Scientific Reasoning and Discovery

Using a problem-based learning approach to explore topics in science, students in the Scientific Reasoning and Discovery seminars will learn to identify hidden regularities and patterns in nature that may indicate fundamental unifying principles and laws; apply the scientific method to unearth these laws and principles; evaluate scientific information; describe the limitations of the scientific process; understand the importance of collecting accurate and precise data; and develop a valid scientific hypothesis. Investigation will use the tools and methodologies of biology, chemistry, physics, and other disciplines. The emphasis of inquiry in any given section might reflect the particular instructor's area of expertise.

Who Should Take These

Freshmen take one Scientific Reasoning and Discovery course each semester. Freshmen may also take a Scientific Reasoning and Discovery alternative instead of Scientific Reasoning and Discovery.

Scientific Reasoning and Discovery Alternatives

Students can fulfill their Honors Scientific Reasoning and Discovery requirement by either taking an approved alternative course or successfully petitioning a course not already listed here. This list of approved courses is the only eligible list for students who entered the University Honors Program in the fall 2014 semester or later.

Biology
All sections of BISC 1111: Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules
All sections of BISC 1115: Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules WITH BISC 1125: Introduction to Cells and Molecules Laboratory
All sections of BISC 1112: Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms 
All sections of BISC 1116: Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms WITH BISC 1126: Introduction to Organisms Laboratory
Any 4-credit 2000-level Biology course with lab
 
Chemistry
All sections of CHEM 1111: General Chemistry I
All sections of CHEM 1112: General Chemistry II
Any 4-credit 2000-level Chemistry course with lab
 
Physics
All sections of PHYS 1021: University Physics I
All sections of PHYS 1022: University Physics II
All sections of PHYS 1025: University Physics I with Biological Applications
All sections of PHYS 1026: University Physics II with Biological Applications
Any 4-credit 2000-level Physics course with lab
 
Other Lab-Based Science Courses (With Successful Petition)
A lab-based science course that is not already on this list may be petitioned to count as an alternative. Speak with a Program Officer for more information about the petition process and to obtain a petition form. Students should begin the petition process as soon as possible, and may submit a petition no later than seven days before the end of the add/drop period for the given semester.
 
CRNS, course meeting times, appropriate prerequisites, and other pertinent registration information for these courses can be found at the online Schedule of Classes

Who Should Take These 

Freshmen take one Scientific Reasoning and Discovery course or an approved alternative each semester.

Courses

The Physics of Everyday Life

Professor Sylvain Guiriec
HONR 1034:12 - 4 Credits
CRN 48018
TR 11:00-12:50 PM

Professor Gerald Feldman
HONR 1034:13 - 4 Credits
CRN 48019
TR 1:00-2:50 PM

Course Fulfills: CCAS: GPAC Natural/Physical Science with Lab, Oral Communication; ESIA: Science; GWSB: Science

Course Description: How does a microwave oven heat food?  What makes an airplane fly?  How does a CD player work?  Are magnetically levitated trains fact or fiction?  These are some of the questions that will be addressed in The Physics of Everyday Life.  Science is all around us -- we only need to keep our eyes open to see it and our minds open to understand it.  This course will introduce students to physical principles through an examination of everyday objects to see “what makes them tick.”  This is a new and unconventional approach to physics, and science in general, that starts with whole objects and looks inside them to see how they work.  Possible topics include roller coasters, bicycles, clocks, rockets, air conditioners, xerox copiers, 3D printers, cameras, nuclear weapons and medical imaging. 

The course is primarily conceptual in nature and is intended for students who are seeking a connection between science and the world in which they live.  In the lab component of the course, students will have the chance to independently explore the physics of everyday life with hands-on projects related to selected or student-defined topics that appeal to their own curiosity.


Genetics

Professor Jelena Patrnogic
HONR 1034:MV - 4 Credits
CRN 43535
TR 11:00-12:50 PM

HONR 1034:MV1
CRN 43534
TR 8:30-10:20 AM

Course Fulfills: CCAS: GPAC Natural/Physical Science with Lab, Oral Communication; ESIA: Science; GWSB: Science

Course Description: Have you ever seen Andrew Niccol’s GATTACA? Imagine a world in which you get to “design” your child. What traits would you choose? How would this impact your life? Your child’s life? How would this impact the society as a whole? This world envisioned does not seem so far-fetched now. We are now in the “post-genomic” era and the ability to read our genome is allowing us to answer questions about our health, disease, behavior, to name a few. Throughout this course we will explore genetics through the subject’s history – from the basic concepts of inheritance, to modern day genetics and the technological advances that are opening new avenues for research. These technological advances are important from the standpoint of their applications such as the ability to edit and manipulate genomes. As a result, we can create new instructions for generating new functions. We will explore the impact of genetic discoveries and examine the social and ethical implications they have brought on. The main goal of this course is to understand the basic concepts underlying inheritance, our similarities and differences, and sources of genetic variability occurring both naturally and artificially.

