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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Paul Boynton
H A&S 220
Seattle Campus

Science for Honors Students I

Evolution of an idea or concept central to the natural sciences. Intended for non-science majors. Content varies from year to year. For university honors students only. Offered: A.

Class description

H A&S 220 A: "A Way of Knowing" (5 credits) SLN 4881

Freshmen by permission only. Students will choose between the T and TH sections, not attend both. Cross Listed with CHID 270A.

The reading material for this course is a combination of OUGL Copy Center Course Paks, and online materials.

Instructor: Paul Boynton, Physics Box 351560 boynton@u.washington.edu

Course Description: Physical science may be viewed as a modern Pandora's Box. It seems inevitable that science will continue to transform our lives because of that irrepressible human desire to continually extend our comprehension of the natural world. In responding to this urge, we open the box over and over again, releasing new technologies that are received eagerly by some and warily by others. In either case, for better or worse, our Western worldview is in no small way driven by science and technology.

In A Way of Knowing, we attempt to speak to the modern condition by revealing the character and culture of scientific inquiry through an examination of its historical/philosophical roots; that is, how we have interpreted our experience of the physical world in four eras: Classical Antiquity, Hellenism, the late Renaissance, and the Twentieth Century. In doing so, we discover not only the success and power of our modern way of knowing the natural world modern science), but also its inherent limitations and self-imposed boundaries that become apparent when attempting to confront the full range of human experience.

The central theme we pursue through these four historical periods is the phenomenon of gravitation. Studying the history of our approach to interpreting this single, fundamental experience of nature provides insight to how we have come to think about the natural world today, and how that may change in the future.

This is at its core a physical science course. Learning about science requires doing some science, which in turn requires some basic skills in quantitative reasoning. Even so, the only prerequisite is familiarity with high school algebra and geometry. In modern times there is no other way to grasp the underlying connection between a falling apple and a Black Hole. This is our way of knowing.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

See course web page

http://faculty.washington.edu/boynton/HAS220-CHID270/

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Paul Boynton
Date: 09/17/2008