2015–16 Undergraduate Index A–Z
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|Title||Offering||Standing||Credits||Credits||When||F||W||S||Su||Description||Preparatory||Faculty||Days||Multiple Standings||Start Quarters||Open Quarters|
Signature Required: Winter
|Program||FR–SRFreshmen–Senior||16||16||Day||W 16Winter||Why do humans keep pets and at the same time raise animals for food? What are the psychological and moral complexities that characterize our relationships with animals? What is the impact of human-animal interactions on the health and well-being of people and animals? How do we assess the relative welfare of animals under a variety of circumstances? This program is an interdisciplinary study of human (anthro) and animal (zoo) interaction. This topic of inquiry will be used to study general biology, evolutionary biology, zoology, anthropology, and philosophy. Through field trips, guest speakers, reading, writing, and discussion, students will become familiar with the multiple and often paradoxical ways we relate to companion animals, animals for sport, zoo animals, wildlife, research animals, and food animals. We will use our collective experiences, along with science-based and value-based approaches, to critically examine the ever-changing role of animals in society.We will begin the quarter by focusing on the process of animal domestication in different cultures from an evolutionary and historical perspective. Through the formal study of animal ethics, students will also become familiar with different philosophical positions on the use of animals. Physiology and neuroscience will be used to investigate the physical and mental lives of animals, while simultaneously exploring domestic animal behavior. Students will explore the biological basis and psychological aspects of the human-animal bond. They will then study the science of animal welfare and complete a final project in which they will apply their scientific and ethical knowledge to a controversial and contemporary animal welfare question. Students will finish the quarter with a multiple-day trip to University of British Columbia, where they will visit with faculty and students doing active research in animal welfare science.Students will be expected to read primary literature in such diverse fields as animal science, ethology, neurobiology, sociobiology, anthropology, and philosophy. Student success in this program will depend on commitment to in-depth understanding of complex topics and an ability to combine empirical knowledge and philosophical reflection.||Michael Paros||Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR||Winter||Winter|
Heather Heying, David Phillips and Bret Weinstein
Signature Required: Fall
|Program||SO–SRSophomore–Senior||16||16||Day||F 15 Fall||W 16Winter||S 16Spring||Why are there so many species on the planet? Why are there more species nearer the equator than at the poles? This program seeks robust, meaningful explanations for these complex phenomena. In parallel, it approaches human cultural variation in a biotic context, addressing the questions: Where have humans traditionally fit in relation to biological nature, and how has our unparalleled within-species diversity been shaped by nonhuman forces? This program will introduce students to a unique and broadly applicable set of analytical tools, and apply them across a range of settings and scales that would be impossible in a traditional academic context.We will study patterns across space and time, revealing the selective forces that shaped the distribution, form, behavior, and interaction of organisms from all extant branches of the tree of life. From mycorrhizal fungi that live in the roots of trees to bats collecting fruit high in the moonlit canopy, organisms are best understood embedded in the context of the forces that gave rise to them.Though all sciences share a method of inquiry, the theoretical toolkit necessary to understand complex biological systems is different from the more familiar tools of the fundamental sciences, such as chemistry and physics. When an insect extracts nutrients from a leaf by detoxifying compounds built to deter herbivory, both the insect, and the plant whose leaf is consumed, have invested resources in an objective, and their gains and losses can be evaluated in terms similar to those in economics and engineering. We will apply concepts such as sunk costs, zero-sum game, and adaptive landscapes across systems and taxa.We will compare Pacific Northwest rainforest to the Ecuadorian Amazon, witnessing ecology’s most extreme, ubiquitous, and mysterious species-diversity pattern: the latitudinal diversity gradient. We will compare the Amazon at Earth’s most species-rich location—Yasuní—with equatorial montane, cloud forest, and altiplano habitats, revealing dramatic predictable reductions in species diversity that occur at a given latitude, with increases in elevation. And we will compare the high-diversity Amazonian habitat in the humid lowland east to the comparatively low-diversity habitats of the arid Andean rainshadow to the west.In tandem with our study of habitats, we will seek to understand indigenous cultures that have historically inhabited these biomes. We will consider the impact of glaciation and the role it played in initiating the diaspora of New World populations which diversified across the entirety of the Americas before Europeans arrived in the 15th century. Where there is archaeological evidence, we will interpret it in the context of the precolonial world.In fall, we will focus on logical tools, concepts, and language needed to understand evolutionary patterns. We will investigate levels of selection, and grapple with the relationship between genes, cultural memes, and epigenetic markers. We will take several field trips within Washington to experience relevant phenomena (e.g., Hoh rainforest, indigenous fishing on the Klickitat River, the channeled scablands). In winter and spring, we will travel to Ecuador, visit several sites, and spend extended field time investigating patterns across a tropical landscape of unparalleled diversity.||Heather Heying David Phillips Bret Weinstein||Mon Wed Thu||Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR||Fall||Fall|
Joseph Tougas, Pauline Yu and Sean Williams
