UW Honors Announcements

November 25, 2020

HONORS 221 E: Climate Extremes Available Winter 2021

A recent addition has been made to our Winter courses!

HONORS 221 E: Climate Extremes (NW, W)

SLN 22235 (View UW registration info »)

Paul Johnson (Oceanography)
Office: 256 Marine Science Bldg, Box 357940
Phone: 206-543-8474
Email: paulj@uw.edu

Alex Gagnon (Oceanography)
Office: 409 OSB
Phone: (206) 543-5627
Email: gagnon@uw.edu

Credits: 5
Limit: 25 students

Honors Credit Type

what’s this?

Honors core requirement satisfied:

H-Natural Science

OCEAN 450.

To better understand the key factors that control the earth’s present and future climate, this course examines episodes in the earth’s past when extreme climate conditions existed. Dramatic changes in the earth’s climate have resulted from natural variations in solar insolation, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, rates and pathways of ocean circulation, plate tectonics, and the evolution of vascular plants and, in modern times, the burning of fossil fuels. The impact of these factors on climate through interactions between the atmosphere, oceans and land will be evaluated. Using these lessons from the past, students will learn what currently controls climate on our planet and why dramatic climate changes occur. The processes that produced past climate changes will be discussed primarily as a framework to evaluate modern and future climate change resulting from human activity. The class will utilize lectures, in-class problem solving, discussion of scientific papers and weekly homework to learn the material on both a qualitative and quantitative level. Students are expected to have had sufficient science-based coursework to feel comfortable solving quantitative in-class and homework problems using basic algebra and, in some cases, using the spreadsheet program Excel.

Honors Project: Honors students will conduct individual literature research on a specific climate topic. The result of this individual research will be a succinct summary of a complex  climate issue written for a general audience, in the form of a “letter to the editor” which they  will contribute to a media source, including regional newspapers. More details about this  project and milestones will be provided to honors students.

Also, there are quite a few seats remaining in:

HONORS 396A: How Stuff Works: The Science Course for a Modern World (NW, W)

SLN 15436 (View UW registration info »)

Richard Freeman (Physics)
Email: rrfree@uw.edu

Credits: 3, c/nc
Limit: 15 students

Credit Type
UW General Elective
Meets once week on Tuesdays, 12:30-3:20, synchronous Zoom.
Credit/no credit
Honors elective
Instructor: Dr. Rick Freeman, Physics

Have you always had a curiosity about how the technology you use and depend upon works? Have you been frustrated by the opaqueness of explanations on the web that almost always seem to depend upon your having a background in physics (and your experience with physics courses was, frankly, terrible)?  Would you like to understand the basic concepts that govern virtually everything, from why there are two high tides a day, to how GPS pinpoints your location, or to how a violin produces its sound? Would you like to understanding how the internet works, or for that matter, how a cell phone can connect you to virtually any person in the world while you are speeding down I5?

This course provides a survey of the fundamental physical concepts that undergird our modern technological society and is intended for non-science majors who are eager to build upon their natural curiosity of the technological world surrounding them to achieve a level of understanding that will serve them throughout their lives.

This course will use the extremely popular text How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life by L.A. Bloomfield of the University of Virginia, with examples and applications determined by the class.  We will make heavy use of the web, developing methodologies to parse useful understandings from the noise contained in its immense resources.  Students will learn to prepare PPT presentations that are clear expositions of specific examples of “how things work” and in doing so become a resource for their own education and for those around them.

The course is limited to 15 students in order to facilitate a high degree of class discussion, even in a ZOOM environment.  No background in mathematics and/or physics needed.