Great Issues in Science: Nanotechnology & Society
HSP 124 CRN 2151
Tuesdays & Thursdays
9:10 – 11:00am
Dr. Kevin Metz
Nano is a prefix indicating one-billionth. Nanotechnology is the application of science based on the nanometer scale, or the one-billionth of a meter scale, which is the size of individual atoms. Nanometer scale (nanoscale) science is one of the fastest growing research areas in science at the moment. Scientists from all disciplines, including biological, physical, and chemical sciences, engineering, and medical science, are taking part in nanoscale research. In the nanoscale new properties emerge in substances that differ greatly from their large scale counterparts. For example, nanoscale gold is bright red, nanoscale silver has antibacterial properties, and nanoscale carbons are stronger than steel. Many companies are interested in taking advantage of these properties to improve their consumer products. Currently there are over 1,000 products on the market that contain nanomaterials. This nanomaterial market is expected to break the trillion dollar a year point in the very near future. At the current, however, nanoscale materials are not regulated in any fashion. Thus, the consumer and the environment upon disposal of the products are not protected in any secure fashion from toxicity, or other negative impacts. It is easy to imagine that the same unique properties that make nanoscale materials attractive for use in consumer goods could make them a nightmare for the environment. This course will briefly examine the basic science of nanomaterials. Then we will study, and model, the social, legal, economic, and environmental impacts of nanomaterials. Comparisons will be drawn from other "revolutionizing" technologies such as asbestos insulation, PVC piping, CFC coolants, and genetically modified foods. The role of public perception in public acceptance and policy formation will also be examined.
Great Issues in Science: Geology, Environment & Society
HSP 124 w/ Lab
CRN 2639 & Lab CRN 2640
Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 10:10 -11:00am
Tuesdays – Lab 2:10 – 5:00am
"Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice." – Will Durant
In this course, we will examine the implications of this quote for society and for the environment, by investigating the role of geology in our lives. Topics considered include the origin of the mineral resources upon which civilization depends as well as the constraints placed by geologic hazards. Woven through the entire course will be discussion of the nature of science.
This is a laboratory course designed for liberal arts students. The specific course objectives for each student are as follows:
- to be able to describe the major geological processes that have shaped the earth
- to learn how geologists investigate the earth – what types of geological evidence
are commonly collected and studied, and how this evidence is interpreted
- to be able to frame and test hypotheses
- to understand how geology affects our lives.
Great Issues in Humanities: Early Travelers to the Mediterranean and Near East
Early Travel and Exploration of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds
Tuesdays & Thursday
3:10 – 4:30pm
Dr. Veronica Kalas
This course will explore the practice of traveling for the purpose of gaining knowledge of foreign lands, peoples, and cultures of the ancient and medieval worlds. We will begin by learning about the tradition of traveling from ancient and medieval authors themselves— including Pausanias of Greco-Roman antiquity and medieval Christian pilgrims like Egeria. Our focus however will be with the tradition developed by early modern Europeans in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. The Grand Tour and related forms of investigation through travel to the sites and monuments of the Mediterranean and Near East will be studied. Early exploration of the ancient Americas may also be considered. Students will focus on either a particular theme or traveler, a group of travelers, or a region or site about which our knowledge still very much depends on the first narratives that were developed and created by these explorers. Themes include travel and the development of the disciplines of archaeology, art history, and photography, women travelers, and travel writing.
Great Issues in Social Science: Social Science Theory: A Critical Look
HSP 154 CRN 2368
Tuesday & Thursday
1:10 – 2:30
Dr. Paul Hagner
This course introduces students to the ways in which social science theory explains, predicts, and, in some instances, progresses. The process starts with an overview of social science theory building moving from conceptual understandings to theories and. perhaps, paradigms. The majority of the course will then be devoted to the critical analysis of social scientific theories moving from macro-theories (such as systems theory) to micro-theories such as socio-genetics. Along the way the student will, hopefully, be surprised, and a bit frightened, by the explanatory and predictive power of modern social science theories.
The proposed course offers students critical insights into meta-theory: theorizing about theory. The goal is to improve the students' abilities to describe, evaluate, and predict using established social science paradigms. The ability of students to make comparisons between explanatory and predictive models when applied to commonly identified social problems will be a highlight of this course's goals.