|Program||FR ONLYFreshmen Only||16||16||Day||F 15 Fall||W 16Winter||This first-year program focuses attention on the idea that each of us has a unique way of understanding the world because of the contexts to which we have been exposed. What is your context? How has it shaped the ways you interact with humans, institutions, and the natural world? Considering these questions opens the idea of having not just one, but several lenses through which we have built our understanding: we use all of our senses in addition to larger societal, linguistic, and biological structures to inform and guide us. The languages we use and the social structures in which we live can be thought of as systems of representation—tools that living organisms can use to get a grip on reality. In the case of language, we might say that is the material we have to work with, ( ) is the order in which we can combine those materials, and is the place where language becomes meaningful or useful. Other systems of representation—in music, visual art, and science, for example—have similar structures. How do you make sense of the world when your “lived vocabulary” includes rhythms and notes, shapes and lines, molecules and ecosystems, or color and light? How does your picture of the world change when your epistemology—your way of knowing—includes multiple systems of representation and is not limited to just words and syntax? In learning by doing, we will explore how artists use geometry and math, how musicians use physics, and how scientists engage the mystery of their environment. We will examine these systems of representation and develop new ones through creative play to explore the range of human experiences.Weekly activities will include lectures, films, and seminars. There will also be field trips in each quarter, workshops, collaborative presentations, and guest lectures. Students are expected to focus on enhancing their college-level writing skills throughout the program; each quarter's major writing assignments will require students to master the process of revision. In fall quarter, students will be introduced to important skills in approaching this material through multiple modes; issues of perspective, critical analysis, and context are important factors in deepening our understanding. As we move into winter quarter, students will have more chances to develop individual and collaborative projects focusing on particular areas of interest.||Joseph Tougas Pauline Yu Sean Williams||Mon Mon Tue Tue Wed Wed Thu Thu||Freshmen FR||Fall||Fall Winter|
Signature Required: Winter Spring
|Program||SO–SRSophomore–Senior||16||16||Day||F 15 Fall||W 16Winter||S 16Spring||This program is built around intensive study of several fundamental areas of pure mathematics. Topics are likely to include abstract algebra, real analysis, geometry, and topology.The work in this advanced-level mathematics program is likely to differ from students' previous work in mathematics, including calculus, in a number of ways. We will emphasize the careful understanding of the definitions of mathematical terms and the statements and proofs of the theorems that capture the main conceptual landmarks in the areas we study. Hence, the largest portion of our work will involve the reading and writing of rigorous proofs in axiomatic systems. These skills are valuable not only for continued study of mathematics but also in many areas of thought in which arguments are set forth according to strict criteria of logical deduction. Students will gain experience in articulating their evidence for claims and in expressing their ideas with precise and transparent reasoning.In addition to work in core areas of advanced mathematics, we will devote seminar time to looking at our studies in a broader historical and philosophical context, working toward answers to critical questions such as: Are mathematical systems discovered or created? Do mathematical objects actually exist? How did the current mode of mathematical thinking come to be developed? What is current mathematical practice? What are the connections between mathematics and culture?This program is designed for students who intend to pursue graduate studies or teach in mathematics and the sciences, as well as for those who want to know more about mathematical thinking.||Rachel Hastings||Mon Wed Thu||Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR||Fall||Fall Winter Spring|
Krishna Chowdary, Neil Switz and TBD (chemistry)
Signature Required: Winter Spring
|Program||FR–SRFreshmen–Senior||16||16||Day||F 15 Fall||W 16Winter||S 16Spring||This introductory program integrates first-year university calculus and physics with topics from chemistry and relevant areas of history and scientific literature to explore how scientists make sense of, and intervene in, the natural and human-created worlds. Careful observation of the natural world reveals an underlying order, which scientists try to understand and explain through model building and experimentation. Physical scientists seek to reveal the fundamental nature of matter, its composition, and its interactions; such understanding forms the essential background for our modern technological society. This program lays the foundation for developing this understanding. Students will be supported in developing a firm background in college-level science, becoming prepared for further work in the mathematical and physical sciences.The program will have a significant laboratory component. Workshops and seminar discussions will also allow for collaborative work on math, chemistry, and physics problems as well as an opportunity to explore connections between history, theory, and practice. The program is intended for students with solid high-school level backgrounds in science and mathematics; in particular, a good grasp of precalculus (including algebra and trigonometry) will be assumed. Equally important for success, however, will be a commitment to working hard and effectively in groups.The work will be intensive and challenging but also exciting; students should expect to spend at least 50 hours per week engaged with material during and outside of class. The program will include readings, lectures, labs, workshops, seminars, projects, frequent homework sets, quizzes, and exams; students will have the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge they have gained in each of these settings. Students in this year-long program will also have the opportunity to work with three different physical scientists (two physicists and a chemist) via a shift in the faculty team and program style between fall and winter/spring quarters. Students who successfully complete all three quarters of the program will have covered material equivalent to a year of calculus and calculus-based physics with lab along with some related chemistry topics, and will be prepared for further introductory work in chemistry as well as upper-division work in mathematics and physics.||Krishna Chowdary Neil Switz TBD (chemistry)||Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR||Fall||Fall Winter Spring|
Signature Required: Spring
|Program||FR–SRFreshmen–Senior||8||08||Evening||S 16Spring||How have humans understood the universe and our place in it, from ancient to modern times? Our readings will explore questions like this, from the perspective of several cultures.In conjunction with the program Astronomy and Cosmologies, a limited number of students are invited to join our seminar to discuss the idea of cosmologies. We will study creation stories and worldviews, from those of ancient peoples to modern astrophysicists. We will all read the same seminar texts. Science Seminar students will read the same seminar texts as Astronomy and Cosmologies, but will do half the work—no math, half the class meetings, and a little more writing.Students will work in teams to prepare for each seminar. Teams will post pre-seminar assignments online, and individuals will post essays (and responses to peers' essays) online. We will have two seminars per week. Our class meetings will be in person, and the online work will contribute importantly to our community-based learning.||EJ Zita||Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR||Spring||Spring|