Lectures will be accompanied by lab exercises as a way of introducing techniques used in genetic research. Students are expected to actively participate in class through debate and discussion, written and oral presentations, and group projects while exploring these topics.


Human Reproduction

Professor Carly Jordan
HONR 1034:MV3 - 4 Credits
CRN 44767
MW 1:00-2:50 PM

Course Fulfills: CCAS: GPAC Natural/Physical Science with Lab, Oral Communication; ESIA: Science; GWSB: Science

Course Description: In this course, we will explore the biology of human reproduction, with views at many levels. At the cellular level (How are sperm and egg made? How do chromosomes get sorted?), the organ level (What’s happening in the reproductive organs, throughout a month and throughout a lifetime?), the organismal level (How does an embryo become a baby? How do changing hormones affect the whole body?), and at the societal level (What misconceptions do we hold about sex and reproduction?). The content of the course is reproduction, but the main focus is skill building- you will develop science literacy and critical thinking skills to make sense of the information you encounter. You will practice communication, in many different forms. And you will conduct a research project to investigate a claim and judge its validity. You will determine the legitimacy of its makers, learn where to find primary sources to support or refute the claim, and create a public information piece to share your understanding with your peers. At the end of the semester, you will be armed with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about your body and your health.


Global Climate Change Biology

Professor LaTisha Hammond
HONR 1034:MV4 - 4 Credits
CRN 41904
TR 8:30-10:20 AM

HONR 1034:MV5 - 4 Credits
CRN 43078
TR 11:00-12:50 AM

Course Fulfills: CCAS: GPAC Natural/Physical Science with Lab, Oral Communication; ESIA: Science; GWSB: Science

Course Description: This course explores the impacts and implications of climate change on biological systems. Throughout the history of Earth, the planet has undergone major changes in climate, with significant impacts on biological systems. However, the current climate change event is unique compared to previous events, resulting in distinctive issues and consequences for life on the planet. We will explore global change by delving into the biological processes that are impacted by the changing climate - this will also include reviewing some of the basic chemical principles that underlie the biological processes being impacted. We will review past biological trends, look more in-depth at present-day scenarios, and discuss future projections and consequences for life on the planet. The course will also include discussion of the scientific basis of global change impacts on humans, society, environmental issues, sustainability, and policy discussions and measures. Lab exercises will introduce biological techniques for studying various aspects of global change biology. This course is designed to increase student scientific literacy. Students will be expected to take an active role in the class, where we will explore these topics through lecture, discussion, debate, experimentation, data analysis, writing, and group projects.


Marine Biology

Professor LaTisha Hammond
HONR 1034:MV6 - 4 Credits
CRN 45040
MW 9:00-10:50 AM

Course Fulfills: CCAS: GPAC Natural/Physical Science with Lab, Oral Communication; ESIA: Science; GWSB: Science

Course Description: The ocean covers approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface. In the media we hear about this vast ocean in stories and anecdotes about fish, sharks, coral reefs, and the occasional giant squid. However, when it comes to decisions about the oceanic environment and it’s many other inhabitants, how do we make informed decisions regarding issues such as wild-caught vs. farmed fish, overfishing, pollution, and biodiversity without an understanding of the various marine habitats and organisms. This course is an introduction to the marine environment and the biological diversity within, from the coast to the deep sea. Topics include the physical characteristics of the ocean, marine habitat types and structure, organism physiology, zoology, and ecology. We will also delve into human interactions with the marine environment, marine biology in popular media, environmental issues, sustainability, and policy discussions around conservation. Labs will introduce techniques for studying related topics. Additionally, 1-2 possible field trips will help further our studies. This course is designed to increase student scientific literacy. Students will be expected to take an active role in the class, where we will explore these topics through lecture, discussion, debate, experimentation, data analysis, writing, research, and group projects.