visible this season, and explore topics in both basic and frontier astronomy by examining notable astronomical phenomena associated with these star patterns. This course will also relate mythology linked to the origin of the constellations and discuss celestial cartography. We will typically explore one constellation per lecture, focusing on the nature of astronomical objects of which a prototypical example is found in the featured constellation. There will be two one-hour lectures per week, and one discussion section per week, held in the Angell Hall planetarium. (3 credits, BS, QR/2, NS)
This interdisciplinary course integrates the human story with its terrestrial and cosmic surroundings. The course addresses issues of scale by shifting perspectives in space and time through orders of magnitude; class sessions narrow the picture from galaxy clusters to our own planet. In addition, the course focuses on themes of complexity and connection - showing how the universe has its own history, characterized by the emergence of more complex aggregates of atoms, molecules, and elements. These units grow in complexity as they succeed in extracting ever increasing amounts of energy from their environments. The class then shows how human communities developed, through interregional connections, new ways to share and exploit natural resources. Yet just as stars and galaxies face ultimate collapse, so global human society now confronts a range of resource challenges that are difficult to overcome. (4 credits)
The following event is for Honors Program students:
Timothy Ferris is a leading science writer, filmmaker, and high performance sportscar reviewer. He is an Emeritus Professor at Berkeley, and actually produced the sound recording which was so famously sent into outer space on the Voyager satellite. You can read more about him here: http://www.timothyferris.com/. His latest book "Seeing in the Dark", is an exploration of the world of amateur astronomy, and has been selected as this year's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program book.
The following seminar is available for a UROP Peer Group:
Offered in conjunction with Watchers of the Sky: Astronomy to the Invention of the Telescope, exhibit of rare and historical documents, February 9-April 11.
Special Collections Library, 7th floor, Hatcher Graduate Library
Wednesday, February 18; 6-7:30 p.m.
Reservation required; space limited to one group. Contact: Peggy Daub, (734) 764-9377.