Complete List of Winter 2009 Theme Semester Courses

The following courses will offer special implementations for the Theme Semester. These will be unique opportunities, which may never be repeated.

ARTDES 300.039
ENGLISH 125.023
ENGLISH 125.051
ENGLISH 225.014
HISTORY 396.004
LHSP 140.001,002
Looking In, Looking Out: Art and Astronomy (no LSA credit)
University Writing Universe
College Writing
Academic Argumentation
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:

ASTRO 115:

Astrobiology: The Search for Life in the Universe

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)

ASTRO 188:

The Cosmos Through the Constellations

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)


Zoom: A History of Everything

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:

"Lunch with Honors" featuring author Timothy Ferris
Thursday, January 29, 12:00 p.m.
1330 Mason Hall

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: 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:

Examining pre-Galileo Astronomy Books & Manuscripts

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.






© 2009 Regents of the University of Michigan
Winter 2009 Theme Semester is co-sponsored by the Department of Astronomy
and the Exhibit Museum of Natural History
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