AT 11: Day-by-Day Schedule (with Assignments)

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Day-By-Day Calendar

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Saturday 14 Aug: Introductions & Overview


--->>> Reading Assignment for Monday: Introduction and Chapter 1 (34 pages)

Comment: The Introduction lays out what the authors will try to do in the book. They make several quite strong (and debatable) claims, for example: "Ours is probably the first major culture in human history with no shared picture of reality" (p. 2) and "There's no way to have intuition about things one has never experienced" (p. 8) and "Any picture of the expanding universe can only be symbolic. . ." (p. 9). There are many more; clearly this book will require a critical reading.

Chapter 1 has many interesting points, but the central thrust is about what SCIENCE is, how it works, and how it is related to myth.

TO TURN IN MONDAY:

1. A list of what YOU think are the THREE MAIN POINTS in Chapter 1. Bring TWO copies of your list with you to class on Monday.

TO TURN IN TUESDAY:

2. A 500 word essay: What do YOU think s the single most important "big question" that humanity faces, and why do you select it over other possibilities? For some examples, see the top of p. 4 and also the middle of p. 10.

Astronomy Pictures at: APOD Archive

Powers of Ten at: Powers of Ten _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday 16 Aug: Discuss Introduction & Chapter 1 : SCIENCE and UNSCIENCE

*The Matrix; Magritte*

--->>> Reading Assignment for Tuesday: Chapter 2 (28 pages)

Comment: Chapter 2 examines a few myths which humans have used to envision the cosmos, and points out some of the advantages these myths brought to those who lived with that cosmic vision. Then, toward the end, the early beginnings of science are discussed.

TO TURN IN TUESDAY: NOTHING - THERE WILL BE A (VERY) SHORT MINI-QUIZ AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS OVER CHAPTER 2.

See: Karl Popper & Falsification

and Logical Positivism (see "Basic Tenets")

Magritte's Pipe at: Pipe (Click on painting to enlarge) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday 17 Aug: Mini-Quiz and Discuss Chapter 2: MYTHICAL TRUTH

*Hero's Journey*

--->>> Reading Assignment for Wednesday: Chapter 3 (20 pages)

Comment: This is a relatively short chapter which continues to track the evolution of our cosmic view from "classical" myth through the Galilean/Newtonian period, the so-called "Scientific Revolution." The resulting "Newtonian picture" of the universe is the one that the authors claim most everyone today takes as "real," but which (they claim) is no longer adequate.

TO TURN IN WEDNESDAY: Bring answers to the following

1. The authors claim (on p. 71) that ". . .medieval Christian writers, with the exception of Dante, largely avoided the topic of cosmology." Explain why.

2. A major conclusion is stated in the first paragraph on p. 72. React to this statement.

3. What was the effect of Galileo's arrest and conviction on Rene Descartes? Why was Newton not similarly intimidated?

Joseph Campbell & STAR WARS

Joseph Campbell: Wikipedia _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday 18 Aug: Discuss Chapter 3: SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION

*SHM Demo*

--->>> Reading Assignment for Thursday: Chapter 4 (33 pages)

Comment: We begin "PART II" which states the present view according to the best current science. The chapter builds up to Figure 6 on page 115.

TO TURN IN THURSDAY: NOTHING - THERE WILL BE A SHORT MINI-QUIZ AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS OVER CHAPTER 4.

Newton

Galileo: Wikipedia

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Thursday 19 Aug: Discuss Chapter 4: STELLAR EVLOUTION

*HR Website; Slide Show*

--->>> Reading Assignment for Friday: Chapter 5 (34 pages)

Comment: This chapter does for "time" what the previous chapter did for "space." The core of Chapter 5 is the "Big Bang" and how the universe has evolved since.

TO TURN IN FRIDAY:

1. Explain how radioactivity is involved in determining the age of the earth.

2. Describe the role of galactic collisions in the evolution of the universe.

HR Diagrams & Stellar Evolution

HR Diagrams: Wikipedia

Stellar Sizes (w/o music)

Stellar Sizes (w/music)

Periodic Table

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Friday 20 Aug: Discuss Chapter 5: THE OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE

*Creation of the Universe, Part 1*

                       Visit from Librarians/ITS Folks

--->>> Reading Assignment for Monday: Chapter 6 (23 pages)

Comment: The chapter is about scale and "order of magnitude." The highlight is on page 174 - the claim that "intelligent creatures in the universe have to be midsized."

TO TURN IN MONDAY:

1. Explain the authors' use of the metaphor of "the Cosmic Uroboros."

2. According to the authors, WHY do intelligent creatures have to be midsized?

3. A TOPIC for your "Research Paper" _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday 23 Aug: Discuss Chapter 6: AND BEYOND

*Creation of the Universe, Part 2*

                               Writing Center Orientation (SE-105 @ 9:00 AM)

--->>> Reading Assignment for Tuesday: NONE

TO TURN IN TUESDAY: NOTHING. THERE WILL BE A "MID-TERM" TEST OVER CHAPTERS 1 THROUGH 6 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday 24 Aug: Mid-Term Test and Discussion of Course

*Registration*

                                Rahall Center Orientation (9:15 AM)

--->>> Reading Assignment for Wednesday: Chapter 7 (27 pages)

Comment: The authors treat us to an almost-metaphysical examination of how the universe came to be. It looks at such questions as "what caused the big bang," and "is the observable universe the only one?" These are frankly admitted to be questions that science may never be able to answer.

TO TURN IN WEDNESDAY:

1. Explain what is meant by cosmic "inflation?"

2. According to the authors, how has science influenced the future of creation myths? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday 25 Aug: Discuss Chapter 7: QUANTUM PHYSICS & BIG BANGS

*Double-Slit Demo*

--->>> Reading Assignment for Thursday: Chapter 8 (30 pages)

Comment: We look at the possibility and likelihood of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. The authors seem to agree with those who think that the evolution of intelligent life of Earth was a statistically improbable event, and thus might be unique in the universe! The SETI program is mentioned, and we will want to look at this.

TO TURN IN THURSDAY: NOTHING, THERE WILL BE A SHORT MINI-QUIZ AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS OVER CHAPTER 8.

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Thursday 26 Aug: Discuss Chapter 8: SETI & THE DRAKE EQUATION

*2001: A Space Odyssey*

--->>> Reading Assignment for Friday: Chapter 9 (30 pages)

Comment: The final two chapters are mostly exhortation. You are invited to think about his arguments and see if you think he successfully makes his case.

TO TURN IN FRIDAY:

1. Explain what the authors mean by a "conceptual metaphor" and why they think such things are important.

2. The authors connect "scale confusion," which was discussed in Chapter 6, with our individual personal attitudes toward existence. Explain.

The Drake Equation

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Friday 27 Aug: Discuss Chapter 9: HUMANS

*Koyannisqatsi*

--->>> Reading Assignment for Monday: Chapter 10 (31 pages)

Comment: The final exhortation: the authors plead with us to connect our understanding of the universe with our personal lives. Almost every major point made in earlier chapters now is reviewed and the attempt is made to connect them into an argument for new human BEHAVIOR. Pay especial attention to the list of theories on pp. 295-296 and the categories they are placed in.

TO TURN IN MONDAY: Nothing. Work on Papers! Organize for Exam! _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday 30 Aug: Discuss Chapter 10: EVALUATION OF ARGUMENTS

Student Presentations

--->>> Assignment: Work on Papers! Study for Exam! _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday 31 Aug: Student Presentations

--->>> Assignment: Work on Papers! Study for Exam! _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday 1 Sept: Student Presentations

--->>> Assignment: Study for Exam! _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday 2 Sept: Final Exam _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________