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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Bruce K. Nelson
ESS 489
Seattle Campus

Honors Seminar

Covers current scientific topics in earth and space sciences; philosophy and methodology of science strategies for developing research projects; scientific education and career planning. May require colloquium or local conference attendance. Offered: A.

Class description

The course focuses on how to critique, communicate and develop new scientific understanding by using seminars by visiting scientists and discussions of students' senior research projects. We will focus on a few scientific issues as determined by the interests of the class. We will also briefly examine how people learn new scientific concepts and the implications for communicating science to non-scientists.

Student learning goals

Effectively give scientific presentations to various audiences.

How to construct and propose ideas, projects and plans when asking for supporting resources (pitching a proposal).

Learn different modes of critical reading applied to earth science literature.

How to write succinct and effective abstracts and short summaries of scientific literature.

Learn effective techniques to collaborate in groups, and how to observe group dynamics.

How to analyze the construction and critique of scientific hypotheses.

General method of instruction

The course meets twice a week. One of the meetings consists of attending the weekly ESS seminar. The other class will involve activities and discussions to achieve the goals itemized above. We will focus some of our discussion on seminar speakers, and much of our discussion on developing research ideas for student independent research.

Recommended preparation

Must be accepted to the ESS department honors program. For rare exceptions, see instructor.

Class assignments and grading

Preparation of talks, short writings, and occasional reading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Bruce K. Nelson
Date: 01/14/2013